Shortly before his death, my father spoke to me about a series of novels that he had just finished reading which had a fascinating concept. However I soon forgot the title(s) and author and I've been absolutely desperate to find out what they were.

The premise (as I understood) was that humanity had expanded out from the solar system into the local star systems before coming into contact with an incredibly aggressive species which was focused on wiping out the entire species. Earth and her colonies were lost as remnants of the species fled. Eventually it was decided by the military leadership to set up a colony in order to rebuild the human race. However, in order for this colony to escape detection and to keep humanity from going back out into space and thus potentially running into this hostile alien race again, a series of satellites were set up around the planet chosen that would lock onto and destroy any form of technology (and usually the surrounding city) that went beyond pre-industrial standards.

One of the series protagonist is a long living android who possesses the consciousness of a human who was present at the original founding of the colony (and who seems shielded from detection) which observes as civilization is repeatedly regrown and torn down again and who attempts to try and reverse humanities self imposed lot in life.

From what I understood this was a series of novels, but I could be wrong. I've been trying to find this for years on my own with only a rough plot line as a guide and it's gotten me nowhere.

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    You might be interested in another novel by the same author: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heirs_of_Empire. This novel could be considered a practice run the author did before starting the Safehold series which is what the question is referring to.
    – Bharat B
    Commented Jul 8, 2013 at 11:29
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    David Weber is extremely popular among the Military SF crowd, especially for his magnum opus - the mammoth Honorverse (29 volumes). I've read a good portion of what he's written, but not the Safehold series (6 volumes starting with Off Armageddon Reef). Commented Jul 8, 2013 at 12:56
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    "Off Armageddon Reef" is actually a first book in an ongoing "Safehold" series. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safehold . It's Weber at his finest. Commented Jul 8, 2013 at 14:32
  • I love this book and series. Great read I highly recommend (of course Weber is one of my favorite authors so no bias here at all!) :P
    – Ryan
    Commented Jul 8, 2013 at 21:06
  • There is a similar situation in David Brin's Brightness Reef, the first book of the second trilogy set in the Uplift Universe. Commented Jul 9, 2013 at 0:33

1 Answer 1


This is Off Armageddon Reef by David Weber, first book of the Safehold series.

Humanity pushed its way to the stars - and encountered the Gbaba, a ruthless alien race that nearly wiped us out.

Earth and her colonies are now smoldering ruins, and the few survivors have fled to distant, Earth-like Safehold, to try to rebuild. But the Gbaba can detect the emissions of an industrial civilization, so the human rulers of Safehold have taken extraordinary measures: with mind control and hidden high technology, they've built a religion in which every Safeholdian believes, a religion designed to keep Safehold society medieval forever.

The android is a safeguard left by Pei Shan-Wei, imbued with the memories and personality of a military officer named Nimue Alban, who takes on the body of a male, and the name of Merlin Athrawes, to be better accepted by the current society.

I used several word combinations on google which led me nowhere, but then switched to yahoo and only after a couple different searches found it on goodreads.com.

The eventual word combination that worked was "Sci fi book where humanity flees after war with aliens and sets up colony where technology is repressed through the use of satellites"


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