|Off Armageddon Reef|
|Illustrator||Ellisa Mitchell (maps)|
|Published by||Tor Books|
| Preceded by|| Followed by|
By Schism Rent Asunder
The 25th Century: the Terran Federation finds itself at war with a genocidal alien race known as the Gbaba, and after a long war, it becomes obvious that humans are losing. In order to preserve the species, several colonization expeditions are sent out to other stars, but all are tracked down and purged by the Gbaba. Finally, a colony fleet manages to sneak away via trickery. The passengers of the colony ships spend decades in hyperspace in cryogenic sleep, and then arrive at a planet thousands of light years away from and slightly smaller than Earth, which they colonize and name "Safehold".
The original plan for this society was to wait for the immediate danger to pass, rebuild the technological base from records and artifacts left behind, and prepare a force large enough to defeat the Gbaba. However, the mission command is split into two groups. The first one is led by a Machiavellian administrator named Eric Langhorne, who believes that unless the humans in hiding on Safehold are permanently restricted to a Medieval level of technology, they will be eventually detected and destroyed by the Gbaba. During the trip to Safehold, the group alters the colonists' memories so they believe upon awakening they are the first humans and that they were created by a god. The radical leaders create a new religious institution called the Church of God Awaiting, which proscribes advanced technology and effectively deifies the members of mission command (they are hereafter called angels and are led by the "Archangel Langhorne").
The second group, under the administrator Pei Shan-wei, wishes to preserve advanced technology and concepts, but not to use such knowledge until humanity is ready. In this way, the knowledge would be preserved and available for future generations. Once the human population had recovered, they could gradually ramp up the technology until they were capable of defeating the Gbaba. To this end, the second group establishes a city named Alexandria to house its members and technological information.
The two groups break into open warfare, and Langhorne has the Alexandria Enclave and all its inhabitants (including Shan-Wei, who is made into the Safeholdian version of Lucifer by the Church), destroyed by orbital bombardment. The city ruins and the surrounding land mass are sunk beneath the ocean, creating what the now-superstitious colonists call Armageddon Reef. In a counter-attack, Shan-wei's supporters manage to eliminate most of, if not all of, Langhorne's inner circle, including Langhorne himself. Shan-wei's group also managed to hide a PICA with the personality and memories of Nimue Alban, a dead female Federation Navy officer, deep within a secret mountain base, along with technology, an electronic library and a room full of weapons. When Nimue awakes some 800 years later, the situation is explained to her by a recording created by Pei Kau-yung, Shan-Wei's husband, and she is offered the mission of reversing the plans of the radicals and helping prepare mankind for the inevitable re-encounter with the Gbaba on more favorable terms.
Nimue accepts the mission and uses mobile spy technology to examine the world. However, it becomes clear that as an apparent woman, her influence would be less than it should be. She therefore changes into an apparent male and takes the name of Merlin Athrawes before travelling to the Kingdom of Charis which is a relatively advanced region of Safehold with a somewhat free-thinking approach to religion. Merlin gains the trust of King Haarahld VII of Charis by interfering in an assassination attempt on Haarahld's son, Crown Prince Cayleb, and is made Cayleb's personal guardian and a de-facto adviser to the king. He begins to introduce technology that, while not technically proscribed by the Safeholdian Bible, is advanced: while most of Safehold is at a 14th century level of technology, Merlin introduces better sailing vessels, improved gunpowder, and greatly improved seaborne cannons, very equivalent to 18th century Europe. Events come to a head when the Church organizes an attack on Charis by most of its neighbors. Largely due to the technology introduced by Merlin, the combined attacking fleets of galleys are annihilated by the small Charis fleet of heavily-armed galleons, although King Haarahld is killed in the final battle.
With Cayleb as the new monarch, his father's funeral is held in the capital city of Tellesberg, while more conflict already looms on the horizon, as Charis's clerics seriously consider secession from the Church, and a new age of international tension and naval warfare on Safehold begins.
