I am looking for a story I remember reading in the mid-90s. I can't remember if it was a trilogy or just a three part book, but I know it was in paperback book form. I also know it was found in the Young Adult section of the library at that time.

The general premise was that there had been some sort of war in the past and machines were outlawed. People visited priests who used magic. I remember that the main character discovers that the priest aren't using magic but are actually using machines.

I can also remember the main character ends up leaving the nation he is in and ends up in a neighboring nation where machines are allowed. I remember there being a scene where he watches a "movie" which I think was more like an old fashioned moving picture.

For some reason I keep wanting to tie this whole thing back to a sword, or blue sword, or something like that, but I might be mixing stories. Other things I keep linking to it: the character was in training to be a priest, he was forced to leave, he ended up using the neighboring nation to conquer his homeland. Again, still not sure if I am mixing things but they keep popping up.

I do know that it is not The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley, or its prequel, The Hero and the Crown.

  • This vaguely reminds me of David Weber's Safehold series, but the details don't match up. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safehold
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 13:38
  • It's not the Safehold series, although I will be adding that to my list of books to read. It looks interesting.
    – Bryan
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 13:47
  • 1
    Similar to Heirs of Empire (the third book in the Dahak series by David Weber), but the details don't match up. I don't recall a movie in that one, and the two main characters (brother/sister) were actually from another planet...
    – Ghotir
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 13:56
  • The sword and forbidden technology being used by priests reminds me of Final Fantasy X, but obviously that's not a book (and a little later than your time frame). It might be that the book you're looking for was an influence on the game, though
    – ShinyFox
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 14:15
  • Parts of your question match the Darksword trilogy (Weis & Hickman), but other parts very much do not.
    – AakashM
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 14:56

1 Answer 1


This is a trilogy by Tripods author John Christopher: The Prince in Waiting, Beyond the Burning Lands, and The Sword of the Spirits. Literally everything fits, except I don't think the sword mentioned in the last title was blue. It was made in a modern-style blast furnace of case hardened steel, by the high seers who lived hidden under Stonehenge. The protagonist is from Winchester in England, and the other nation mentioned in the question is Wales, which he travels to in the second and third books, before bringing back an army (armed with STEN submachine guns) to conquer the English city-states.

The series has previously come up: Looking for a book series from the 1960's - NOT the Tripod series ; YA Fantasy featuring a giant blob and a warrior ; Trilogy of books set in the future with "knights", "priests", and dwarfs and a rebellion ; and possibly What is the title of a book that is set in the future, but there is no electricity?

  • That might be it. I will be picking up the first book at the library. I'll mark this as the correct answer after I have had a chance to look at it.
    – Bryan
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 13:23
  • The more I read this story, the more it seems to fit. Thanks for finding this.
    – Bryan
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 21:38

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