Yggdrasil is coming to the end of its planned two hundred year lifespan. Instead of just going back to the land like the founders wanted the inhabitants are taking a different approach. Abandoning the Project they opt for implementing the Transformation. So what is the Transformation? Its basically they plan to enslave the natives on the land to work to mine and produce the necessary materials to keep Yggdrasil going indefinitely. Asa who is the Master of Norriya is one of the last in power to still believe in the Project. Yet he is old and has frequent delusions of talking to his dead wife. He eventually goes to the northern island of Jotunheim where the scholars still go on looking for the solution.
It may be too late thought for implementing the Transformation. Things are falling apart real quick. Many of the inhabitants who don’t like the new order become rens and hide out in underground passages where they are hunted down by the security forces. A message comes from an unknown civilization called Juhara. They offer their help in exchange for Yggdrasil becoming part of their empire. They arrive in a huge advanced ship and the Yggdrasillians are sufficiently in awe to agree. But it is an illusion as the Juharians are themselves falling apart. They soon start an oppressive rule in enslaving the natives. When they try to exterminate the Gerumbians a tribe of mutants this opens up a serious revolt that stretches their resources. It all ends in a big nuclear explosion courtesy of the old ones.
The final book in the Erthring trilogy. So in this one anything that can go wrong does. It seems to be just one big disaster after another. The Juharians are an arrogant lot. They believe in power at any price and are so confident that they will control the entire world and start colonizing space in a few years. It is obviously the author puts two complete opposing philosophies in conflict with each other. In the end both are failures. It is sad to see the scholars who continue to go on while being ignored in their belief they are going to find this magical solution to keep humans from being self destructive. In fact the tribes outside the Erthring seem to be doing fine without their help. Teperman and his friends that started Yggdrasil in my opinion come off as the ultimate narcissists in the project they started two hundred years ago. The little games of solving riddles to open doors. The third door is opened and there is only music. What kind of asshole withholds music. Oh and the last door was never to be opened because it had raw absolute power behind it. It was put their to settle an argument Teperman had with his colleagues. Teperman believed that people could avoid the temptation of power while some of his friends didn’t. Well opening the door sets off the nuclear explosion that destroys the islands. Yep a real asshole.
The author wrote a fascinating trilogy. He made his points without being preachy and seemed to admit that the problems at the time had no easy solutions. A high school teacher he was not a very prolific writer. Besides this trilogy he wrote a handful of other non-science fiction books and did some movie adaptations of such gems as Corvette Summer, batteries not included and Dragonslayer. He died in 1998. I would have liked to have seen him try some more science fiction but I will just have to settle for this series.