Onyx cover

Halo: Ghosts of Onyx was the fourth halo novel ever to be released and was released shortly after Halo: First Strike. It is based on the events inside of Halo 2. The events are based during the First Battle of Earth.

Halo: Ghosts of Onyx is the fourth book in the Halo Main Book Series. It is written by Eric Nylund.

Halo: Ghosts of Onyx


Eric Nylund


Tor Books

Date Released:

October 21, 2006


383 pages


Paperback or Audiobook


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The prologue begins with the 300 SPARTAN-IIIs of Beta Company being deployed to the Covenant Planet, Pegasi Delta in 2545. Out of the 300, 291 hit the ground and proceed towards their target, a Covenant refinery. The Spartans manage to destroy the facility, but due to unexpected heavy Covenant resistance in the form of seven large Covenant cruisers, misidentified as part of the factory by the orbiting STARS Satellite, only two; SPARTANS Tom-B292and Lucy-B091, survive. Tom and Lucy are revealed to be only twelve years old, and Lucy is severely traumatized and rendered mute, being diagnosed with post traumatic vocal disarticulation after the deaths of the other Spartans and several of her companions from Team Foxtrot, Adam-B004 and Min-B174.

The narrative then moves back to 2531 to a raid by SPARTAN Blue Team against insurrectionists on Planet Victoria to recover stolen FENRIS nuclear warheads. Though the team is captured by General Howard Graves and the rebels, the timely intervention of Kurt-051 allows the team to complete their mission without any other serious problems, but Graves is killed during the course of events, preventing the team from learning valuable secrets the General held about the rebels' command and intelligence structure. Five months later, Colonel James Ackerson of Section Three of the Office of Naval Intelligence, meets with three ONI officers, Rear Admiral Rich, Captain Gibson and Vice Admiral Parangosky.During the meeting, Ackerson moves forward a proposal for a new SPARTAN program which retains most of the effectiveness of the Series II program without the high costs of the previous project. This becomes the SPARTAN-III program, a more streamlined, "disposable", as well as more numerous, company of SPARTANS that must be trained for High-risk operations. Ackerson is given the UNSC controlled world of Onyx with the purpose of training the SPARTAN-III's, and is promised one of the SPARTAN-II's to train them. The next month, Kurt, Kelly and Fred are to Station Delphi to "investigate" a ruptured Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine. When Kurt tries to approach the engine, his T-Pack malfunctions and it sends him spinning away into deep space. Kurt awakes a month later and meets Ackerson, who informs him that the events of Station Delphi were staged in order to recruit him. Kurt is told of the Series III Project and is given orders to train the volunteers of the program. Ackerson has him promoted to Lieutenant, Junior Grade and assigns him the surname of Ambrose to hide his previous service as a Spartan.

The narrative is taken to Onyx, where Kurt reduces the 497 volunteers for the program to 300 trainees by ordering a nighttime high-altitude aerial drop from Pelicans, in order to access who among the volunteers "wants" to be a spartan. One of the volunteers, Shane, is frightened by the prospect of the drop, and is taunted by another recruit, Robert. Upon reaching the ground, Shane attacks Robert for teasing him, and the two are seperated by Navy personnel, who comment on the aggresiveness of the two, hoping "that the rest of them are like this."

Several years later, Kurt Kurt returns to the UNSC Point of No Return to be briefed on Alpha Company's performance and to proceed with training with Beta Company, where he learns of the complete destruction of Alpha Company during Operation: PROMETHEUS where Shane and Robert are both killed. Devastated by the images of the battle and the loss of his soldiers, Kurt improves the training regime for Beta Company, and presses for upgrades to their SPI armor systems, but regardless, most are KIA during Operation: TORPEDO on Pegasi Delta. However, Tom and Lucy survive, who, through Kurt's efforts, are assigned to Onyx to assist Kurt in training the trainees of Gamma Company, despite Ackerson's protests. In a further effort to reduce casulties, Kurt then institutes and illegal procedure during Gamma Company's augmentations, designed to alter the Spartan's brain chemistry and make them resistant to pain and shock. The AI, Deep Winter notices this, but, unaware of the perpetrator, tells Kurt, who takes it upon himself to ensure that the files regarding the augmentations are purged.

The narrative switches to October 31, 2552, the top three teams of SPARTAN-III Gamma Company, Teams Saber, Katana and Gladius, conduct a training exercise near a restricted area on the planet named Zone 67, only to find themselves and other UNSC personnel under attack by an unidentifyfied class of alien drones (Forerunner Onyx Sentinels). Very quickly, the few humans on the planet are either wiped out or struggling to survive against this new, unexpected threat.

