I'm trying to identify a book I read a long time ago. The premise was that far in the future humans had technology that could accomplish just about anything (teleportation, body manipulation creating elves and dwarves, force fields, etc), but due to their extremely long lives, the population had decreased to where there's just a few thousand people left.

Then, there is a war in the ruling council that basically ties up all the energy people were using to run their technology causing the world to drop back to a roughly medieval level. There's also a world wide "Mother" AI that prevents any explosive energy from being used, so the best you might get is steam powered engines. I do remember it being the first book in a series.


1 Answer 1


This is the Council Wars series by John Ringo.

The first book is titled There Will Be Dragons

From the Goodreads review for the series:

In the future there is no want, no war, no disease nor ill-timed death. The world is a paradise—and then, in a moment, it ends. The council that controls the Net falls out and goes to war. Everywhere people who have never known a moment of want or pain are left wondering how to survive.

But scattered across the face of the earth are communities which have returned to the natural life of soil and small farm. In the village of Raven's Mill, Edmund Talbot, master smith and unassuming historian, finds that all the problems of the world are falling in his lap. Refugees are flooding in, bandits are roaming the woods, and his former lover and his only daughter struggle through the Fallen landscape. Enemies, new and old, gather like jackals around a wounded lion.

But what the jackals do not know is that while old he may be, this lion is far from death. And hidden in the past is a mystery that has waited until this time to be revealed. You cross Edmund Talbot at your peril, for a smith is not all he once was.

From Wikipedia:

The series is set several thousand years in the future, in a society with advanced nanotechnology, teleportation, and other technologies which effectively are magical in the sense of Clarke's law made real, all controlled and coordinated by an artificial intelligence called Mother. Initially the world is a near Eden. War has been gone for millennia. The most aggressive, curious or adventurous humans have left Earth to explore space or terraform new worlds. The abundant power and technology allows long lives, powerful genetic engineering that includes the ability to turn into a merman or dolphin, the ability to have homes on mountain tops in the Himalayas or in deep volcanos, and free flight. Despite—or perhaps because of—an idyllic world, technology is stagnant, no great art has been produced in generations, and the human population is dropping slowly.

There are elves and dragons as in many fantasy novels. But the elves are the results of long-ago military genetic engineering programs and the dragons are genetically engineered sentients, originally designed by Disney.

Mother, who controls all the systems on Earth, as well as in near-Earth space and the Wolf 359 colonization project, is controlled by a Council of thirteen Key Holders who can change system directives and, if unanimous, change even her kernel-level programming. The Council has split into two philosophical factions, and is in a battle for whose ideals will dominate the future of the human race. When one of the Council members dies without a clear successor to their Key, the faction split becomes numerically balanced. That faction split leads to war: something humans have not had for over a millennium. The two factions split into open war only after the faction advocating extensive changes to society to reverse the decline in population fails to persuade the rest of the council and resorts to violence.

In the struggle for power, Mother's protocols forces her to split the available power between the voting members of the Council Members. This results in her being forced to cut off all the power to everyone else, including all the computer-controlled nanotech that have made their lives of leisure possible. This includes explosives as well as any new power sources that may come online. Because of the protocols that are defined in her kernel-level code, Mother simply siphons off any energy above a certain level, such as an explosion, high-pressure gas, or a new hydroelectric dam etc. The result: Humanity plunges immediately from utopia to the Dark Ages. This event is known as "The Fall." The series follows the resultant chaos and destruction that follows, and the war itself. The war ends up being fought on two planes; not just with advanced technology, but with swords, cavalry, and legions.


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