The Traveller (The Fourth Realm Trilogy) Paperback – 1 Mar 2006
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Sometimes--not very often--a debut novel comes along which marks out a new writer as a consummate craftsman, seemingly fully formed with that first book. The Traveller is such a book; the mysterious John Twelve Hawks is such a writer (his publishers give no information about him, except that he lives off the grid).
The first thing that strikes the reader about this unusual novel is its ambitious panoply, which is as exuberantly international as one could wish, moving through a vividly realised Prague, London and Los Angeles. His characters are disparate but characterised with great individuality, such as the brothers Gabriel and Michael Corrigan, who have been brought up in Los Angeles under the mesmerising spell of their fey father; he appears to possess certain unnatural powers. After he dies a violent death, the brothers vanish off the grid of society, living in a clandestine underworld. Meanwhile, in London, Maya is a self-possessed young woman whose everyday life conceals a strange secret: she is the last of a dynasty whose responsibility is to protect those in the human race who are differently gifted. She is called to Prague by her sick father, and learns about Gabriel and Michael, whose lives are now in serious danger. In California, a desperate race against time begins: who will track down the brothers first--the protective Maya or the murderous Boone?
Readers tired of the parochial thriller that has held sway in Britain for so long will embrace this intoxicating (if outrageously unlikely) novel with open arms. True, a certain suspension of disbelief is required, but Twelve Hawks is the kind of writer who is able to persuade even the most sceptical among us. A remarkable debut.
--Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"'The pace is fast, the characters intriguing and memorable, the evil dark and palpable, and the genre-bending between fantasty and thriller seamless...He could be a force to reckon with'" (Kirkus Reviews)
"'Twelve Hawks' much anticipated novel is powerful, mainstream fiction built on a foundation of cutting-edge technology laced with fantasy and the chilling specter of an all-too-possible social and political reality'" (Publishers Weekly)
"The book they say is the new Da Vinci Code. Take some Orwellian undertones, add a dash of Philip Pullman and sprinkle with a few lines of Dan Brown" (Metro)
"Compelling...Picture The Matrix crossed with William Gibson and you'll have a sense of The Traveller" (Newsday)
"A cyber 1984...Page-turningly swift, with a cliffhanger ending" (New York Times)
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Top Customer Reviews
A great book that should be read by any TRUE fan of sci fi and fantasy.
I thought the Harlequins/Travellers/Tabula subculture around which the plot revolves was an interesting setup - and one with potentially more legs than The Matrix, which floundered badly after the initial set-up of the first film. I'm intrigued to know where the story is going to go in the promised 2nd and 3rd parts of the trilogy, so in that sense the story is a success.
However this was painful to read at times. The prose is very clunky in places, and I agree with some other reviewers who have criticised the rather inept manner in which action was transposed in a very unexciting way (unless that was an attempt to indicate the unemotional attitude of the Harlequins...).
One stylistic device that did interest me was the use of multiple perspectives. The authorial voice shifted between chapters, so that for example in one chapter the reader shares Maya's thoughts as she struggles with the idea of being a Harlequin, and in the next she is seen from Gabriel or Vicky's point of view, referred to only as 'The Harlequin' and appearing cold and detached. This is something that could have added a great deal to the characterisation, but unfortunately seemed to fade out as the plot kicked in so didn't really add anything by the end of the book.
If you can get past the stylistic problems the story is genuinely thought-provoking, albeit somewhat derivative.Read more ›
At the start of the book we are introduced to a Harlequin who has not yet crossed the line (read the book to work this bit out) and thus has been left alive by the Tabula. Unfortunately a call by a relative (also a Harlequin) leads the harlequin into active attention from the Tabula pushing her across the line and onto a quest to find and save some possible potential travellers. The Tabula, due to new plans, want a live traveller and the end of the harlequins at all costs. This puts the head mercenary onto the job and we are involved in the trials and tribulations which result.
This book is apparently Book One of the Fourth Realm. The great thing about this book is based on surveillance systems already in place or close to being implemented in western countries. For a first book it is ambitious and very much in-depth. I look forward to the next one.
The core message of the book - if you cut through all the SF trimmings - is that we are all subject to intense and intrusive survaillance for what may well be no good reason - and that this is driven by a culture of fear instilled into the public by their respective governments. I can't disagree with that because it's clearly true (speaking as someone who works specifically in the field I feel fairly well qualified to make such a bold statement...)
It's a good first volume in what will I hope be an equally interesting quartet of books, and could make a nice counterpoint for someone studying Orwells 1984 as part of their English curriculum. Where Orwell prophesised a monitoring state, the author here demonstrates that we have all that he promised and much more - since we simply don't recognise the fact and are as a result even more powerless to rebel.
As for the "Da Vinci code" references - well that's just plain silly - the "DVC" was an okay book, but it doesn't live up to the hype for the most part. This is better written and more innovative in its content - though i will agree that the splicers element is a little overplayed - once was good, twice was okay, but using them three times was a mistake...
Dan Brown tried to go into this territory with Deception Point and especially with Digital Fortress - which are better comparisons - and he did okay, but this is way better than those.
Read it - you might be pleasantly surprised, and you'll certainly never look at CCTV or your store loyalty cards in the same way again. That would be a good thing....
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had this cook recommended to me a few years back. I could only get paperback versions at that time, but I enjoyed it so much that when the opportunity to get the digital version... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Rickrick
Bought all three books in this 'Fourth Realm Trilogy' and have recommended it to friends and family. A great read... This is the first book in the trilogy... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mizlark
Good read, very enjoyable, marred only by the appalling proof reading errors dotted though out the Kindle edition.Published 6 months ago by John Cornwell
As a first book of 3 it is a very good read lets see where it go's from heir.Published 12 months ago by Paul Keeble
Seriously good depiction of modern society with gripping language and mesmerising plot.
Anyone who cares of what happens to the world should read this book.