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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a trilogy
Excellent read, and throughly recommended. Its a mix of fantasy and sci-fi with interesting view on the way we are controlled by governments and society, almost 1984 style.
Dark River is not as good as The Traveller, but only because it doesn't really stand on its own. In fact, I would only recommend this book to people who have read the first book. I think the...
Published on 18 Jun 2008 by William L. Nessworthy

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the same author?...
Although I liked this and read it in one day, it was hard to believe that the same author wrote this book as the author of 'Traveller'. The writing style was so different. This book just explains stuff not writing in flowless way. I hated the way author described what happened previously as it was not needed, people were waiting to read this after reading traveller and no...
Published on 2 Dec 2007 by PJay


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a trilogy, 18 Jun 2008
By 
William L. Nessworthy "Leigh" (Wickford) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Excellent read, and throughly recommended. Its a mix of fantasy and sci-fi with interesting view on the way we are controlled by governments and society, almost 1984 style.
Dark River is not as good as The Traveller, but only because it doesn't really stand on its own. In fact, I would only recommend this book to people who have read the first book. I think the previous reviewer found this out and preceived there was no story as such, however the Dark River is very much the middle book in the series.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the same author?..., 2 Dec 2007
By 
PJay (London, England) - See all my reviews
Although I liked this and read it in one day, it was hard to believe that the same author wrote this book as the author of 'Traveller'. The writing style was so different. This book just explains stuff not writing in flowless way. I hated the way author described what happened previously as it was not needed, people were waiting to read this after reading traveller and no repeat was needed.The story was good but it did not stay true to the characters, especially Maya leaving the island and the traveller only with nuns and vicki! This isn't true to her character no matter how she loved Gabriel. It had gaps and laps that made questions the way author got on with the story line and it did not happen in the first book. Slightly dissapointed and I suspect that the same person who wrote "Traveller" wrote the "Dark river". Anyway this is just an opinion so have a read and see as it still manages to keep a level of compellingness.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great fun and great imagination., 4 May 2008
If you liked 'Labyrinth' or 'The Da Vinci Code' you'll love this. Its better written than either of those and more imaginative. If you read either book without being able to put them down but ended up full of guilty, grubby self loathing as a result, the readers equivalent of eating MCDonalds just because its there- then you'll find this far more palatable fast food. It's the Pizza Express of fantasy thrillers. It's not weighty literature, but it's an intelligent page turner and that's a wonderful thing. This is the second part of a trilogy, something that can be very irritating for the loyal, but not obsessive reader, you want to read the next installment but you'd prefer not to have to re read part one first to remind yourself of every detail. This skillfully reminded you of everything crucial without cluttering the story with endless re hashes of the first book. You could probably read it on its own but you'll enjoy it more if you do read 'The Traveller' first. It would have got five stars from me as a superior page turner with a satisfyingly believable fantasy element except that I was curious enough to check out the author's website....and lo some marketing whizz kids have seen the opportunity to try and push this into cult status in the most pretentious and irritating way. News items are quoted as evidence of the 'truth' of the book. The author's identity is a closely guarded secret! Chat rooms are full of speculation as to his identity! Who is this mystery man/woman/cyborg? Who knows? Who cares? Its just a nice wee novel guys, get over yourselves! I tell you one thing, he's not British or Irish, the one jarring note in the book is the incredible clumsiness of the author's attempts at contemporary London, English and Irish speech....and he/she/it thinks pelicans are native to Ireland.
But ignore my petty quibbles, this is great fun.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intense!, 19 Aug 2007
By 
Patrick St-Denis "editor of Pat's Fantasy Hot... (Laval, Quebec Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Having loved John Twelve Hawks' The Traveler, I couldn't wait and immediately plunged into the sequel, The Dark River. I went through the second volume of The Fourth Realm trilogy in less than three days, two of them work days. I guess you could say I enjoyed it! Nevertheless, though it's once again an entertaining read, I felt that The Dark River didn't have as much substance as its predecessor.

Indeed, this novel is a more a full fledged techno thriller. It's the sort of book Clive Cussler, Graham Hancock and Dan Brown would come up with, should they ever team up together to write something.

