While Age of Sigmar is far younger compared to Warhammer 40,000, finding where to begin in the high-fantasy universe can be intimidating. With dozens of Age of Sigmar books released from the Black Library every year, there's so much content to consume given the number of characters and factions that feature within the universe.
Best Age of Sigmar books
- Soul Wars by Joshua Reynolds
- City of Secrets by Nick Horth
- Plague Garden (Hallowed Knights #1) by Joshua Reynolds
- Champions of the Mortal Realms by Various
- Ghoulslayer (Gotrek Gurnission) by Darius Hinks
- Gloomspite by Andy Clark
You do not need any previous experience with the skirmish wargame to appreciate the literature as these read as decent fantasy fictional novels. However, if you paint the models or play with the miniatures, the best Age of Sigmar books will enable you to follow your favourite factions or characters without much trouble. Alternatively, if you prefer to consume your Black Library content on the go, Games Workshop offers Black Library content in audiobook form. You can download these from Amazon’s Audible platform or through Games Workshop itself.
1. Soul Wars by Joshua Reynolds
"I have become the totality of existence. And I will cast my light upon all these realms."
Soul Wars sees the Mortal Realms taking a darker turn, where the dead are rising in overwhelming numbers across the Realms at the hands of Nagash, the Lord of the Undeath. Taking place in the city of Glymmsforge, the Stormcast Eternals take a stand against the swarms of Nighthaunt in a traditional good versus bad fantasy story arc. Given the epicness of the conflict, Soul Wars is one of the many tie-in novels to complement the Age of Sigmar: Soul Wars boxed set that features the two factions in a tabletop setting.
What makes Soul Wars one of the best Age of Sigmar books is the stark contrast between the Stormcast Eternals and the Nighthaunt. From how the gods view their supplicants, to the consequences of being chosen and how it affects them. Admittedly, Soul Wars is a lengthy read but does a fantastic job of setting up the world and fleshing out the characters while having a tremendous conflict occurring in the background. If you enjoy Age of Sigmar or looking for a point of entry into the franchise, Soul Wars is an essential read.
2. City of Secrets by Nick Horth
“I am offering you a position at my side. You're quick-witted and decent in a fight. You know the city, and you know the dangers we face.”
Set in the city of Excelsis, City of Secrets is a short novel that explores the everyday life of the inhabitants who live in the Mortal Realms. The story takes the perspective of Corporal Armand Callis, who fights for survival and saves the city of Excelsis from impending doom. Eventually, the Stormcast Eternals appear but not in their usual glorified state that we often see. In this novel, the Stormcasts are perceived through an unfavourable lens - a healthy reminder that for all the positivity of Age of Sigmar compared to the world of Warhammer Fantasy, the world remains bleak and unforgiving.
While it's effortless to focus on the Stormcast Eternals, City of Secrets offers a more human and relatable side to the Mortal Realms, which provides an exciting contrast when comparing the Stormcast Eternals and their god-like powers to actual mortals. City of Secrets is a short yet predictable read but makes it a solid starting point if you want a bit of humanity in this high fantasy setting.
3. Plague Garden (Hallowed Knights #1) by Joshua Reynolds
"Much is demanded of those to whom much is given."
From the Age of Sigmar Realmgate series, Plague Garden captures the zealotry of the Stormcast Eternals while facing the impossible odds or in this case, the legions of Nurgle. Given the intricate detail of the Nurgle that Reynolds provides, it's also accommodating for those who care about the putrid Nurgle and the Grand Order of Chaos they fall under. Despite feeling a typical Stormcast-on-a-quest structure, Reynolds navigates the story by avoiding the typical pitfalls you often see in these kinds of stories. Even without relying on the get-out-of-jail card that reforging offers when a Stormcast perishes in combat, there's an obvious consequence when a Stormcast is reborn once again. It's through this process that it creates a question of purpose for the Stormcast, all the while being thrown into a realm beyond their control.
See Plague Garden as Age of Sigmar's take on Lord of the Rings, there's a grand sense of adventure, fighting a true evil while displaying camaraderie through overwhelming circumstances. If you are after similar stories featuring the Stormcast Eternals, War Storm, Ghal Maraz and Wardens of the Everqueen are also excellent Age of Sigmar books if you want to dig further.