Publishing data Edit
Edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Book design by Ellen Cipriano
Maps by Ellisa Mitchell
Zherald Ahdymsyn • Zherohm Ahlbair • Faidel Ahlverez • Ahryn Ahrmahk • Cayleb Ahrmahk • Haarahld VII Ahrmahk • Kahlvyn Ahrmahk • Kahlvyn Cayleb Ahrmahk • Rayjhis Ahrmahk • Zhan Ahrmahk • Zhanayt Ahrmahk • Zhenyfyr Ahrmahk • Phylyp Ahzgood • Nimue Alban • Hektor Aplyn • Merlin Athrawes • Bardulf Aymez • Zheevys Bahltyn • Borys Bahrmyn • Tohmys Bahrmyn • Rahnyld IV Bahrns • Felayz Baytz • Mahrya Baytz • Nahrmahn II Baytz • Nahrmahn Gareyt Baytz • Ohlyvya Baytz • Trahvys Baytz • Adorée Bédard • Rozhyr Blaidyn • Khanair Bowsham • Robyrt Bradlai • Fraidareck Breygart • Hauwerd Breygart • Mahtaio Broun • Ellys Braunyng • Brekyn Byrk • Zhasyn Cahnyr • Mailvyn Chalmyr • Karlos Chalmyrz • Marik Charlz • Kynt Clareyk • Zhaspyr Clyntahn • Lewk Cohlmyn • Samyl Cahkrayn • Gahlvyn Daikyn • Hektor Daykyn • Domnek • Zhak Dragoner • Rhobair Duchairn • Fronz Dymytree • Adorai Dynnys • Erayk Dynnys • Erek XVII • Hayrys Ekyrd • Luhys Fahrmahn • Payter Faircaster • Father Michael • Ahrnahld Falkhan • Mateus Fofão • Raimahnd Fuhllyr • Rafayl Furkhal • Charlz Gahrdaner • Lywys Gardynyr • Tymahn Greenhill • Bahrnai Guyshain • Andrai Gyrard • Wyllys Graisyn • Gorj Haarpar • Ohwyn Hotchkys • Pawal Hahlmahn • Franz Halversen • Yahncee Haskyn • Matthew Paul Harrison • Robert Harrison • Sarah Harrison • Timothy Harrison • Ahlbyrt Harys • Zhorzh Hauwyrd • Gabriela Henderson • Ehdwyrd Howsmyn • Klemynt Huntyr • Ahlfryd Hyndryk • Zohzef Hyrst • Jason • Tsen Jwo-jeng • Zhilbert Kaillee • Payt Khattyr • Lynail Kohrby • Kuznetzov • Braidee Lahang • Eric Langhorne • Zhim Layn • Bryahn Lock Island • Ernyst Lynkyn • Mahrak Mahgentee • Rahzhyr Mahklyn • Rholynd Mahlry • Tahdayo Mahntayl • Rahnald Mahrak • Gahvyn Mahrtyn • Allayn Magwair • Qwentyn Maikel • Leeahm Maikelsyn • Nevyl Mairydyth • Zhames Makferzahn • Zhoshua Makgregair • Gwylym Manthyr • Adym Marshyl • Zhaikeb Mathysyn • Dunkyn Maylyr • Zhaspahr Maysahn • Fraizher Maythis • Oskahr Mhulvayn • Michael • Raiyan Mychail • Urvyn Myllyr • Kehvyn Myrgyn • Kohdy Nylz • Gorjah III Nyou • Sygmahn Oarmaster • Trahvys Ohlsyn • Ahnyet Olyvyr • Dustyn Olyvyr • Owl • Pei Kau-yung • Pei Kau-zhi • Pei Shan-wei • Ahnzhelyk Phonda • Elias Proctor • Donyrt Qwentyn • Gharth Rahlstahn • Erayk Rahlstyn • Bynzhamyn Raice • Wyllym Rayno • Ahdam Ropewalk • Horahs Rowyn • Edymynd Rustmyn • Bynzhamyn Sahdlyr • Mahrak Sandyrs • Rhyzhard Seafarmer • Wahltayr Seatown • Hahl Shandyr • Symyn Shumakyr • Zhan Smolth • Martin Somerset • Maikel Staynair • Domynyk Staynair • Greyghor Stohnar • Dahryl Stywyrt • Tohmas Symmyns • Gervays Tallmyn • Sharleyan Tayt • Joseph Thiessen • Frahnklyn Tohmys • Henrai Tillyer • Zahmsyn Trynair • Dynzyl Tryvythyn • Lyam Tyrn • Zherohm Vyncyt • Styvyn Whaite • Marhys Wyllyms • Paityr Wylsynn • Kynyth Wynstyn • Ehrnaist Yowance • Rayjhis Yowance • Halmyn Zahmsyn • Frahnk Zhansan • Nyklas Zheppsyn • Lachlyn Zhessyp • Phylyp Zhoelsyn
HMS Dagger • HMS Damsel • HMS Daring • Dawn • HMS Defense • HMS Destroyer • HMS Devastation • HMS Dreadful • HMS Dreadnought • Foam • Fraynceen • HMS Gale • TFNS Gulliver • Halberd • HMS Halberd • TFNS Hamilcar • HMS Intrepid • King Gorjah II • HMS King Rahnyld • HMS Maelstrom • HMS Royal Charis • Sea Cloud • HMS Sword of Tirian • HMS Summer Moon • HMS Tellesberg • HMS Thunderbolt • HMS Torrent • HMS Traveler • HMS Typhoon • Wave Daughter • HMS Wyvern
Adjutant General • Archangel • Anshinritsumei • baseball • Barony of Black Wyvern • cat-lizard • Charisian Merchant Marine • Archbishopric of Chiang-wu • choke tree • Church of God Awaiting • dragon • Ecclesiastical Court • fleming moss • galleon • galley • hypercom • The Insights • kercheef • King's Bench • kraken • mark • PICA • Privy Council Chamber • recon drone • schooner • semaphore • SNARC • spyglass • steel thistle • whiskey • wire vine • wyvernry
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