Still trying to find the name and author of a SciFi book I read in the 1980's


New Member
May 24, 2014
I will give as much detail as I can remember. I first read the book in 1980 (approx date).

The book starts on Earth with a powerful ruling class that is like a worldwide 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 they don't know that their cryo units are designed to kill them and only the first priest will be revived. All goes well until it is discovered that the Sun is going to expand and swallow the Earth (or some other reason to leave the planet). They make plans to leave by sending out interplanetary probes and designing 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 poor "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 water and food system is damaged. One of the slave mechanics investigates and finds the sleeping masters; and also discovers the fate in store for them. The crew decides they will save themselves by eating the frozen masters until they arrive at the planet.

The ship lands on the planet and the crew prepares a final ship's meal. The last cryo-chamber to be opened is very ornate and old. It is actually the first high priest frozen many years ago. He is accidentally awakened as his chamber is opened. He expects that he will be worshiped and soon will watch "hot knives plunged into quivering 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. This is where the book ends.