Over the years Rajasinghe - himself the bearer of a royal name, and doubtless host to many regal genes - had often thought of those words; they demonstrated so perfectly the ephemeral nature of power, and the futility of ambition. "I am the King." Ah, but which King? The monarch who had stood on these granite flagstones - scarcely worn them, eighteen hundred years ago - was probably an able and intelligent man; but he failed to conceive that the time could ever come when he would fade into an anonymity as deep as that of his humblest servants.
Arthur C. Clarke, The Fountains of Paradise (1979)