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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
Dianis is a Class E planet under the supervision of the Avarian Federation. As such, it is a planet to be studied and reported on but no intervention is allowed. The Matriarch: Dianis, A World in Turmoil by Frank Dravis introduces us to this world inhabited by people who would equate to humans in the Dark Ages. Achelous was the leader of the group of scientists stationed on Dianis studying the people and their history. When the Avarian Federation pulls out of Dianis, Achelous and his IDB team disappear. It appears that Achelous has broken the prime rule of Class E planets and has developed a relationship with a planet inhabitant, Marisa, a successful trader and businesswoman. When it becomes apparent that Dianis contains a rare and vital element needed for the Federation’s ongoing war against the Turboii, namely Aquamarine-5, as well as being the home to a surprising number of strategically important empaths, Dianis assumes immense importance to the Federation and to its leader, the Matriarch. It is vital to the Federation’s interests and their war against the Turboii that Achelous and his IDB team are found and that Dianis and its precious elements are protected from the Turboii. Marisa and her clan are not only threatened by this interstellar menace but also from within by the religious zealots on Dianis, the Paleowrights. The scene is set for a dramatic and climactic battle.
The Matriarch: Dianis, A World in Turmoil is science fiction at its best. Despite this being the second book in a series, author Frank Dravis has gone to some pains to explain who is who and what is what, making this story easily readable as a standalone tale. What I particularly liked was that the science fiction and technology were understandable and easily absorbed by non-technical geeks, such as myself. Ultimately, at its core, this book is about love, about home, about identity and the science fiction aspect is more just to hang the story on. What impressed me the most was the author’s ability to keep so many disparate arcs going at the same time. Despite the constant changes in storyline and POV, I never found myself lost or struggling to discover where exactly we were at any given point. Although there is plenty of action in the story, the fight scenes were one of the highlights, especially the nautical fight, which was both realistic and riveting. I found it easy to identify and empathize with the leading characters and the author’s subtle humor also shone through at times, which made me chuckle even in the tensest of scenes. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and for a sci-fi reader looking for something a little different, this is well worth a look. I note the author left a clear future story hanging out there and I will definitely be looking forward to the sequel with bated breath.