Before we jump into the Halo books in order, how many are there exactly? There are 30+ books, each with at least 300 pages. You’ll not likely run out of reading material any time soon.
The books provide you with extra information that isn’t featured in any of the video games, but this doesn’t mean you need to have played the games to understand it.
Below, we’ll dive into two ways of reading the Halo books in order. We will list Halo books in order of publication and in chronological order.
What is Halo?
We won’t assume that everyone already knows about Halo, just in case you’re here because you discovered a book on a shelf without having ever played a video game.
Halo is a first-person shooter military video game produced by Bungie first released on November 15, 2001.
Halo currently has 6 main games with a variety of spin-offs. The most recent game, Halo 6 (also titled Halo: Infinite), released on November 15, 2021. 20 years to the day after Halo’s first debut in the world.
The Halo game follows a character called the Master Chief. The Chief’s name is John, and he’s Spartan 117. A Spartan is a genetically modified soldier designed to help Earth fight against an alien threat called the Covenant. In the books, other Spartans are present with many books not even featuring John.
The Halo books narrate the epic adventures of these super-soldiers. From their recruitment to the saving of humanity from annihilation in the strange galaxies.
#1 Halo Books In Order of Publication
If this is your first time going through the series, I highly recommend reading the Halo books in order of their publication. This way you experience the books as millions of fans did as the books released.
The Halo books are grouped into 9 different series. There are also individual novels, novellas, and anthologies that you can enjoy.
Upcoming Halo Books
The Original Series by Various Authors
- Halo: The Fall of Reach (2001) By Eric Nylund
- Halo: The Flood (2003) By William C. Deitz
- Halo: First Strike (2003) By Eric Nylund
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx (2006) By Eric Nylund
Gray Team Series by Tobias S. Buckell
The Forerunner Saga by Greg Bear
Kilo-Five Trilogy by Karen Traviss
Alpha-Nine Series by Matt Forbeck
The Ferrets Series by Troy Denning
Rion Forge & Ace of Spades Series by Kelly Gay
A Master Chief Story by Troy Denning
Battle Born by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Individual Novels by Various Authors
- Halo: Contact Harvest (2007) By Joseph Staten
- Halo: Broken Circle (2014) By John Shirley
- Halo: Hunters in the Dark (2015) By Peter David
- Halo: Legacy of Onyx (2017) By Matt Forbeck
- Halo: The Rubicon Protocol (Expected: August 9, 2022) By Kelly Gay
- Halo: Outcasts (Expected: May 30, 2023) By Troy Denning
Individual Novellas by Various Authors
- Halo: Evolutions – Essential Tales of the Halo Universe (2009)
- Halo: Evolutions Volume I (2010)
- Halo: Evolutions Volume II (2010)
- Halo: Fractures (2016)
#2 Halo Books In Chronological Order
The second way to read Halo books in order is in chronological order. This reading method gives you a timeline of events to best help you understand the history of the Halo world in real time. Because of this, though, some books that appeared later in publication order may take certain liberties with previously divulged information.
That doesn’t mean they won’t recap the information in the books, but we highly recommend reading in publication order for a first time through for this reason. Otherwise, you may find yourself not completely sure of what’s going on.
As well, the Halo anthologies take place in a variety of eras and therefore cannot be easily placed within the chronological timeline.
Seasoned readers on a re-read should pick up on the story rather quickly.
- Halo: Cryptum
- Halo: Primordium
- Halo: Silentium
- Halo: Broken Circle (First section)
- Halo: Contact Harvest
- Halo: The Cole Protocol
- Halo: Battle Born
- Halo: Meridian Divide
- Halo: The Fall of Reach
- Halo: Silent Storm
- Halo: Oblivion
- Halo: The Flood
- Halo: First Strike
- Halo: Broken Circle (Second section)
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx
- Halo: Glasslands
- Halo: The Thursday War
- Halo: Mortal Dictata
- Halo: Last Light
- Halo: Retribution
- Halo: Shadow of Intent
- Halo: New Blood
- Halo: Hunters in the Dark
- Halo: Smoke and Shadow
- Halo: Renegades
- Halo: Saint’s Testimony
- Halo: Point of Light
- Halo: Envoy
- Halo: Legacy of Onyx
- Halo: Bad Blood
- Halo: Shadows of Reach
- Halo: Divine Wind
- Halo: The Rubicon Protocol
- Halo: Outcasts
Halo Books Summary
Halo: The Fall of Reach
It is the twenty-sixth century. As the bloody Human-Covenant War rages on Halo, the fate of humankind may rest with one warrior: The lone SPARTAN survivor of another legendary battle. The desperate, take-no-prisoners struggle that led humanity to Halo — the fall of the planet Reach. Now, brought to life for the first time, here is the full story of that glorious, doomed conflict.
While the brutal Covenant juggernaut sweeps inexorably through space, intent on wiping out humankind, only one stronghold remains — the planet Reach. Practically on Earth’s doorstep, it is the last military fortress to defy the onslaught. But the personnel here have another, higher priority: To prevent the Covenant from discovering the location of Earth.
Outnumbered and outgunned, the soldiers seem to have little chance against the Covenant, but Reach holds a closely guarded secret. It is the training ground for the very first “super soldiers.” Code-named SPARTANs, these highly advanced warriors, specially bioengineered and technologically augmented, are the best in the universe — quiet, professional, and deadly.
