I will give as much detail as I can remember. I first read the book in 1980. I have searched sci-fi books back to the 1940's and still can't find this book. I believe it may either be a really old book, one that was renamed, or something that was dismissed as pulp sci-fi. The writing and story were pretty good, so I'm surprised I can't find it.

The book starts on Earth with a powerful ruling class that forms their own religion. The first high priest starts a dynasty and all subsequent rulers use his name followed by a roman numeral (like Egyptian Pharaohs or Popes). Before the end of his life, the first high priest has himself frozen so that he can be resurrected to a time when science can make him immortal. Subsequent rulers do the same, but the first high priest has deemed that their cryo units will kill them before they awake. There can be only one master.

This next part I may have confused with another book - All goes well until they discover that the Sun is going to expand and swallow the Earth. Maybe they just leave Earth for another reason, but they do leave in mass.

This part I do remember -They send out interplanetary probes and design spaceships. They finally find suitable planets and create several "Arks" (I think there were multiple, can't be sure). They put all the ruling class into cryo sleep, and crew the ships with "slaves" who are trained to maintain the equipment.

Aboard the ships, the crews live in a caste system where duties are passed down from father to son. It will take many generations before they arrive at the host planet, and the last generation will again be slaves of the sleeping masters. Something goes wrong and the ship's food system is destroyed. One of the slave mechanics investigates and finds the sleeping masters. He find ancient records and discovers the fate in store for them. The crew decides they will not be slaves again, and will save themselves by eating the frozen masters until they arrive at the planet.

The ship lands on the planet and they crew prepare a final ship's meal. The last cryo-chamber to be opened is very ornate and old. It is actually the first high priest froze many years ago. He is accidentally awakened because his cryo-chamber is automatically activated when opened. He expects that he will be worshiped and soon will watch "hot knives plunged into quivering pink flesh". He sees the common young girl who has opened his cryo-chamber and begins to shout orders at her. Before he can say anything, she cuts his throat and he is prepared for the first feast on the new planet.

  • 1
    @PaulD.Waite You really are a guardian-editor. May the badges be with you!
    – Einer
    Commented May 14, 2014 at 15:34
  • 1
    @Einer: read ’em and weep (at how I spend my life) Commented May 14, 2014 at 16:46
  • Elements of this sound suspiciously like Mayflower II (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resplendent)
    – Valorum
    Commented May 14, 2014 at 19:25
  • I believe Mayflower II was published in 2004, which was 14 years after I read this book. It does sound very similar in many respects.
    – GeorgeN
    Commented May 14, 2014 at 19:34
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    I'm pretty sure about the date. It was during high school for me (1980-1983) and I had also purchased Billy Joel's 52nd Street album (1978) with the book. The two are forever linked in my brain. If I can find the name of the book, I will play the album and read as I did so many years ago. I am a big Clarke fan and have read Songs a few times. I wish it was the same book, but it isn't. I read the synopsis of Mayflower, but it doesn't match.
    – GeorgeN
    Commented May 14, 2014 at 19:57

1 Answer 1


Star Gate (novel), a 1958 novel by Andre Norton.

Not to be confused with the TV series of the same name :-)

When Kincar s’Rud, of mixed Gorthian and Star Lord Blood, followed the Star Lords through the shimmering gate that led to alternate universes, he found himself on a Gorth entirely different from the world he has known. At first the Gorthians appeared to be the same, but his former friends, turned out to be his enemies. For they were the people his friends might have been, had they made different choices at crucial moments in their lives. And soon Kincar and his real allies would have to confront their own evil, might-have-been-selves….

  • Could you expand your answer? Generally, a link to any Wiki is not a good answer, as the content of the page may change. Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 11:45
  • Honestly, the synopsis quoted in this answer doesn't sound at all like what the OP describes. (Well, there are evil overlords in both, but that's it.) Could this answer have been meant for some other question, and accidentally posted here? Commented Mar 26, 2018 at 19:19
  • sorry, but no. Not even close.
    – GeorgeN
    Commented Mar 28, 2018 at 13:11

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