Matthew Warner has been creating quality, well-written, and thoughtful horror fiction since his acclaimed debut, The Organ Donor, back in 2003. Since then his books have grown in depth and they have gotten a considerable fanbase. But as the years have ensued, Warner seems to have undergone a gradual departure from the horror genre. With his latest novel, Empire of the Goddess, he has written a fantasy/SF story with strong political overtones.

Thomas Dylan is a fairly typical guy, but his entire life is thrown completely awry. First, his son disappears, seemingly into thin air. Then, a year later to the day, he is swept off into another world. A world that bears as many similarities to the one he knew as it does differences.

The new world, or perhaps dimension, he must adapt to is ruled by a Theocracy. Convinced his missing son is there somewhere, Dylan embarks on a quest to not only find his boy, but also to find his way and to follow his conscience in a complicated world that is eerily like the one we all reside in.

Part adventure story, part political polemic, but completely entertaining, Empire of the Goddess is an important book and one that should be read by all concerned individuals in our troubled times. Think vintage Heinlein at his very best. The one in particular it brings to my mind is Sixth Column.

In addition to the way the society depicted in Empire of the Goddess looks like the way America, our America, is heading, Thomas Dylan has many striking parallels to the author himself. This is obviously an important book for Matthew Warner, and I do not believe it is any coincidence that it was released on Independence Day.

Written by Mark Sieber

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