Now, as the ferocious Covenant attack begins, a handful of SPARTANs stand ready to wage ultimate war. They will kill, they will be destroyed, but they will never surrender. And at least one of them — the SPARTAN known as Master Chief — will live to fight another day on a mysterious and ancient, artificial world called Halo…
Halo: The Flood
It is 2552. Having barely escaped the final battle for Reach against the vast alien alliance known as the Covenant, the crew of the Pillar of Autumn, including Spartan John-117 — the Master Chief — and his AI companion Cortana, is forced to make a desperate escape into slipspace.
But their destination brings them to an ancient mystery and an even greater struggle. In this far-flung corner of the universe floats a magnificently massive, artificial ringworld. The crew’s only hope of survival is to crash-land on its surface and take the battle opposing the Covenant to the ground.
But they soon discover that this enigmatic ringworld is much more than it seems. Built one hundred thousand years ago by a long-lost civilization known as the Forerunners, this “Halo” is worshipped by the Covenant — a sacred artifact they hope will complete their religious quest for supposed transcendence, and they will stop at nothing to control it.
Engaging in fierce combat, Master Chief and Cortana will go deep into the Halo construct and uncover its dark secret and true purpose — even as a monstrous and far more vicious enemy than the Covenant emerges to threaten all sentient life on Halo and the galaxy beyond…
Halo: First Strike
It is 2552. The theocratic military alliance known as the Covenant is showing no mercy as it continues to assault every human world it encounters, but in the way lies humanity’s greatest champion, the super-soldier Spartan John-117: The Master Chief.
Together with his AI companion Cortana and the last remaining Spartans, the galaxy-spanning fight rages on two fronts following the destruction of the human military stronghold Reach by Covenant forces and the mysterious artificial ringworld known as “Halo” at the hands of the Master Chief.
One faction — a squad of Spartans lead by Blue Team’s Fred-104 and Kelly-087 — is trapped on the glassed surface of Reach, the only planet they’ve ever known as home. And beneath this ruined world, Dr. Catherine Halsey has discovered an ancient secret…one that could alter the course of the war.
Meanwhile, the Master Chief and Cortana lead a second group toward a gathering of Covenant warships, as the United Nations Space Command’s worst nightmare has finally come true: The Covenant has discovered the location of Earth and is forming a massive fleet to utterly destroy it, as well as all who oppose the indomitable will of the Prophets…
Halo: Ghosts of Onyx
It is the twenty-sixth century. Once considered clandestine, the Spartan-II program has now gone public. Tales of armored super-soldiers fending off thousands of Covenant attacks have become the stuff of legend.
While the Master Chief defends a besieged Earth, and the myriad factions of the Covenant continue their crusade to eliminate humanity, an ultra-secret cell of the Office of Naval Intelligence known as “Section Three” devises a plan to buy the UNSC vital time. It will need hundreds of willing soldiers, though — and one more Spartan — to get the job done.
The planet Onyx is virtually abandoned and the perfect place to set this new plan in motion. But when the Master Chief destroys Halo, something is triggered deep within Onyx: Ancient Forerunner technology stirs, and fleets of UNSC and Covenant vessels race to claim it and change the course of the Human-Covenant War.
But this reawakened and ancient force may have plans of its own…
Halo: Contact Harvest
It is the year 2524. Harvest is a peaceful, prosperous farming colony on the very edge of human-controlled space. But humanity has unknowingly trespassed on holy ground — straying into the path of the aggressive, theocratic empire known as the Covenant.
What begins as a chance encounter between an alien privateer and a human freighter soon catapults all of mankind into a struggle for its very existence.
But humanity is also currently locked in a bitter civil war of its own: The Insurrection. With resources strained to the breaking point, the ultimate survival of Harvest’s citizens falls to a squad of battle-weary UNSC Marines and their inexperienced colonial militia trainees.
In this unlikely group of heroes, one will stand above the rest — a young Marine staff sergeant named Avery Johnson….
Halo: The Cole Protocol
It is the year 2535. It is the first, desperate days of the Human-Covenant War, and the United Nations Space Command has enacted “the Cole Protocol” to safeguard Earth and its inner colonies from discovery by its merciless alien foe.
Many are called upon to rid the galaxy of lingering navigation data that could potentially reveal the location of Earth and ensure the destruction of humanity. Among those tasked with eliminating any trace of such dangerous information is Navy Lieutenant Jacob Keyes — now saddled with a top-secret mission by the Office of Naval Intelligence…one that will take him to a corner of the galaxy where nothing is as it seems.
Out beyond the Outer Colonies lies the planet Hesiod, a gas giant surrounded by a vast asteroid belt. As the Covenant continues to glass the human-occupied planets near Hesiod, many of the survivors, aided by a stronghold of human insurrectionists, are fleeing to the asteroids for refuge.
They have transformed the tumbling satellites into a tenuous yet ingenious settlement known as the Rubble — and have come face-to-face with a Covenant settlement of Kig-Yar…yet somehow survived. News of this unlikely treaty has spread to the warring factions.
Luckily for the UNSC, this uneasy alliance is in the path of the Spartan Gray Team, a three-person renegade squad whose simple task is to wreak havoc from behind enemy lines in any way they see fit. But the Prophets have also sent their very best — an ambitious and ruthless Elite whose quest for nobility and rank is matched only by his brutality…
Which way you read the Halo books in order will ultimately depend on your experience and preferences. If you are a novice to the Halo world, follow the order of publication.
But if you’ve read the books already once before, chronological order might be a way for you to spice things up.
Looking for more books in order?
Check out my list of The Witcher Books in Order.