Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Heresy Within (The Ties That Bind, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Heresy Within (The Ties That Bind, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Heresy Within

(The Ties That Bind #1)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  2,442 ratings  ·  126 reviews
The Heresy Within is the first book in the debut trilogy, The Ties that Bind by Rob J. Hayes.

As any warrior will tell you; even the best swordsman is one bad day away from a corpse. It's a lesson Blademaster Jezzet Vel'urn isn't keen to learn. Chased into the Wilds by a vengeful warlord, Jezzet makes it to the free city of Chade. But instead of sanctuary all she finds is m
Kindle Edition, 472 pages
Published November 24th 2014 by Rob J. Hayes (first published November 10th 2014)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
Prince of Thorns by Mark  LawrenceThe Blade Itself by Joe AbercrombieA Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinKing of Thorns by Mark  LawrenceLast Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie
The Grimdarks
421 books — 1,094 voters
Prince of Thorns by Mark  LawrenceThe Blade Itself by Joe AbercrombieA Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinKing of Thorns by Mark  LawrenceEmperor of Thorns by Mark  Lawrence
Best Grimdark
134 books — 229 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,442 ratings  ·  126 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Heresy Within (The Ties That Bind, #1)
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
Actual rating: 3.38246895 stars. More or less.

Okay, so this book was my murderous offspring’s bedtime story for July, and I have to say it was appropriately gritty and violent, and featured enough dead bodies to ensure my homicidal children a peaceful, nightmare-free sleep (the poor babies can’t fall into a deep slumber unless there are at least 227 a couple of casualties per chapter, you see). Albert, my eldest, just provided me with a list of what his homicidal siblings and his little self li
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews

The other day I bumped into a friend of mine while Christmas shopping. (Actually, our wives were shopping; we were relegated to bag duty.) So to pass some time – and get out of the way of crazed shoppers – we found a coffee shop and had a short conversation about life, including what books we’d recommended the other give a try. And during those few minutes of relative safety, The Heresy Within was discussed. A Question and Answer session that went somet
Sep 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
This was a buddy read with my grimdark co-conspirator Samir. We managed to make it through The Wilds and past the Inquisition, but not entirely unscathed. We still have all of our limbs attached, and that is a blessing after this adventure.

What a brutal, bloodthirsty, and violent expedition of a read this was. Rob J. Hayes' The Heresy Within is a world immersed in murderers, witches, demons, and all kinds of foul things with bad intentions. The three main characters, along with the side characte
May 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Full review over at Fantasy Book Critic.

CLASSIFICATION: The Heresy Within is a dark fantasy debut with terrific characterization and a twisted plotline that is very reminiscent of the works by Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence and Scott Lynch.

ANALYSIS: This book was originally self-published by the author in 2013 and it completely blew my mind. When I first read it, I had no clue about this book but the blurb suggested a dark story and the excerpt that I read had me salivating as soon as I finish
Paul Nelson
May 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-books-read
The Heresy Within is the debut novel of Rob J Hayes The Ties That bind trilogy, first heard of this via a review from Mihir at Fantasy Book Critic and after flying through the first half of the book I was so impressed I bought the rest of the trilogy.

The story follows three main POV characters, the first being Thanquil Darkheart who is an Arbiter of the Inquisition tasking with purging the land of heretics, witches and sorcerers.
The Arbiters are trained in the use of magic, runes written on pa
Carrie Mansfield
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
I picked this one up on audiobook as I was looking for something a bit gritty and dark, and this book definitely delivered. This is Rob J Hayes' debut, so I didn't think I would enjoy it quite as much as I have some of his later books, but I did still really rate it and there is a lot to like here.

We follow three main characters, Jezzet who is a Blademaster, The Black Thorn who is a thief and murderer, and Arbiter Thanquil Darkheart who is on a secret mission to root out the heresy within his or
Julia Sarene
I really enjoyed this one!

I liked all the characters, and I could not tell you which one is my favorite... They are no nice, shining heroes though, so if you're looking for a happy feel good story with normally sound heroes, this is not for you. If you on the other hand are looking for something a bit more realistic, gritty, and different, look no further! They were all perfectly individual, with different personalities and strengths and weaknesses, no cardboard cutouts.

The pacing was just righ
Shaad Zaman
Where to start??? First off this was just an amazing book.. I would highly recommend it to all Joe Abercrombie fans. This book was quite a ride, it was filled some amazing characters, and quite a few plot twists. Its just one GREAT book! I m looking forward to reading the next two books in this trilogy! The great thing is all the books are out so no waiting. Again this highly recommend to fans of Gritty Fantasy, it has tons of deaths, sex, violence and much more ugliness. Lastly I forgot to ment ...more
Al Burke
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When the good guys can't be trusted, who do you call? Well, the bad guys, of course.The Heresy Within follows three main characters, a witch-hunter, a thief and a blademaster, each of whom has their flaws and is under no illusion about who they are.

