The time is roughly the present, and the U.S. is part of the Vast Machine, a society overseen by the Tabula, a secret organization bent on establishing a perfectly controlled populace. Allied against the Tabula are the Travelers and their sword-carrying protectors, the Harlequins. The Travelers, now almost extinct, can project their spirit into other worlds where they receive wisdom to bring back to earth—wisdom that threatens the Tabula's power. Maya, a reluctant Harlequin, finds herself compelled to protect two naïve Travelers, Michael and Gabriel Corrigan. Michael dabbles in shady real estate deals, while Gabriel prefers to live "off the Grid," eschewing any documentation—credit cards, bank accounts—that the Vast Machine could use to track him. Because the Tabula has engineered a way to use the Travelers for its own purposes, Maya must not only keep the brothers alive, but out of the hands of these evil puppet-masters. She succeeds, but she also fails, and therein lies the tale. By the end of this exciting volume, the first in a trilogy, the stage is set for a world-rending clash between good and evil. [Publishers Weekly]
First in a projected trilogy called The Fourth Realm, The Traveler impressed all critics. Twelve Hawks presents big ideas about free will and determinism, good versus evil, social control, and alternate dimensions, all while impressing with knowledge ranging from the New Testament to string theory. Although reviewers compared the novel to the films Kill Bill, Star Wars, and The Matrix—with echoes of authors Dan Brown, Stephen King, George Orwell, and Michael Crichton thrown in—they called it wholly original. Given its complexity, the author (a mysterious entity living "off the Grid" who’s unknown even to his agent and editor) could have fumbled anywhere. But he didn’t, from the sophisticated plot to the compelling heroine. If you’re "happy with the status quo, you’d probably regard the novel as hippie/trippy New Age Nonsense," notes theWashington Post. For everyone else, the "novel’s a stunner."
Labels: book review, John Twelve Hawks, science fiction, The Traveler