I Wrote a Halo Novel


Today, 343 Industries finally announced that I wrote a novel for Halo, the bestselling series of science-fiction video games they develop for the company’s owner, Microsoft. Over at Halo Waypoint, Jeff Easterling (a.k.a. GrimBrother One) interviewed me about the book for their Canon Fodder blog. Go check that out, and then come back so I can add a little bit to it.

I first ran into Halo back in the year 2000, before the game had even been announced. I was down in Chicago, interviewing at Bungie (the game’s original developer) for a writing gig on a different game, and Bob Settles there showed me the demo for this new project they had in the works and watched my jaw drop. I didn’t get the gig (it went to my pal John Scott Tynes instead), but I’ve been keeping up with Halo ever since. I’ve bought every generation of Xbox and played every one of the Halo games, and I’ve had the pleasure of replaying them with my kids too.

The first thing I did when I discovered that Simon & Schuster had gotten the rights for new Halo novels, I contacted Ed Schlesinger there right away. Ed had been my editor for the Guild Wars novel I cowrote with Jeff Grubb (Ghosts of Ascalon), and he told me he was writing me a note about the Halo books at the same moment my email arrived in his inbox. He put me on the shortlist of authors he assembled for 343, and soon after I had an interview with some of the people at 343 to see if I was the right person for the job.

After crossing my fingers hard enough to put dents in them for a week or two, I got an offer to write a brand-new novel set in the Halo universe. I pitched a number of different ideas, and we quickly focused on a new story starring the heroes from Halo 3: ODST: Gunnery Sergeant Edward Buck and his team of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers.

ODST sticks out a bit from most of the Halo games in that it’s spun out in a nonlinear format (lots of flashbacks), has a noirish feel to it, and centers around a number of mysteries that unfold as you play. It also features the voices of a number of well-known actors, including Nathan Fillion and Tricia Helfer. (Nathan voices Buck, and I had his voice running around in my head for months!) It’s one of my favorites in the entire series.

Halo: New Blood is a digital-first short novel, which means:

  • It’s ebook only to start.
  • It clocks in somewhere around 60,000 words.
  • It can get to you fast.

The book is slated for release on March 2, 2015, not even six weeks from now. This is a clip from the cover art by Isaac Hannaford, who worked on Halo 3: ODST, as well as Halo: Reach and Halo 3, and led the concept team for Bungie’s follow-up universe, Destiny.


I’ve been sitting on my hands and biting my tongue about this news since last spring, and it feels fantastic to finally have it out there so I can finally talk a bit about it.

I want to offer huge thanks to Ed Schlesinger at Simon & Schuster and to the entire team at 343 Industries, especially Jeremy Patenaude and Tiffany O’Brien, who helped me out every step of the way. I could not have asked for a better, more enthusiastic, or more passionate group of people to work with.

For me, this is a dream job. I had a fantastic time writing this book, and I cannot wait for you all to read it.