Released at the 2014 Horus Heresy Weekender as an event-exclusive anthology, Sedition’s Gate collects together short stories from five Black Library authors in a format to match the limited-edition Horus Heresy novellas. There is no overarching theme for these stories, so instead they each focus on a different snapshot of the Heresy, some focusing on familiar characters and others on brand new characters and story lines.
Despite their differences, each of these stories feels very much like starting point for a new arc that the authors are going to be running with. That might be Chris Wraight picking up a loose thread from Scars and asking some interesting questions around loyalties, or David Annandale applying detail to a character which, depending on whether you have read Damnation of Pythos or not, will either set things up nicely or explain a few things. Nick Kyme’s tale of Vulkan sees the Primarch in a reflective, reminiscent mood and looking ahead sadly to a galaxy that wasn’t what he hoped it would be, while Guy Haley’s story focuses on a certain Ultramarines captain who has a rather interesting destiny ahead of him. Both of these stories have echoes that will be felt strongly in the world of the 41st millennium, and fans of the rest of Black Library’s work will enjoy the links.
Each story has a very different tone, which gives the anthology a nice sense of variety, although compared to some of the novels there is a definite sense of the authors exploring the more nuanced side of things and focusing less on full-on action. Some readers may prefer the more action-packed stories, but for those who like to step away from the combat, and those who like a little bit of a tease regarding future happenings, there is plenty to enjoy here. For those who really can’t do without their fix of Space Marine combat action, fear not. Rob Sanders’ Alpha Legion story delivers the biggest action punch of the anthology, and shows an interesting and indeed slightly intimidating side of the XXth legion, reminding us that they’re not just expert infiltrators.
It’s always a shame with these limited-edition releases that so many fans won’t get to read these fantastic stories for such a long time. Of the six stories in last year’s The Imperial Truth, only two have made their way into the open, a full year after the anthology was released. For those who can’t get hold of a copy of Sedition’s Gate…it might be a long wait ahead but it will definitely be worth it.