Halo‘s expansive sci-fi universe has been expanded with a wide variety of novels that show the origins of the Human-Covenant War and even the mysterious Forerunners themselves.

Every Halo game chronicles the struggles of Master Chief as he battles his way to intergalactic dominance, however there’s far more to the universe than Spartan 117′s exploits: with such releases as Greg Bear’s incredible Forerunner Trilogy, the short-story collection Halo: Evolutions, or Eric Nylund’s masterfully penned The Fall of Reach that explores the origins of the SPARTAN-II program, the franchise has been expanded into a veritable galaxy of content.

As an avid fan of the Halo universe, I have read most of the books associated with the series…however I have just started Greg Bear’s Forerunner Trilogy.

Forerunner

Halo: Cryptum, the first chapter in the Forerunner Trilogy, is an amazing journey into the heart of the Forerunner society. It follows the intergalactic adventures of Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting, a young Forerunner Manipular of the Builder caste, who has yet to undergo the various mutations that mark an older Forerunner.

Halo: Cryptum is the starting point for the Trilogy, and it also sheds an incredible luminosity on the Forerunners themselves: their mysterious way of life–the Mantle, the Living Universe, even the origins of the chaotic onslaught of the Flood and how and why the Halos were created by the Master Builder–are chronicled within it’s three hundred pages.

Much of the mysterious and cryptic lore involving the Forerunners is dynamically revealed throughout this series, expounding upon one of the most powerful and advanced cultures in Halo‘s vast universe.

Characters from Halo 4 including the Librarian and the noble–if not ruthless–Promethean Warrior-Servant known as the Didact are central characters within Cryptum. After reading this volume, the events of Halo 4 will make much more sense, providing extra knowledge to augment player’s understanding of the Halo universe and the events that take place within the game itself.

The Didact

Greg Bear is an artist wordsmith and a best-selling author of over thirty books, having won multiple Nebula and Hugo awards in his impressive and long-lasting career.

Halo Cryptum Book

Within Cryptum, Bear creates an incredible and intricate galaxy of characters, technology, and wondrous planets and systems, all from the point of view of Bornstellar.

Cryptum chronicles the struggles of the advanced race of Forerunners in such a believable way that beholds the majesty–and arrogance–of their culture, revealing so much about this highly advanced intergalactic race that it’s almost dizzying.

Cryptum fully captures and encapsulates the schism within the Forerunner society when faced with the terror known as the Flood, and the book itself shows in detail how and why the Halos were created at the hands of a distorted and crazed Master Builder known as Faber.

Not only does Cryptum deliver many facts and immersive plot details about the Forerunner race–and their vanishing–but it also discusses and hints at the Precursors, those that came before the Forerunners and possessed infinitely superior technology.

All in all, Cryptum is one of the most interesting and engaging journeys within the Halo universe that I’ve ever experienced, and is fully recommended as it truly imbibes a sense of majesty and reveals to the reader just how the Forerunners reigned the universe…and how their struggles with the humans, San ‘Shyuum and the Flood changed the course of history altogether.

As a Halo fan, this book is essential to the understanding of the universe, and truly gleans valuable information that changes how you see the universe as a whole.

Halo: Cryptum is now available in hardback and paperpback from Tor Books, as is Halo: Primordium, the second volume within the trilogy. Halo: Silentium, the final chapter, will be available in 2013.

Check out Tor’s official website to read an excerpt from Halo: Cryptum, and for more information check out the book’s official Wikipedia page.