“Sometimes the dreams that come true are the dreams you never even knew you had.” – Alice Sebold

Author Richard Dawes’ new book ‘Doomed Empire’ is a potent story of bravery and destiny set in the civilization and empire of Atlantis. The center of the action is Caiphul, the most powerful kingdom within the Atlantean Empire. The ruler of Caiphul, King Darius, is cruel and greedy, and harbors dreams of ruling over the whole empire. Supporting him in his efforts are his two sons, the obedient and loyal elder son, Prince Atalan, who lacks the intelligence and drive necessary to achieve greatness, and the brilliant and gifted younger son, Prince Astraeus, whose ambitions for world domination rival those of his father. The young Prince Astraeus is influenced by both evil and good forces, but eventually it is the good that wins out and puts him on track to achieve his true destiny.

Inspired by the philosophical material left behind by Socrates and Plato, the story includes a variety of topics. Not only does the novel discuss concepts such as the creation of the universe, the purpose of life, birth and death, true power and governance, etc. It also draws a parallel between the Atlantean world and the modern world. It highlights such negative aspects as selfishness and arrogance that are common to both. Although it isn’t explicitly stated, one can feel that the book tries to be a harbinger, warning us that if we don’t mend our ways, our fate will not be any different!

‘Doomed Empire’ is an epic drama. Love, loyalty, betrayal, loneliness, spirituality, vengeance and violence are all interwoven into a bold and exciting narrative. The Atlantean civilization was said to be very advanced, possessing many inventions and technologies that have since become a part of our everyday modern lives. The story acknowledges this by including atomic weapons, aircrafts and other engineering feats as part of the narrative.

There is wonderful writing in the following scenes: when Darius feels ingratitude from his sons; Astraeus' resentment and anger, and the scenes depicting his self-realization; Princess Asparis’ unconditional love for Astraeus; and Atalan’s feeling of wretchedness and self-pity.

The narrative is a frank depiction of life, and presents the dark depths to which human nature can sink in pursuit of false power and prestige. The novel, through the portrayal of Darius’ unbridled greed and narcissistic pursuit of advancement provides what I believe to be a reflection of the conditions of the modern world. It highlights events that may lead to humankind's ultimate downfall - like the single minded pursuit of materialism while ignoring higher truths, and manipulating the environment for short term goals that are ultimately self-destructive. There are many eerie similarities between the powers that ruled the kingdoms of Atlantis and the powers that rule our present day culture.

The material in 'Doomed Empire' should inspire the reader to take a closer look at his or her life. The author has transformed ancient esoteric knowledge into an accessible form that should lead, if used well, to better self-awareness, thought, and consciousness.

‘Doomed Empire’ has a dark feel to it right up to the end. The end itself can be interpreted as a tragedy. But anyone reading the story with an open mind and an interest in lost civilizations should find this novel highly interesting.

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