The Halo franchise is best-known for its first-person shooter video games. However, tie-ins are also available in other media, including comics, web series, animated series, and a television series airing on Paramount+. However, the best-known tie-in media are the Halo books, which help develop much of the larger Halo universe – but how many of these books are there?
There are 31 Halo books and two anthology collections available, with the 32nd and 33rd books scheduled for release toward the end of 2022 and in 2023. The 31 novels are spread across nine series, as well as four individual books and two individual novellas.
If you want an overview of the Halo books before you read them, you’re in the right place. Keep reading for a detailed look into what parts of the Halo universe these books look at and what you can expect when you read them.
As mentioned above, nine different Halo book series have been published so far. We will explore these series below:
These are the first four Halo novels and provide the groundwork for the larger Halo universe. The first book was released as a tie-in to the first video game, Halo: Combat Evolved, and acts as something like a prequel to the game, covering the events that led up to the game’s plot.
The books in this series are:
- Halo: The Fall of Reach
- Halo: The Flood
- Halo: First Strike
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx
This series is a duology that covers the story of the Gray Team, a group of three Spartan-II supersoldiers. The books in this series are:
- Halo: The Cole Protocol
- Halo: Envoy
This is a trilogy that focuses on the distant past of the Halo universe. It takes place 100,000 years before the setting of the main series (the 26th century). It tells the story of the Forerunners, an ancient alien species and civilization who created the Halo array of superweapons that gives the franchise its name.
The books in this series are:
- Halo: Cryptum
- Halo: Primordium
- Halo: Silentium
- Halo: Glasslands
- Halo: The Thursday War
- Halo: Mortal Dictata
This duology of novels focuses on fireteam Alpha-Nine, a team of Spartan-IV supersoldiers currently comprising five soldiers. The books in this series are:
- Halo: New Blood
- Halo: Bad Blood
The coda at the end of Halo: New Blood serves as a set-up to the events of the video game Halo 5: Guardians.
The Ferrets series focuses on the titular Ferrets, a group of special operations operatives under the command of the United Nations Space Command Navy’s Office of Naval Intelligence. The books in this series are:
- Halo: Last Light
- Halo: Retribution
- Halo: Divine Wind
This series focuses on human salvager Lucy “Rion” Forge and the crew of her ship, the Ace of Spades. The books in this series are:
- Halo: Smoke and Shadow
- Halo: Renegades
- Halo: Point of Light
Smoke and Shadow is based on a story from the Halo: Fractures anthology. In fact, the first half of the novel is identical to the source story from the collection, aside from how it is formatted.
This series tells the story of Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, better known as “Master Chief.” He is a Spartan supersoldier who serves as the protagonist of the main six Halo video games. The books in this series are:
- Halo: Silent Storm
- Halo: Oblivion
- Halo: Shadows of Reach
Battle Born is a set of two books aimed at a young adult audience. It focuses on Spartan supersoldier Owen-B096 and a group of teenagers as they try to survive during the three-year Battle of Meridian. The books in this series are:
- Halo: Battle Born
- Halo: Meridian Divide
The books were initially meant to be part of a trilogy and were written by Cassandra Rose Clarke. However, the planned third book in the series has been canceled by the publisher.
There are four standalone novels, two standalone novellas, and two anthology collections in the Halo series of books. These are:
- Halo: Contact Harvest: As the fifth Halo book published, it covers the first contact between humans and the Covenant, a hostile collective of different alien species. It also covers the events leading up to the Human-Covenant War, a major interstellar conflict that took place over nearly three decades.
- Halo: Broken Circle: A story in two halves focusing on characters in the Covenant – the first half takes place when the Covenant was first formed, and the second half takes place during the end of the Human-Covenant War, during the events of a civil war between Covenant species. Both halves focus on Covenant characters who rebel against the authority of the Covenant Empire.
- Halo: Hunters in the Dark: This story follows the events of a joint expedition by humans and Elites, an alien species that were members of the Covenant before they rebelled and waged civil war against the collective. It takes place in 2555, just over two years after the end of the Human-Covenant War, and follows the characters on a mission to the Ark, a structure created by the Forerunners.
- Halo: Legacy of Onyx: Follows the character Molly Patel living on the planet Onyx. Molly lost her family during the Human-Covenant War, and the book follows the threat she and her adoptive parents face from an ex-Covenant sect in their new home.
- Halo: Saint’s Testimony: This novella is only available as an ebook and follows the character of the “smart artificial intelligence” Iona, who launches a legal trial to prevent from being deactivated. Iona also appeared as a character in the comic series Halo: Bloodline. The novella is also part of the anthology collection Halo: Fractures, the only place it is officially available in print.
- Halo: Shadow of Intent: Follows a cast of Elite aliens and former Covenant members in the months immediately following the end of the Human-Covenant War. It follows a plot by former Covenant members to destroy the Elites as retaliation for their role in the Covenant civil war. It is part of the anthology collection Halo: Fractures, the only place it is officially available in print.
- Halo: Evolutions: An anthology collection featuring 18 stories and poems. Some of the stories in the collection lead up to the events explored in the Forerunner Saga.
- Halo: Fractures: An anthology collection of 14 short stories that occur at different times in the Halo universe. Shadow of Intent and Saint’s Testimony were printed in print format in this anthology, as was the first part of the story that would become Smoke and Shadow (from the Rion Forge & Ace of Spades series).
There are two standalone novels scheduled for release:
- Halo: The Rubicon Protocol: Originally meant to be published in March 2022, its release has been delayed to August 2022
- Halo: Outcasts: Originally set to be released in October 2022, it has been delayed and is scheduled for a March 2023 release.
The Halo universe is expansive. Not only is it made up of numerous video games, comic books, and live-action and animated media, it also contains 31 books and two anthology collections. More books are scheduled for release, so if you’re wondering if the Halo books are reaching an end, the answer is – not any time soon.