The pace is intense, from start to finish. So much so that I feel that several sequences were a bit rushed. I felt that certain portions should have been more fleshed out, especially the events occurring in Berlin and Ethiopia. In my opinion, John Twelve Hawks could have elaborated a bit more without losing the rhythm he established in The Traveler.

The characterization is an interesting facet of this book. Not only do we learn more about Gabriel, Maya, Michael and other characters from the first volume, but we are introduced to some new faces like Mother Blessing. The author demonstrates how ruthless he can be, and the body count among main characters is impressive.

The storylines comprising The Dark River showed a lot of promise. And yet, the fact that the author speeds through most of them in the narrative doesn't allow him to exploit their potential to the fullest. I'm acutely aware that I don't say this very often, but this book should have been longer.

Regardless of those shortcomings, the reader keeps turning those pages. Short chapters that jump from one POV character to the next create a nice balance between the "good" and the "bad" guys.

It's been pointed out in other reviews: The cliffhanger ending is a bit annoying. Especially since we now have to wait for about two years to discover how it all ends!

Still, The Dark River should satisfy fans of The Traveler and keep them begging for more!

Check out my blog: [...]
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Middle-chapter-itis, 3 Aug 2007
By 
C. Spencer "Cornix" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Most of my thoughts have been shared by other reviewers, but I thought I would add some insight. 'The Dark River' is essentially a solid read that flows well and keeps the pages turning, much like its prequel 'The Traveler'. However, I feel John Twelve Hawks lost a bit of the grip he had on the plot-line in the first installment of the trilogy and failed to progress it much (in fact you might say he took one step forward and two steps backwards).
Some of the plot additions were very left-field and poorly concieved, almost of the point that you might consider the novel to be slightly rushed; for example the Free Running society didn't appear to fit in with the general semantics of the story and was untidy in its research, and the inclusion of the Ark of the Covenant felt more like an afterthought than the major plot device that it should have been. The love story was, on the whole, the sequel's saving grace that allowed it to flow as well as it did - but the impact on the characters could have been developed to a much better depth.
Once again John Twelve Hawks marvels us with his in-depth knowledge of technology and its affects on privacy, and although this only shines through properly in a few areas within the novel, without it the story might as well have been from another series as it seemed to fire out new plot-lines at every available opportunity.
Despite its obvious flaws, this novel is a satisfactory second installment to the Fourth Realm series, but it would not be unwise to say that is does have a case of 'middle-chapter-itis'. However, any fan of The Traveler should definately get their hands on a copy, and although it might not fullfil every expectation, I am certainly looking forwards to the final installment.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but flawed, 25 July 2008
By 
Mrs. H. A. Bates "princess-truffle" (Staffordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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I really enjoyed the first one - The Traveller - and even pressed it onto family and friends and they all loved it too....the ideas ( the off the grid-ness!) was refreshing and unique and also quite believeable too! I think, therefore, that the story should have concluded with the first book and leave it as a stand-alone piece which would have had much more impact. When you start to write sequels the first will always come out on top because it's got the impact and WOW factor that a sequel will ineviatably lack. Also the second one irritated me for some really silly reasons - the first was when Michael was talking to the 'typically English' woman at the meeting and she put cream in her tea! No self-respecting upright English woman would put cream in tea! It's little details like that remind me it's only fiction and I really want to believe!! Silly i know but I really think authors should get these little details right just as much as other aspects of the story. Still a good story though!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Builds to a great climax, 28 July 2008
By 
Sunglasses - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
It took me a while to get into the Dark River as the author treads a little literary water (pardon the pun) in bringing the story back to life after the events in the Traveler. However the second half of the book is every bit as exciting as the first, especially with Maya's trek to find the Ark. Really liked the introduction of the Free Runners as the ultimate society living outside of the Vast Machine. Now I cannot wait for the final book on the trilogy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The difficult second chapter, 3 Aug 2007
By 
P. Swanton "paulswanton3" (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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After reading reviews on here a couple of days ago, there were only two and they were both far from my point of view, so came on today to give a summary of my thoughts. However, C. Green "happily low brow"'s review pretty much sums up everything I was going to say. It starts off great, with a rather brutal and callous massacre scene by the Bretheren, however this is really the high light of the whole book. The whole 'Free Running' side of the story is very naive and incredibly under-researched, the 'love story' aspects of this chapter are also an unwelcome addition. It also feels that some of the ideas of how the Tabula are keeping tabs on the public are a little forced, and Mr Twelve Hawks has just thrown them in there at every oppertunity to make a point. It's a real shame because I loved 'The Traveler', I thought it captured some great modern day theories of paranoia and was nicely mixed with some of the less extra-ordinary ideas from popular Science Fiction. It's unfortunate that it hasn't carried over to this book and I just hope that the trilogy manages to redeem itself in the final chapter and doesn't make an over complicated mess of itself like the movie trilogy of The Matrix.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Poor Second Chapter, 1 Aug 2007
By 
C. Green "happily low brow" (Quenington, Glos, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
I will confess that although I enjoyed The Traveller, John Twelve-Hawks debut novel, I read it when it was originally published in hard back and with the lengthy gap between that and the publication of the second chapter in the series, The Dark River, my memory of it was somewhat hazy.