4. Champions of the Mortal Realms by Various
"You know what I think? I think you need another drink."
As part of Black Library's Age of Sigmar anthology series, Champions of the Mortal Realms combines four novellas - Warqueen by Darius Hinks, Heart of Winter by Nick Horth, The Red Hours by Evan Dicken and The Bone Desert by Robbie MacNiven.
The novellas offer an excellent starting point for readers wanting to explore the Age of Sigmar setting. There are a wealth of colourful characters, dark humour and action-packed adventure to keep you engaged. Since this is an anthology, the stories do not follow each other but the fiction is shorter compared to other Black Library releases. If you prefer your content bite-sized while wanting to learn more about the Mortal Realms, this anthology will put you on the right path. However, Champions of the Mortal Realms is now only available digitally as an ebook or audiobook through either Games Workshop itself or Amazon's audible platform.
5. Ghoulslayer (Gotrek Gurnission) by Darius Hinks
"You are brave and honourable, but....Perhaps, like me, you can do more than just die with honour?"
Ghoulslayer follows the iconic story of Gotrek Gurnisson, a well-loved Duardin Slayer from the original Warhammer Fantasy lore. As a brazen Fyrelasyer, Gotrek is on a vengeful quest to defeat Nagash, the Lord of Undeath, who has every intention to conquer the Mortal Realms.
Since Gotrek is from The World That Was (formerly called Warhammer Fantasy), Darius Hinks cleverly meshes The Old World with Age of Sigmar, to introduce the new setting to enfranchised players and vice versa. Even in Ghoulslayer, Gotrek displays a strained relationship with the Age of Sigmar environment since he frequently calls races and factions by their Old World terminology, instead of the updated names used in Age of Sigmar. Ghoulslayer is an ideal Age of Sigmar book for those who want something action-packed and traditional with their high fantasy literature, with a nod to Warhammer Fantasy for those who appreciated the Gotrek and Felix series.
6. Gloomspite by Andy Clark
"Give ta me your bestest boon, Them dreams wot set ya head ablaze, To find the Waaagh! at the end of days!"
Gloomspite takes place in the peaceful city of Dracothium, where the Gloomspite Gitz is heading to war while following their planetoid deity, The Bad Moon. For those who aren't green-skinned, The Bad Moon drives those around them to utter madness while slowly turning them into crazed eldritch abominations. With The Bad Moon rising, the city of Dracothium is under siege from the influences above and it is up to Captain Helena Morthan to save her people.
Word of warning: Gloomspite is not for the faint-hearted as it features detailed imagery of body horror, gore and psychological horror. Andy Clark does a tremendous job of detailing the fated demise of Dracothium while giving the protagonists hope in a situation that seems doomed from the beginning. While you can read Gloomspite without reading any previous Age of Sigmar literature, it is a heavy read if you are particularly squeamish, but the story itself is easy to follow.
Gloomspite is considered to be one of the most compelling Age of Sigmar books, as it provokes a Cronenberg-style horror rarely seen outside of the Warhammer Horror series. If you want a story rich in visceral horror followed by adventure with grimdark humour thrown in for good measure, then Gloomspite is for you.
Admittedly, it can be tough to keep up with every single Black Library release given the sheer amount of releases every month; it's best to prioritise your favourite characters and factions since this is the content that will engage you the most. If you want a break from the high fantasy backdrop, Black Library provides content on Warhammer 40,000, Necromunda and Warhammer Horror if you appreciate the thriller genre. It can be a good exercise to dip your toes into some of the best Warhammer 40,000 books from the Black Library or Necromunda's literature before investing in the game systems. Lore often plays a huge part in how these games are navigated on tabletop, which gives you a solid idea of figuring out if it's for you.
Taking this approach in mind, it is also the most affordable way into Warhammer since the books are cheaper, removing you from any heavy financial commitment if you can't get on with it. On the flip side, reading Black Library content could inspire a flavourful competitive list or give you an idea for a quirky kit-bash conversion. With Black Library releasing books and short stories every year, there is never a bad time to fall into the world of Age of Sigmar or Warhammer 40K. What’s more, you can stay up to date with everything happening around the skirmish wargame with our regularly updated 2022 release schedule for Age of Sigmar.