Dr.Halsey and Kelly-087 arrive in the Zeta Doradus System in the URF Betsy, as they get closer to Onyx they are attacked by the Onyx Sentinels and Kelly makes a crash landing on the planet. Once on the planet, they meet up with human survivors of the attacks, including S-III Team Saber, Kurt and Chief Mendez. Halsey identifies the drones as Sentinels from the AI, Cortana's log of the events on Alpha Halo. Halsey proceeds to call for reinforcements, piggybacking her transmission on, ironically, another transmission made by Cortana at the end of Halo 2. On the message she calls for caution about the danger coming from the Dreadnought that includes John-117, as well as the omniscient threat of the Flood, which was trying to escape from Delta Halo at the time.

The story toggles to Earth, two weeks after the New Mombasa Slipspace Event. The First Battle of Earth rages on. Fred-104, Will-043 and Linda-058 are pulled out of the line of fire by Fleet Admiral Hood, who responds Halsey's call for reinforcements by dispatching the Spartans to Onyx. He also sends a UNSC Battlegroup, lead by the UNSC Stalingrad. After hijacking a Covenant Destroyer named the Bloodied Spirit and killing all the Covenant on board by suffocation, the Spartans head for Onyx, only to be caught in the middle of a battle between Brute and Elite ships on the way. The Covenant Civil War had obviously begun. The Spartans barely escape and arrive at Onyx, only to be attacked by the Onyx Sentinels. They escape the crippled Destroyer via a Covenant Phantom Dropship, and link up with the human survivors. They then advance towards Zone 67 after shaking off the Sentinels pursuit.

The story moves to Delta Halo, where the Covenant are in the middle of Civil War. The Elites intercept Halsey's message, learn the existence of Onyx and it's Forerunner artifacts then regroup at a Covenant planet called Joyous Exultration. There, the Sangheili Imperial Admiral and leader, Xytan 'Jar Wattinree rallies the Elites together to discuss the apparent treachery of the Brutes and the Prophets, and how to go about handling the situation. Shipmaster Voro 'Mantakree speaks to his fellow ship masters and suggests that they go to Onyx, as well as be vigilant of the Flood threat. He is promoted to the rank of Fleetmaster and is given command of a Fleet of 18 Destroyers, 2 Cruisers and 1 Carrier. They then prepare to go to Onyx to retrieve the Forerunner technology. Meanwhile on the Covenant Supercarrier, Sublime Transcendence, which is serving as Xytan's flagship of his entire navy, a grunt named Kwassass stumbles upon the Huragok who are busy examining what is revealed to be Admiral Whitcomb's NOVA bomb. The Huragok unknowningly arm it after Kwassass messes with the arming device for sometime. Shortly after the fleet departs for Onyx, the NOVA bomb detonates, scorching Joyous Exultration's with over 300 km per hour winds, severely devastating it's surface and, shattering it's nearby moon, Malheim, into billions of fragments, and disintegrating the Covenant Separatist Supreme Fleet. It also kills Xytan.

The Covenant Fleet under Voro and the UNSC Battlegroup arrive at Onyx simultanousely. They both see each other and also are both attacked by the Onyx Sentinels, who see them as a threat. In the ensuing battle, the entire UNSC Battlegroup is destroyed except for one Prowler, which stays hidden and observes the following events. The Human survivors on Onyx discover an Ancient Forerunner City, Dr.Halsey determines that the entire planet is actually a "Shield World" referred to by the Forerunners as "The Sharpened Shield." The Sharpened Shield was constructed by the Forerunners to protect themselves from the firing of the Halo Array, which are designed to eradicate all sentient life within the Galaxy if the Flood should manage to escape.

Fighting off determined Covenant pursuers, lead by Voro, they press on into the heart of the planet to find it's secrets, but not before ONI AI communicates to Dr.Halsey the importance of shutting down a Forerunner factory located at the "tip" of the plant which manufactures a new Sentinel every 6 seconds, or 600 per hour. After disabling the factory, the group proceeds to the location of Team Katana. They find eight cryopods, five of which contain members of Katana. It is unknown who or what the other three contain. Possibly Forerunners, or possibly ONI personnel that were active in Zone 67. They then press on to the planet's core, where they discover a Slipspace rift that shunts those that pass through it to a minituraized Dyson Sphere that is seperated from normal space time by advanced Forerunner Slipspace technology. Will-043 and Holly-G003 are killed fighting the advancing Covenant pursuers. Will by Hunters and Holly by Voro himself. Will's fight to the death finds honor within the Sangheili ranks. Halsey, Mendez, Tom, Lucy, Ash, Mark, Linda, Fred and Kelly escape. Kurt remains behind in order to stop the Covenant forces from pursuing them further. He waits for the core to seal off forever, then turns to face Voro. Voro declares he will die. Kurt responds by saying "Die? Didn't you know?....Spartans never die." He then sacrifices himself by detonating the two FENRIS warheads the group brought with them. This kills Kurt, Voro and the rest of the Covenant forces.