The tale takes them all across the land they live in, seeking answers for their "quest" and running into old friends and foes. The book is relatively long, but never gets boring or drops in pace. The characters, even the secondary ones, are interestin
C.T. Phipps
Dec 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: grimdark, fantasy
People have a very strange view of fantasy.

The vast majority of people have a blind spot in their understanding of the genre. They think it started with mythology, moved on to King Arthur and Robin Hood, got revived with Tolkien and everything after was a product of J.R.R's vision with the exception of C.S. Lewis. Sometimes, they remember Conan. However, one of the big things George R.R. Martin gets credit for is adding grit and darkness to the genre. Stuff which was always there and Professor
Miriam Michalak
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
A sell-sword with a quick temper, a fascination with teeth and a love of whores & ale, a blade-master who can fight or fuck her way out of any situation & a rebel Arbiter of the Inquisition team up...... what could possibly go wrong? A well paced & plotted and a decidedly fun read. Loved all the characters: Despite their lack of redeeming qualities, I was rooting for them all!

Looking forward to more adventuring with this crew.
A.M. Justice
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a terrific work of grimdark fiction featuring three main characters who are sympathetic despite committing reprehensible crimes. The story's hero is Thanquil Darkheart, a witch hunter who is recruited by his nation's emperor to root out and destroy a subversive element within his own religious order. Thanquil, like the other two protagonists, has let fate rule his life and while he does not like killing and tries to exercise tolerance and mercy where and when he can, he doesn't shy away ...more
Seth Skorkowsky
Oct 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio
Rob J Hayes' debut novel kicks down the door and takes no prisoners. Its exciting, vulgar, funny, and extremely entertaining.

The story follows three drastically different people in different parts of the world. As we go, their separate threads begin weaving until we have a single narrative. Not all of our unlikely heroes are good people (quite the opposite, actually), though they are all flushed out and enjoyable characters. The side characters are also very fun (Bones is the best).

Dialogue is a
Jan 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Solid book, I prefer WLL but this is a good grimdark series
Mar 21, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
3.5 Stars

A gritty and entertaining dark fantasy story, there was a lot to like mixed with one major complaint that lowered the rating from a 4 to a 3 for me.

The Heresy Within follows three different characters. Jezzet is a blademaster living in the Wilds who is forced to flee from the trouble that has been hunting her for a long time. Thankquil is an Arbiter, a witch hunter, given a task he knows will likely get him killed. The Black Thorn is a mercenary, a killer for hire whose name is infamou
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rob J. Hayes is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, this story was really great with equally great characters, writing, and action scenes.

If you're a fan of Witch Hunters/Inquisitors in fantasy, great action, anti-heroes, and just well written fantasy, you gotta give this a read.

The story is quite complex and follows three separate heroes, all of their paths intertwine in ways you may not imagine, each is equally interesting and well written but my favorite was for sure Arbiter Thanqu
Blodeuedd Finland
I tried to read it. I made it to p 50 and I have no idea what happened. A woman did something. A man took a child with him and left it. OMG so BORING!!!!!! I was bored by p 1. That is never good
Fantasy Review Barn

Note: This radio show doesn’t exist, this conversation never happened, I didn’t receive and early copy or advise the author in anyway. Oh, and it occurred (or rather, didn’t) some undetermined time in the past.

Ok welcome back to Grimdark talk *heavy metal music plays,* we have on the line Rob, how you doing Tom?

Good, good, my name is Rob, but thanks for having me Nathan.

Alright, Rob here is looking to put out his new book, ‘The Heresy Within’, and sent me an early copy in ord
Aria Nocturne
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome book! Loved it, the characters were awesome, an intriguing story with plenty of action. Funny at times as well. Definitely recommend this book.
Cupcakes & Machetes
It is hard to review a book that was neither good nor bad. As I suspected from the start, the entire endeavor ended with a mediocre rating on my part.


Jezzet: The fight or fuck your way out type of woman. I had big expectations for her but overall I found her somewhat disappointing. I mean, if you're going to be that type of person, fucking own it. She was always embarrassed about being called a whore (or a lady) and ashamed of her scars. If 'fight or fuck' is going to be your mantra for surviva
Apr 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle
Arbiter Thanquil Darkheart is a cleanser of heretics and a man who can pretty much go wherever he wants and do whatever he wants once he gets there. Jezzet Vel'urn is a BladeMaster who seems to run from danger to danger. You'd kinda think a master of the blade would be doing more with her life but there you go. Then we have Betrim Thorn - the Black Thorn: killer of Arbiters (six, everyone always forgets about the first) and general all-round scoundrel. They're all going about their lives, all en ...more
May 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
German Review on GosuReviews

