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 the premise.
Below, we’ll dive into two ways of reading the Halo books in order: publication and chronological order.
#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.
Recent & Upcoming Halo Books
Halo: The Rubicon Protocol (August 9, 2022)
Halo: Outcasts (Expected: May 30, 2023)
Halo: Epitaph (Expected: October 17, 2023)
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
- Halo: The Cole Protocol (2008)
- Halo: Envoy (2017)
The Forerunner Saga by Greg Bear
- Halo: Cryptum (2011)
- Halo: Primordium (2011)
- Halo: Silentium (2013)
Kilo-Five Trilogy by Karen Traviss
- Halo: Glasslands (2011)
- Halo: The Thursday War (2012)
- Halo: Mortal Dictata (2014)
Alpha-Nine Series by Matt Forbeck
- Halo: New Blood (2015)
- Halo: Bad Blood (2018)
The Ferrets Series by Troy Denning
- Halo: Last Light (2015)
- Halo: Retribution (2017)
- Halo: Divine Wind (2021)
Rion Forge & Ace of Spades Series by Kelly Gay
- Halo: Smoke And Shadow (2015)
- Halo: Renegades (2019)
- Halo: Point Of Light (2021)
A Master Chief Story by Troy Denning
- Halo: Silent Storm (2018)
- Halo: Oblivion (2019)
- Halo: Shadows of Reach (2020)
Battle Born by Cassandra Rose Clarke
- Halo: Battle Born (2019)
- Halo: Meridian Divide (2019)
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 (2022) By Kelly Gay
- Halo: Outcasts (Expected: May 30, 2023) By Troy Denning
- Halo: Epitaph (Expected: October 17, 2023) By Kelly Gay
Individual Novellas by Various Authors
- Halo: Saint’s Testimony (2015) By Frank O’Connor
- Halo: Shadow of Intent (2015) By Joseph Staten
- 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
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.
Halo Books Summary
Halo: The Fall of Reach
The planet Reach is the only stronghold to have escaped unscathed from the wrath of the Covenant in its war against humans. At least so far. Near Earth, its mission is to protect the location of humankind.
It seems an impossible mission against the Covenant, but Reach has been training super soldiers, SPARTANs, to stand a chance in this war. They are ruthless, deadly, and refuse to surrender.
Halo: The Flood
Master Chief barely survived the fall of Reach and made a desperate escape. Along with his artificial intelligence companion, Spartan John-117 and his crew entered slipspace. But what they found was more danger.
They crash-land on a bizarre ringworld that they learn the Covenant worships as a sacred artifact. It was built by the Forerunners, a civilization now long lost to time, and the Covenant seek to control the Halo at any cost. As Master Chief enters the Halo with Cortana, a more monstrous enemy lurks in the shadows and threatens all life in the galaxy.
Halo: First Strike
Master Chief continues to be a thorn in the side of the Covenant as their relentless attack against humanity continues and the war rages on with two fronts.
Back on Reach, a group of Spartans remain trapped, but Dr. Catherine Halsey discovers a secret that will shift the tides of war. Meanwhile, Master Chief must lead his crew towards Covenant warships as their worst fear rings true: Earth’s location has been discovered by the Covenant.
Halo: Ghosts of Onyx
The identity and mission of the Spartans is no longer secret, and these super-soldiers have acquired legendary status. Master Chief openly defends Earth against the Covenant as larger pieces of the puzzle begin to slot into place.
There is a plan in motion to buy time that will requires hundreds of soldiers and one Spartan. Onyx is an abandoned planet and appears to be the perfect location for the plan, but following the destruction of Halo, something was altered within Onyx. More ancient Forerunner technology appears and now the race is on for who will claim it first, or if it will even let itself be claimed.
Halo: Contact Harvest
This is a standalone Halo book which shifts from the story of the Master Chief to that of staff sergeant Avery Johnson, a young Marine. While Contact Harvest still takes place in the twenty-sixth century, the events in this book occur around thirty years before the previous books.
It begins with the peaceful farming colony of Harvest, but the peace is disrupted when humanity attracts the attention of the Covenant by trespassing on what it considers to be holy ground. While this erupts into the Human-Covenant War, humanity is already fighting a civil war. The lives of those in Harvest fall to weary Marines, of which Johnson will rise acclaim.
Halo: The Cole Protocol
This book jumps forward about ten years since the previous book and is the first in the Gray Team duology. It depicts the very first days of the war between humanity and the Covenant as the Cole Protocol is initiated by the UNSC.
Jacob Keyes, a navy lieutenant, is among those who must eliminate any trace of Earth’s location which could end up in enemy hands. His mission will take him to Hesiod, where a war between the Covenant and humanity is raging. Miraculously a group of humans have survived a face-off against the Covenant and staked a claim with a settlement, but as each side sends in their best, brutality ensues.
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.