I am trying to find a book, that was part of the series - I've only read the first volume and never had a chance to find the rest.

  • Action takes place probably in the future, in Europe but technology is medieval again and there is some basic magic
  • Main character accidentally finds the legendary Beast, which is in fact a still operational tank (although without any ammo)
  • Current ruler is a typical Evil Overlord - there is a small scale rebellion that (so far unsuccessfully) tries to overthrow him, they rally behind the main character and the Beast
  • I remember a village that had two magic stones: one allowed you to open any door, second was used to summon lightning.

I've read it probably in the early 90s.

  • 3
    Main character = A Tank - Maybe a Bolo short story?
    – Valorum
    Sep 15, 2015 at 22:12
  • Main character is not a tank, he finds one :)
    – Yasskier
    Sep 15, 2015 at 22:14
  • 1
    @Richard: I was also thinking of Keith Laumer's short story Night of the Trolls, one of the BOLO stories.
    – Joe L.
    Sep 15, 2015 at 23:00
  • if not for the magic stones, that would have been "Inhabited island" by Strugatsky. Sep 16, 2015 at 13:32
  • Did anyone else read the title and immediately think "Dr. No"? Sep 16, 2015 at 15:35

2 Answers 2


I believe you're thinking of the Empire of the East series by Fred Saberhagen. Specifically the first book, The Broken Lands.

The series is set in a future version of Earth. Years ago, mankind stopped a nuclear war by deploying devices which changed the laws of nature. The change had the side effect of introducing magic and magical creatures to the world. Aside from the magic, society regressed to a medieval society.

The protagonist of The Broken Lands is a young man who finds what he thinks is an Elephant--actually a nuclear-powered tank--parked in a cave. He manages to get it running and uses it to join the battle against the bad guys.

Google books has a page for the collected edition of the series. Parts of the book are available to be viewed. You can search on "Elephant" to see some passages involving the tank.

Saberhagen's Book of Swords series is set thousands of years later in the same universe as Empire of the East. If you enjoy one series, you should take a look at the other.

  • bleah, @imaginaryevents beat me by less than a minute!
    – Kenster
    Sep 15, 2015 at 22:59
  • haha and who should I now credit for the right answer?
    – Yasskier
    Sep 15, 2015 at 22:59
  • 2
    I have both the original three-volume version of the trilogy and the one-volume collection. I just wanted to note that there are some significant abridgments to the omnibus edition, and quite a few changes to the last volume (including changing the name from Changeling Earth to Ardneh's World. In general, I find the original texts to be noticeably better.
    – Buzz
    Sep 16, 2015 at 1:12

The Broken Lands by Fred Saberhagen, published 1968. The first novel in the Empire of the East series.

In the distant future, society has crumbled. Dark forces now rule the land, keeping all humans under their oppressive thumbs.
In the darkness of the shadows and whispered on the winds, there is talk of a rebellion. In the swamps, a small band has formed. Determined to regain their freedom, the rebellion, heavily outnumbered, plans to overthrow an army of thousands . . . with the help of one incredible weapon.
It is only a legend, a story left over from the Old World before magic and the wizards came to the land. A weapon of technology. It is the mystical Elephant, and whoever masters it holds the key to freedom, or defeat.

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