This book was most likely a paperback book from the 1970s or 1980s.

Possibly set in a post-apocalyptic (possibly plague or pandemic) United Kingdom (maybe Scotland) or Ireland?

An American(?) soldier arrives in a small town driving a (Sherman? or M1?) tank (maybe the sole survivor of a nearby Army base). He fends off a raiding party trying to rob the town (either a roving band or a party from a nearby town).

The town's people celebrate. Shortly after, it is discovered that some of the women he has entertained are pregnant. (Every other man in town is sterile.)

So they set him up as the Lord of the town with "First Night" rights to the brides of any couples who want children. Called "Droit du seigneur".

I am pretty sure the tank was nicknamed "The Fist".

As I recall, the book seemed to be almost a collection of stories -- as opposed to a smooth-flowing, continuous story -- but all concerning this town, the man and his tank.

The book covers an extended period of time, as I seem to recall that in the last story/chapter, he was concerned with what to do about "First Night" rights with his "daughters" who were now coming of age.

  • Welcome to the site! You have a good start here. If you could take a look at this guide to help jog your memory and edit in any more details, that would be great. Every little bit helps us.
    – amflare
    Nov 8, 2017 at 15:51

1 Answer 1


This is Masters of the Fist by Edward P. Hughes, published in 1989 by Baen Books.

Masters of the Fist - Book Cover

Welcome to the Village of Barley Cross.
Population 2,020 - and growing.

Barley Cross is as nice a little town as you are likely to find in this post World War III world of ours. If the villagers work hard they generally have enough to eat. Thanks to the O'Meara and his castle and his battle tank they have a place of refuge when the roving gangs come by. They even have some medicines from the old times.

But what makes Barley Cross a really special place - a unique one, in fact - is the children. That's again thanks to one-time Master Sergeant Patrick O'Meara, now Master of the fist and Lord of Barley Cross: In all the world he's the only man who isn't sterile - that's why nothing is to good for the Master of the Fist.

This review notes that it is a collection of stories:

Collection of short stories, post-apocalyptic with a sexist twist. Only one man is apparently fertile, what will the small village do about it? They wrestle with contemporary morals, as an undefined apocalypse has them bending them with medieval concepts to keep living.

Found by searching for book tank "the fist" sterile

  • Tried a few google searches using tank and the fist but nothing came up. Probably should have looked at images, :)
    – NJohnny
    Nov 8, 2017 at 15:56
  • @NJohnny: I think it was the mention of sterility that helped, that and the quote marks to indicate "the Fist" was a phrase. As noted above, if you believe this is the right answer, you can accept by clicking on the checkmark.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Nov 8, 2017 at 16:21
  • 1
    I have to read this book now. Good find, @FuzzyBoots! Nov 8, 2017 at 18:58
  • 4
    Why am I not surprised this was a Baen book?
    – Moriarty
    Nov 9, 2017 at 1:35
  • 1
    Yes this is the correct book, I thought I had clicked the checkmark when I read your reply 2 days ago.. Must have double clicked it and unchecked it without noticing.
    – NJohnny
    Nov 10, 2017 at 18:38

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