we lost the sky


In the distant future when Tuscany is a desolate wasteland ruled by the forces of nature, Renn is abandoned by his fellow wanderers. As a dust storm approaches, he struggles to find shelter in the ruins of an ancient city. But he gets more than he has bargained for when he accidentally awakens a dormant creature which resembles the maddened Moon servants from his people’s legends.

Meanwhile, a teenage survivor of the lost civilisation is keeping an eye on his old home, the one remaining great city, Florence. Unlike the city dwellers who rarely venture out of Florence’s protective domes, he scavenges long-forgotten technology while looking for others from his own time. And now he is building an army of artificial humans outside the city that no longer welcomes him.

The Florentines reject advanced technology and innovation. Yet, a restoration worker strives to learn engineering and longs to find out more about the strange relics that turn up on her workbench. She is caught between the city's, wealthy, protected neighbourhoods and its outer slums, determined to help the impoverished denizens. However, both endeavours mean working against her own father and the ideology of the ruling class.

As tensions mount in Florence, Renn and an unlikely new travelling companion are drawn towards the city. But danger is lurking around every dune of sand. It is going to take more than luck to avoid suspicious settlers and survive the turbulent weather conditions and fierce predators longing to put a quick end to their journey.


"We Lost the Sky is an engaging story of post-collapse rebuilding. Howalt explores future Italy with a variety of characters, finding societal faults and moments of human connection that even an exploding moon couldn't shift."

- Zach Bartlett, author of To the Abyss

"Carefully paced and breathtakingly beautiful, We Lost the Sky is a post-apocalyptic tale which defies expectation in all the right places and will leave you feeling changed in ways you can’t explain."

- Kathy Joy, author of Last One to the Bridge

"Howalt brings humanity back to the world of science fiction, substituting the glamour of traditional space-age machinery for the intricately developed individuals who inhabit this fantastic, surreal world. Ladies and gentlemen, like King’s The Dark Tower before it, this is SCI-FI done right!"
- Dean Moses, author of A Stalled Ox

"Marie Howalt offers a light at the end of the dystopian tunnel. The world as we know it has ended and the city of Florence is domed, though not under the grandeur of cathedrals. As in Tarkovsky’s film Stalker and McCarthy’s novel The Road, folks scrounge and divide. But Howalt brings hope through the intertwining stories of androids, cryogenics survivors, nomads, and the first fledglings of a resistance.”

- Pam Jones, author of Andermatt County

The novel is part of Spaceboy Book's TO THE RESCUE program: Profits from sales of WE LOST THE SKY will be donated to Hjernerystelsesforeningen, the Danish Post Concussion Syndrome Foundation. It is a cause dear to me because I suffer from the condition and know that research and treatment are very needed indeed.