What a great debut novel! So many great debuts this year and definetly one of my favorites this year.
It's a well paced , bloody and action packed story, with great characters. If you enjoy dark fantasy and explicit languange definitely a must read.
Still can't belief this is an indie book, give this man a book deal already!
Kenny Soward
Jan 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'll start by saying this was more of a 4.6, but I'm rounding up. There is nothing ultra revolutionary here, but Heresy is written very well, the characters are highly entertaining (especially the boss and his gang), and the storyline takes some nice dips and twists. I really like Jezzett. She's a character for the ages, tough and practical with a fiery heart. Highly recommended. ...more
Guy Lis
Oct 23, 2014 rated it liked it
A good book and a good series, action packed, with a light style, reminds a bit of abercrombie but less dark.
For anyone who want to read fun characters, something not too deep but still enjoyable
S A M | The Book in Hand
Usually DNF’s for me are a standard one star, while this is a DNF I am giving it two stars because I may, and I say I may with little conviction, try to continue reading this. It is unlikely but I’m feeling a little shady not continuing it. It can be any number of factors why someone drops a book. While I general feel like there is a lack of plot progression and I’m not loving the characters it could be that I have read some amazing books lately and my bar is a little high at the moment. That an ...more
May 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-books, 2014-reads
Mihir' review over at Fantasy Book Critic inspired to buy a digital copy of this first book in THE TIES THAT BIND trilogy which is a the same time the debut novel of Rob J. Hayes and it is a strong debut!

After reading a third of the book there was no other way out than to buy the rest of the trilogy which I did.

This is a really dark and gritty fantasy novel with strong and impressive characters. Don't expect heroes in golden armour.

For more information I recommend to read Mihir's review over at
Jul 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Ok so this book was good, not perfect there were problems but I'll get to those in a moment. I first heard about this book through a recommendation that popped up and I looked into it and the reviews all seemed to point to a very dark tale, couple that with the cool cover, the very low price and I was in. All this in mind it was about halfway through I decided that I owed this book and its author a full accounting of my thoughts on it with a comprehensive review.
I was not disappointed, this bo
Iain Entwistle
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I throughly enjoyed this book even if the overall layout did seem a litte like Game of Thrones. With smaller perspectives of characters, I found this easy to get into and certainly the entralling story was a big help; the use of English was good and description kept me wanting more.

The characters were interesting, I liked the small introductions before the story erupted and it the little twists got underway. I found myself wanting to know more about the Blademaster and The Black Thorn. The Arbit
Jan 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: eli
I would have been happy to give the book 5 stars but for what I feel is gratuitous sex and language. it doesn't have the natural organic feel the First Law books do. It seems forced, like it was added for shock value.

The positives far outweigh the negatives though. The characters have depth and their interactions are believable. Actions scenes are exciting and paced well. The world is well developed and I enjoyed exploring it with the characters.

I will most likely read the next book in the ser
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Kings of Heaven (Ash and Sand, #3)
  • Black Stone Heart (The Obsidian Path, #1)
  • Kings of Ash (Ash and Sand, #2)
  • Kings of Paradise (Ash and Sand, #1)
  • Smoke and Stone (City of Sacrifice, #1)
  • Ash and Bones (City of Sacrifice, #2)
  • Beyond Redemption (Manifest Delusions, #1)
  • Aching God (Iconoclasts, #1)
  • Sin Eater (Iconoclasts, #2)
  • The Mirror’s Truth (Manifest Delusions, #2)
  • Ravencry (Raven's Mark #2)
  • The Lost War (Eidyn #1)
  • Priest of Lies (War for the Rose Throne, #2)
  • She Who Waits (Low Town, #3)
  • Tomorrow, the Killing (Low Town, #2)
  • Low Town (Low Town, #1)
  • Crowfall (Raven's Mark, #3)
  • The Risen Shard (The Chain Breaker #1)
See similar books…
Winner of Mark Lawrence's 3rd Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO) with Where Loyalties Lie

Rob J. Hayes was born somewhere south of the cockney wastelands in a small town called Basingstoke. He grew up with all the usual boy toys including Lego, Star Wars figures (complete with working lightsaber action) and plenty of Transformers. Playing with these toys inspired his imagination and as soon as

Other books in the series

The Ties That Bind (3 books)
  • The Colour of Vengeance (The Ties that Bind, #2)
  • The Price of Faith (The Ties that Bind, #3)

Related Articles

The coming season is a big one for the science fiction and fantasy genres, with the release of some of 2021's most anticipated speculative...
30 likes · 28 comments
“Ever killed anyone with a spoon?" she asked him.
"Me neither, but I'm thinking of trying.”
“Jezzet there isn't a man in this room who hasn't spent at least some time staring at you and you're without doubt the most graceful person I've ever seen. I'm sure you can find some way to distract them. Failing that just start ... you know ... killing people."
"Killing people?" [...]
"Yes. with a spoon if you like.”
More quotes…