I’ve never avoided media tie-ins simply because that’s what they are, but I know a lot of people do. While I’ve never read a Warhammer 40k book (not for lack of want. I simply have no idea where to start since there are so many Warhammer 40k novels out there), Myke Cole has an article up over at SF Signal that details why you should give the 40k books a chance.
<blockquoteFor those of you unfamiliar with the Warhammer 40,000 universe, it deals with an Imperium of Man, sprawled across the galaxy and assailed from all sides by a range of threats, each more unstoppable and horrifying than the last. Faced with their own extinction, mankind adopts the kind of coping mechanisms you'd expect: despotism, ultra-orthodox xenophobia, inquisitional militarism, Gestapo style internal suspicion and a feudal death-cult warrior ethos that evokes the worst of the real world high medieval military aristocracy.