The Traveller (2005) by John Twelve Hawks is the first book of the Fourth Realm trilogy that pulls you deep into the world of non-stop surveillance and living off the Grid.
The series dwells on the concept of constant surveillance by the authorities and the rhetorical question of who monitors the monitor in a dystopian world.
The author goes by the name ‘John Twelve Hawks’ which is predictably not his real name as he lives off the grid! His only contact to our world is his publisher 🙂
The Traveller is definitely one of the most interesting books I have read in the recent times. And I am eager to read the next books in the trilogy as soon as I get my hands on those two. The second installment is called The Dark River and the third book is named The Golden City.
This story has very deep characters like Travellers, Harlequins, Pathfinders, Citizens, Tabula and The Brethen. The Travellers are people who can cross over into other realms of which there are six separated by barriers of Fire, Water, Earth and Sky. And these are the most interesting people in the book as the author compares them to great world-changing preachers and distinguished personalities like Lord Jesus Christ himself.
The Pathfinders can guide the Travellers into other realms if needed. The Harlequins are born to protect the Travellers from harm. And harm is aplenty around… in the form of the Tabula and the Brethen. The Citizens are ordinary people who do not know what is happening around and are not even aware of the existence of sections of people like the Travellers, Harlequins and others. These people are referred to as just drones who go about their daily life mechanically.
The author writes wonderfully close to reality and the mental state of the characters is vividly painted in his words. Though the Brethen are clearly responsible for the destruction of many innocent people and the near extinction of the Travellers and the Harlequins, the author shows how these people think that they are actually doing good to the world.
Currently, the Brethen are trying to capture two of the last known Travellers, two brothers, Michael and Gabriel Corrigan, who themselves are not aware of their gift to travel. A Harlequin, Maya, who is one of the very few Harlequins left in the world, takes on the heavy responsibility of protecting these brothers.
One of the brothers, Michael, is captured by the Brethen and they plan to use him to enter other realms. Another brother is protected by Maya and the story has a cliffhanger ending where the last scene shows Maya recovering from her fight when she saves the second brother from captivity.
The first brother, Michael now works for the other side, so Gabriel is left alone with Maya and they have to figure out how to save the world. Gabriel’s feelings at the betrayal by his much loved brother and the turn of the events is superbly illustrated.
The author is brilliant at depicting the mental state of Maya too. Her insecurities, her innate ability to fight and protect, her instincts, her sorrow for the brutal loss of her father and her nerve of steel when she takes on the villains even when she is outnumbered exponentially are painted in bold strokes and can be easily visualized by the reader .
The way a church is divided in its beliefs and the resulting actions are also cleverly shown. A story with a super villain who is seemingly invincible is always very interesting and keeps you on your toes. The characters seem very real and the story blends very well even though it combines many complicated parts into one.
The Traveller is one of such books which do not allow you to rest for even a second before you finish them. Be prepared to spend the whole night if you pick it up for your next read. A great read and highly recommended!
For the review of the next book in this trilogy, check out The Dark River.
For the review of the last book in this trilogy, check out The Golden City.