The science fiction book I read around 2008 seemed to be the second book of a trilogy. The story was not set on Earth. There were humanoid intelligent beings, ruins of dead civilization, ancient robots, ministries, war with heretics.

The protagonist was the lone representation of a faction or species called Builders. He traveled with a female bodyguard, and could control ancient machines, small and giant.

At the end of the book he gets kidnapped by someone who wants to join the heretics.

  • 1
    This sounds like Ancients of Days the second book of Confluence by Paul J. McAuley; kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/paul-j-mcauley/ancients-of-days if so, then I'll turn this into an answer – djm May 22 '18 at 13:10
  • P.S. The first book of this series is Child of the River – djm May 22 '18 at 13:16
  • That would also be my guess. Confluence is a very good science fantasy series reminescent of Gene Wolfe's "Book of the New Sun". – Klaus Æ. Mogensen May 22 '18 at 13:40
  • Agreed, sounds very much like the Confluence trilogy. – Artikid May 23 '18 at 16:34

Per multiple comments above, this may be from the Confluence series (1997) by Paul J. McAuley. According to the goodreads.com summary of the combined trilogy, "Builders" and a protagonist who can control ancient machines figure prominently:

Confluence - a long, narrow, artificial world, half fertile river valley, half crater-strewn desert. A world beyond the end of human history, served by countless machines, inhabited by 10,000 bloodlines who worship their absent creators, riven by a vast war against heretics. This is the home of Yama, found as an infant in a white boat on the world's Great River, raised by an obscure bureaucrat in an obscure town in the middle of a ruined necropolis, destined to become a clerk - until the discovery of his singular ancestry. For Yama appears to be the last remaining scion of the Builders, closest of all races to the revered architects of Confluence, able to awaken and control the secret machineries of the world. Pursued by enemies who want to make use of his powers, Yama voyages down the length of the world to search for answers to the mysteries of his origin, and to discover if he is to be the saviour of his world, or its nemesis.

  • Thanks everyone for your answers. Confluence series indicated in answers is the book I was looking for. – AliNino Jun 6 '18 at 10:58

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