In my youth I read a novel where technology was controlled by a priest class.

They had an ordination process of novices which involved randomly selecting an egg, breaking it open, and inside was a different colored robe. The different colors corresponded to different fields (iirc).

The society, and the priest class, believe in magic as opposed to technology.

The protagonist, a novice, breaks open an egg to reveal a black robe - which was not any of the prescribed colors. IIRC, they tried to take it from him but ultimately ended up letting him have it, and (?) ignored him.

Turns out, the black robe was some sort of master robe, with knobs inside the sleeves that controlled 'broken magic'. Like flying cars. And rendering the black-robe wearer invisible.

AI is also involved in this.

I read this when I was around ~6-10 years old, early 1990s. So possibly young-adult. English language. And I read it in a New Zealand school.

Any pointers would be appreciated!

  • 3
    Welcome. To help us narrow it down, when was your youth / during what approximate time period did you read this? What language was it written in, where did you read it?
    – Politank-Z
    Dec 29, 2016 at 5:55

1 Answer 1


S. P. Somtow in his Inquestor series had the Inquestors dressed in robes grown from the contents of "eggs" broken over them, if I remember correctly.

But they didn't use magic but technology. They ruled a vast space empire where every child was drafted to serve in the many different space wars, including the seemingly eternal war with the alien whispershadows.

  • "Rainbow Cloaks" according to one site, if that helps.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jan 7, 2017 at 20:34

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