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· The Emperor Protects
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I have never read any 40k book outside of the rules, but I do enjoy the bits of fluff (and occasionally will read up on events on the wikia). I'm tempted to read a novel, but having read nothing, I'm not sure where to start, really. I'd prefer something about the Black Templars but I'm open to options if something is really a must-read. Any suggestions?
I've only (except for 3 isolated books) read the Horus Heresy so far, and would advise "The First Heretic" for you to start.

I always advise to read the Heresy series on release order. Start with Horus Rising and go from there. It just works better that way imo, and a lot of later books will reference earlier books events or characters which will be lost on you if you don't go in release order.

I would highly recommend Gaunts Ghosts if you want a big series with great characters and Imperial Guard action. Eisenhorn if you want some Inquisition, no bolter porn and an actual look into what life is like in the Imperium for worlds not at war. The Night Lords series is fantastic of you want to read something following traitor marines. Helsreach as others have said is a solid choice too.
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