The Harrowing

QUICK REVIEW: The Harrowing – Rob Sanders

First published in 2014’s Sedition’s Gate Limited Edition anthology, and then in 2016’s War Without End, Rob Sanders’ Alpha Legion short story The Harrowing now gets the e-short treatment as well. Planted among the crew of the Mechanicus ark freighter Omnissiax, an Alpha Legion infiltrator activates to support and facilitate a brutal, calculated assault on the vessel. While their operatives work to sow confusion, the Alpha Legion apply ‘sheer force and tactical relentlessness’ as they take on the vessel’s defence force, using every weapon at their disposal.

The Alpha Legion are so often portrayed as infiltrators and saboteurs that it’s easy to forget that they’re still capable of wielding just as much brute force as any other Legion. Here, Sanders does an excellent job of demonstrating how they do this, in their own unique way. Delivered in a cold, observational manner it’s actually quite a chilling depiction of the XXth Legion at war, while pitting the efficient and calculating Alpha Legion against the equally cold Mechanicus highlights the eerie sense of professionalism among the XXth. It’s a gripping, engaging story despite the inevitability of it all, that’s refreshingly different to what we’ve seen before.

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