Nick Kyme’s ‘quick read’ The Gates of Terra follows Captain Arcadese of the Ultramarines as he stubbornly defends the Ardent Reef from the forces of the Warmaster, in spite of his growing confusion at what’s happening around him. To abuse a famous line : it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a Horus Heresy short story, even one apparently standing on its own, will in some way be linked to at least one other existing story. This story is a great example, as while fundamentally it stands as a single story it is in fact linked with Forgotten Sons from the Age of Darkness anthology, as well as the Garro arc, albeit loosely.
A slow-burning tale that leaves the reader unsure of exactly what’s happening for much of its length, it plays well to Nick Kyme’s preference for playing with characters’ fears and uncertainties, as well as for narrative ambiguities. While Arcadese is the main protagonist in the story, essentially it’s a snapshot of where the loyalist commanders stand (post-Isstvan and pre-Siege of Terra) and the lengths they are prepared to go to to win the war. Not the most straightforward of short stories, but interesting nonetheless and ultimately satisfying.