From outside Onyx, the surviving UNSC Prowler, UNSC Dusk watches on as the planet rips apart where it is revealed that the planet's surface is literally formed by trillions and trillions of Onyx Sentinels who are defending the Dyson Sphere. Within this sphere, which features terrain similiar to that of Earth, Dr.Halsey reveals that the five pods they recovered after destroying the sentinel factory are pods that suspends the user inside a slipspace field, the user is extruded into a alternate set of spatial coordinates excluded from time and nothing can harm them, because technically they are not there. 5 of the remaining Spartans, known as Team Katana, are each trapped a Slipspace Field Pod. Concluding the story, Fred-104 takes command of the remaining survivors who find themselves alone in the vast habitat. Fred orders Dr.Halsey and the others to find the Forerunner artifacts and search for a method of escape. Kelly then welcomes the new S-III's to the Blue Team, stating that they were "going to make a great team." These were her words to Kurt to when he first joined the Blue Team.


  • Lietenant Commander Kurt-051 (known as "Ambrose" when training Spartan-III's)
  • Lieutenant, Junior Grade Fred-104
  • Petty Officer Second Class Kelly-087
  • Petty Officer Second Class Linda-058
  • Petty Officer Second Class Will-043
  • Petty Officer Second Class Shane-A
  • Petty Officer Second Class Robert-A
  • Petty Officer Second Class Jane-A
  • Petty Officer Second Class Tom-B292
  • Petty Officer Second Class Lucy-B091
  • Petty Officer Second Class Adam-B004
  • Petty Officer Second Class Min-B174
  • Private Ash-G099
  • Petty Officer Third Class Holly-G003
  • Petty Officer Third Class Olivia-G
  • Petty Officer Third Class Mark-G
  • Petty Officer Third Class Dante-G188
  • General Howard Graves
  • Dr.Catherine Elizabeth Halsey
  • Senior Chief Petty Officer Franklin Mendez
  • Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 (appears briefly in Chapter 1)
  • Fleet Admiral Lord Terrence Hood
  • Sergeant Laura Tanner
  • Corporal Jim Higgins
  • Commander Richard Lash
  • Lieutenant Commander Julian Waters
  • Lieutenant Commander Zaing Cho
  • Lieutenant Joe Yang
  • Lieutenant Bethany Durruno
  • Vice Admiral Margaret Parangosky
  • Captain Gibson
  • Rear Admiral Rich
  • Deep Winter
  • Endless Summer
  • Jerrod
  • Shipmaster/Fleetmaster Voro Mar 'Mantakree
  • Paruna Xido Konna Lekgolo Pair
  • Waruna Xido Yotno Lekgolo Pair
  • Kwassass
  • Imperial Admiral Xytan 'Jar Wattinree
  • Uruo 'Lasonaee
  • Zasses 'Jeqkogoee
  • Y'gar 'Pewtrunoee
  • Shipmaster Tano 'Inanraree
  • Shipmaster Qunu

A Sequel?Edit

For several years, Ghosts of Onyx was one of the most popular Halo novels to have a sequel made. It is the start of a new series, the post-war series and the sequel will be called "Halo: Glasslands." The sequel was already being talked about in 2010. The sequel was officially annonuced July 20,2010. However, it won't be written by Eric Nylund. For more info, see our page based on the book.


  • The title of the book "Ghosts of Onyx" is a reference to the track piece "Ghosts of Reach" located in the Halo 2 Soundtrack.
  • Originally, the book was going to be named "Ghosts of Coral." This name was changed for many reasons.
  • During a early build of the book, two chapters were going to be cut. However, Eric Nylund decided to have these chapters implemented.
  • Camp Currahee could be a reference to Camp Toccoa used to train the 101st Airbourne Division in WWII. The name "Ambrose" could also be a reference to Steven E.Ambrose, the author of "Band of Brothers" which is based on the 101st Airbourne.
  • The book, along with Contact Harvest and Cole Protocol are in the Halo Boxed Set.
  • This book, like Fall of Reach, The Flood and First Strike will receive a content repair and a remake. The date for it's release is unknown as of yet.


Main series
The Fall of Reach The FloodFirst StrikeGhosts of OnyxContact HarvestThe Cole Protocol
The Forerunner Saga
CryptumPrimordium Silentium
Kilo-Five series
Glasslands The Thursday War - One unannounced sequel -
The Art of Halo The Art of Halo 3Encyclopedia (2009)The Essential Visual GuideThe Art of Building Worlds