I remember reading a Science Fiction book during my youth (1980 ish) that was multiple books, had some Native American themes and the end puzzle all revolved around using twelve rings in a specific order to unlock some great machine or something.

I cannot remember the name or the author.

I am hoping someone here can help me out.

  • How did Christmas factor into this?
    – jwodder
    Jun 13 '14 at 0:29
  • Oh, the ring order was related to the song 12 days of Christmas. Each of the 12 rings represented one of the verses in the song.
    – Pwarky
    Jun 13 '14 at 1:06

You're so very close.

You're looking for the Rings of the Master books, by Jack Chalker.

They're set a few hundred years in the future; in the backstory, mankind developed a huge computer system, the Master System, and gave it the prerogative to protect humanity. In true SF style, it decided to do this by sending most of Earth's population to form colonies on distant planets, and splitting the remaining population on Earth into various cultures, all set firmly in a pre-industrial period (and kept that way even more firmly)

Several of the heroes are from the North American cultures, which have mainly been formed into pre-Columbus Native American tribes; and the Master System has a secret back door built in, which requires the use of five (not twelve) rings in a specific pattern in a particular place to activate it.

  • Thank you so very much. I was certain I was going to loose sleep over this one.
    – Pwarky
    Jun 13 '14 at 1:17
  • You're welcome. I actually read the first book again last week, and thoroughly enjoyed it!
    – andrewsi
    Jun 13 '14 at 1:18

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