Many fantasy tales have a whopping number of stories that stretch throughout the ages of their respective mythos, and the same can be said for the Warhammer series. There are more than 350 novels set in the Warhammer Universe, and that number is sure to rise as the years go on.
And with the news that Hollywood power couple Henry Cavill and Natalie Viscuso are executive producing the Warhammer 40,000 television show for Amazon Studios, now is the perfect time to dive into this expansive and imaginative world. Cavill and Viscuso have been dating for nearly two years, and while Cavill is no longer Superman or Geralt from The Witcher, he’s set to star in a Warhammer project, so fans won’t have to wait very long before they see the actor back in action.
What is the origin of Warhammer?
The story of Warhammer begins many years ago with beings known as the Old Ones. They are the creator gods of this universe and made all sorts of species to their delight, but the Old Ones were not alone. The Necrontyr are from a hellish planet and they are sworn enemies of the Old Ones. The two sides engaged in battle in what’s known as the War in Heaven.
The Necrontry are no match for the Old Ones, however, and it took powerful beings known as C’tan to give them living metal armor to defeat them. They become known as the Necron and with this upgrade they defeated the Old Ones, forever changing the afterlife into something else entirely. In response, the Old Ones then create Orcs who fight alongside the Eldar, but it still didn’t go exactly as the Old One had hoped.
The C’tan come to understand that all their devouring would eventually destroy them, and because of an Eldar trickster god, they turn on themselves and eat each other. The Necrons, seeing the ranks of the C’tan drastically decrease, return to their hell planet and wait for life in the galaxy to grow again. Millions of years, humanity is created, but with the Old Gods and the Necrons still around, humanity is not safe.
The number of books seems daunting, but this Warhammer reading order list should help you get started.
The Horus Heresy by Dan Abnett is the best way to get started with Warhammer. The story takes place in the late 30th Millenium and focuses on the Primarchs, 20 genetically-engineered sons of the Emperor of Mankind. They lead armies of enhanced superhuman soldiers known as the Legiones Astartes and are in a conflict between loyalists and rebel factions. Religion plays a major theme in these stories with the growing Horus Heresy and religious faith overcoming Imperial Truth.
Gotrek & Felix
Gotrek & Felix by William King is a must-read for Warhammer fans. Gotrek Gurnisson is a Dwarf Slayer and and Felix Jaeger is a human chronicler, and together these legendary warriors battle their way across the Old World. Felix is a poet and “rememberer” while Gotrek has an intense lust for bloodshed with dreams of making it into the storied halls of his ancestors. Somehow, this unlikely duo makes the perfect team and becomes good friends along their adventures.
Luthor Huss by Chris Waight is based on the Roman Empire, which is a convenient point of reference for new readers. Luthor Huss is a devout Warrior Priest of the Cult of Sigmar on a holy mission to spread the righteous word of holy Sigmar. He travels all across the Empire, embroiled in an endless war against the Dark Powers and all those who follow its teachings. Luthor Huss is feared by many, especially corrupt priests, and has killed many of them to demonstrate his unyielding belief.
Sword of Vengeance
The Sword of Vengeance by Chris Waight is a duology that lays the groundwork for many other stories. Averland, a founding Electoral Province of the Empire, is burning and cultists are corrupting the city of Averheim. The mighty warrior Ludwig Schwarzhelm works to find the truth about a conspiracy that distracted him, all while battling assassins meaning to destroy him. The forces of Chaos are on the rise and it will also take Kurt Helborg, Grand Master of the Reiksguard Knights, to secure victory by uniting fractured parties and save the Imperial City.