Did Not Finish: The Heresy Within by Rob J. Hayes



Thanquil Darkheart is an Arbiter of the Inquisition, a witch hunter tasked with hunting down and purging heretics. Thanquil Darkheart is also something else, expendable.

When the God-Emperor of Sarth tells Thanquil there is a traitor operating among the highest echelon of the Inquisition he knows he has no choice but to sail to the city of Chade and follow the Emperor’s single lead.

The Black Thorn is a murderer, a thug, a thief and worse but he’s best known for the killing of six Arbiters. These days he travels with a crew of six of the most dangerous sell-swords in the wilds.

After a job well done they find themselves on the run from the law once again but the boss has good news; a new job, the biggest any of them have ever pulled. First, however, they need to evade capture long enough to secure travel to the free city of Chade.

Jezzet Vel’urn is a Blademaster; a swords-woman of prodigious skill but she knows that for a woman like her in the wilds there are two ways out of most situations; fight or screw. Truth is, all too often for Jezzet’s liking, it comes down to a combination of the two.

Jezzet is chased half-way across the wilds by a vengeful warlord until she makes it to the free city of Chade. Instead of sanctuary, however, all she finds are guards waiting to turn her over for some quick gold


This was a $0.99 purchase from Amazon. It was a self-published title. If you haven’t seen the title of this, you can see where this is going. Let’s just checklist this baby, shall we?

  • No consistency to the naming scheme. We have multiple inspirations:
    • Lord of the Rings (Thanquil)
    • Nordic (Freya)
    • Modern English (Catherine)
    • ????? (Jezzert or Jez depending on the given sentence)
  • A general lack of editing. This could have used another one or two passes with a red pen. There is a sloppiness to the text, from over-descriptions to metaphors that don’t work (i.e. “as out of place as a cat underwater.”)
  • Modern vernacular coming from the mouths of these characters. The God-Emperor says “heh.” A guy calls a woman a “cunt-sucking bitch.”
  • Jezzet, who despite being an awesome sword fighter is showing capitulating to men and opening her legs because they tell her to. She has a sword. She knows how to use it. Why isn’t these people with it? And then the author gives us a sex scene with her. And she likes it. “Jeszzet would have hated herself if she had any  pride left.” That’s a powerful female character, isn’t it?
  • Our hero is willing to just abandon a 10 year girl in the middle of a large city, and treats it like he’s doing her a favor (even though he knows it won’t end well). He was the one who agreed to take her along in the first place.

This whole book is just one big level of no.

I won’t give up on self-published titles, but this I desperately need a better one next to restore my faith in the truly indie writer.


2 thoughts on “Did Not Finish: The Heresy Within by Rob J. Hayes

  1. It’s shame you didn’t finish it, it sounds like you only read the first few chapters and got offended by the language. I’m not a great fan of the bad language either but the way the characters develop is great. The way they start out is a reflection of the immensely rough world they live in. I get that it’s not for everyone and pretty dark but even my churchy friends loved the trilogy once they got past the first few chapters and over-looked the swearing.

    • I don’t mind swearing, but it has to be in the right setting and context. Pulpy thriller? Go for it. A traditional fantasy where characters sound way too modern and the world isn’t modern? Not so much. If it had been just the swearing, I could have gotten past it, but on the whole the book wasn’t working for me. It needs a lot of polish and none of the characters were working well enough for me to press on. 🙂

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