This left me with a sense of trepidation when approaching The Dark River, as I was concerned that I would have trouble picking up the story and characters after so long. I was also worried that my memory of past enjoyment would prove false or that time would have changed my perspective and that this latest episode would no longer appeal to me.

In the case of my inital concern I need not have worried. A welcome and brief recap of events in the Traveller kick started my memory and meant that I wasn't struggling to recall characters or broader details. In terms of my second fear however, The Dark River was less successful at keeping me entertained and convincing me that this was a series worth following.

Not that it started off badly. Kicking off with a well written and unsettling attack on a peaceful commune in the South Western USA, it grabs the attention and holds it well for the first half of the book as it reintroduces central characters such as Maya the Harlequin, her companions and the forces of the Bretheren that are arrayed against them. The problems come in the latter half, where what I would describe as 'middle-chapteritis' takes hold.

This mostly involves establishing too many separate plot strands and either not handling them well and/or leaving too many to be resolved in the final, yet to be published chapter. Whilst it is understandable that Twelve-hawks would want to set up plot threads to be concluded in part three of the story, by not resolving ANY outstanding developments or issues and establishing a whole bunch of new ones along the way |(some of which are very badly conceived), The Dark River ends up being a very unsatisfactory read. Audiences will accept a few cliff hangers as long as some questions are answered. The Dark River however, answers none and leaves every element of the story hanging in one respect or another, leaving readers frustrated and feeling slightly cheated.

It is a feeling that is compounded by some terrible plotting by the author. The inclusion of an utterly unrealistic Free Running episode half way through the book marks a low point and pushes readers suspension of disbelief to stretching point (it feels like Twelve-hawks is including Free Running simply because its cool & rebellious and has done little in the way of research into the subject. He doesn't even refer to it by its correct, French title of Parkour). A visit to one of the 'Realms' late on also comes across as badly conceived. For a concept that is critical to the central plot of the trilogy, thus far both visits to these parrallel worlds have been less than gripping and this one made worse by the inclusion of a bizarre 'rescue mission' that involves the Ark of the Covenant and comes completely out of left field.

Overall 'The Dark River' is too much of a middle chapter and not enough of a satisfying read on its own terms. Asking too many questions without providing any answersor adding anything to the world the author has created it will leave many frustrated and less inclined to follow the story to its ultimate conclusion. Chapter 3 will have to pull out all the stops in order to recover from this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as strong as the traveller, 1 Aug 2007
By 
G. Paterson (Aberdeen, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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I had high expectations for this book and was looking forward to it as soon as I finished the Traveller.

As with the first novel it's an easy read and a page turner but I feel it offers nothing new. The main characters have developed and their flaws are plain to see especially as some decisions that are made have a real impact on others lives.

But on the whole it offers very little regarding the other realms and the Brethren feels like a clichéd view of a large corporation that we've all seen in other near future novels.

I also had the impression that things get a bit rushed towards the end of the book and a couple of striking revelations are merely touched on briefly, almost with an arrogant nonchalance.

This is the middle book of the trilogy and as such I think that it suffers from not wanting to move too quickly while continuing the development of the characters we met in the first book and setting the scene for the last book.
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The Dark River by John Twelve Hawks (Paperback - 2008)
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