In “Empire” the human race is at war with a matriarchal alien race. A young human is captured by them to see if his race possesses souls. He is subsequently given over to one of it’s warrioresses and subjected to a rigorous and often brutal, training regime. While very well written, Empire has its weak points; some aspects of the plot are standard science fiction fare, and the author falls short by presenting us with an advanced interstellar society that somehow lives on a purely medieval level at home--without ever showing us the ‘tech’ that makes them so powerful. However, the main strength of this book, and what prompted me to give it a good rating, is its excellent depiction of an utterly alien mindset, non-human hive consciousness and the changes in personality that these things would impose on a human being forced to live around them. These aspects impressed me greatly, and I will read on, hoping that the author brings more balance in the ‘tech’ area and therefore creates a more believable universe to support his otherwise excellent work.