Earth is gone.
Centuries have passed since life ended on the blue planet. Humanity's survivors are now dispersed among distant colonies, thousands of light years from the barren, frozen rock that was once their home.
At a time when power means everything, the ultimate power, the imperium, rests with the Consulate Magistratus. In return for its protection, citizens must concede their rights absolutely. The Magistratus controls interstellar travel, access to technology, even procreation. Every citizen is implanted with a device to monitor their location, health and emotions. Freedom, religion and self-determination are anachronisms. Humanity's true history survives only in whispers of a secret archive.
Yet there are those who preach a new religion and who want to be free.
In the cold of a winter's night, a small village is the subject of a brutal attack. A fourteen-year-old boy, Jordi, sees armed men approaching and manages to wake his family. He and a handful of survivors flee into the frozen, snow-covered forest to wait for the preacher who told them their way of life was based on lies.
Shepherd, a freighter-tramp and smuggler, is commissioned to deliver illicit medical supplies to a hostile border planet near the Wall. He is dragged into a fight he does not believe in and a desperate struggle to protect his ship, his way of life and the lives of the persecuted few who seek only freedom.
A revolution is coming…
The Heretic is the first book in the Beyond the Wall series, an epic, hard science-fiction space opera about the future of humanity and the discovery of the truth of its past.
Praise for Lucas Bale and The Heretic
"Calling 'The Heretic' a Post-Apocalyptic novel doesn’t do this justice. Plot and character driven, Bale doesn’t neglect the world building necessary to turn regular fiction into compelling Sci Fi. We’re not surprised that we couldn’t find a single bad review of this excellent debut."
“Lucas Bale’s debut novel is gripping, suspenseful science fiction. It seizes you right from the first word, and the chase scene at the climax of the story is some of the finest writing I’ve seen in the genre.”
Alex Roddie, author of The Atholl Expedition and The Only Genuine Jones
“One to watch.”
Eve Seymour, author of The Last Exile and Resolution to Kill
“An engrossing and tense post-apocalyptic adventure. Lucas Bale delivers in his exciting and brilliant debut that does justice to the Sci-fi genre.”
Nadine Matheson, author of The Sisters
"A fine science fiction adventure and a strong debut from a new author, may there be more to come from him."
Michael Brookes, author of Faust 2.0
"The Heretic is a fantastic debut novel. I was enthralled by the world presented in this story from the first sentence. Both of the main characters, Jordi and Shepherd, were captivating and well-developed. The whole story about the Magistratus was unique and I really can't wait to see what will happen in book 2."
Goodreads Review, 5 Stars
"This book was one of the best I have read recently. It was well written, exciting, and intelligent. I loved the nods to other great sci-fi works like Firefly and FarScape. The premise it starts with isn't particularly unique -- Earth's children are among the stars, struggling to survive and oppressed. Yet the story was different and the characters took it to a new place that was interesting and kept me reading. I will definitely look for the remainder of the series as I want to know what happens."
Goodreads Review, 5 Stars
"The Heretic is beautifully written, the winter-gripped planet of Herse coming to life in a beautiful, often brutal way. His characters are fully realised, drawing us into their struggles as they seek to make sense of an existence suddenly upended. Bale builds his world convincingly, with the future technologies believable and without gimmicks, though it is perhaps his naturalistic descriptions of the forests and mountains of Herse where he is at his most atmospheric and best. There is a sense of wonder here, of looking up at the night sky and seeing beyond the stars. An excellent debut novel - I look forward to more in this series."
Amazon Review, 5 Stars
"The Heretic is not a work that can stand on its own indefinitely, and cannot be cleanly detached from what must follow because it is so very clearly serialized. Thankfully, the author succeeds in creating a strong enough work to draw readers in for the next installment. What he’s done was done very well, indeed. Ultimately, Bale’s debut is a terrific distillation of many prior SFF works that I’ve enjoyed, if not flat-out loved entirely, and both his story and writing skills are strong enough to have hooked me along for future works in this series. I genuinely cannot wait to see where this story goes next and will be looking forward to Defiance, the next book, with eager anticipation."
Amazon Review, 5 Stars
"This fine novel pulls you in from the well-picked Milton quote onwards. Bale writes evocatively, with characters that are sympathetic and a plot that twists and turns as skillfully as the starship Soteria. There is a well developed world view here, with an attention to detail that stretches from credible theology to respect for physics, even to the extent of an FTL method which has recognisable antecedents, but is still fresh and interesting. Fans of Firefly and Iain M. Banks will certainly find much to enjoy here."
Amazon Review, 5 stars