Tuesday, June 27, 2006
The Traveler - John Twelve Hawks [June/06]
I found this book looked interesting back when it came out in hardcover, so when I saw it out in mass-market, I had to see what it was all about. The first book in the 'Fourth Realm' trilogy, the back of the book states:
Maya is hiding in plain sight in London. She has abandoned the dangerous obligations pressed upon her by her father, and chosen instead to live a normal life. But Maya comes from a long line of people who call themselves Harlequins - a fierce group of warriors willing to sacrifice their lives to protect a select few known as Travelers.
Gabriel and Michael Corrigan are brothers living in Los Angeles. Since childhood, the young men have been shaped by stories that their late father was a Traveler, one of a small band of prophets who have vastly influenced the course of history. Gabriel and Michael, who may have inherited their father's gifts, have always protected themselves by living "off the Grid" - that is, invisible to the real-life sureveillance networks that monitor people in our modern society.
Summoned by her ailing father, Maya is told of the existence of the brothers. The Corrigans are in severe danger, stalked by powerful men known as the Tabula - ruthless mercenaries who have hunted Travlers for generations. As Maya races to California to protect the brothers, she is reluctantly pulled back into the cold and solitary Harlequin existence. A colossal battle looms - one that will reveal not only the identities of Gabriel and Michael Corrigan but also a secret history of our time.
The Traveler is not something radically new, but not really like anything I have ever read before. It has a futuristic feel to it, but it can just as easily be taking place in modern times because the general set-up for the novel is something you can recognize of the modern world. The only thing that was slightly less appealing about this book was that it questions religion, but not in a bad way, just in a way that fits with the feel of the novel. They believe that Jesus and many other important historical figures were travelers, available to move to other realms and bring back information. Thus making them prophets, but essentially not much different than regular people. It is not a bad thing for me, but other people may not be as receptive to this change on the modern story.
The most alluring part of this book is the idea of Big Brother always watching you. In the novel, the government and one of its major corporations are on a mission to make the world a non-private one. They want to be able to know what every person in the world is doing at every moment, and some people find themselves having to try to beat the system. Cash is the only non-traceable form of currency, cameras are watching you in the majority of public places, the world is on a path to being totally impossible to be invisible in. The Harlequins have been trained to beat the system, but they are slowly dying out, soon there will not be even enough of them to make any difference, to fight the system. The travelers have slowly died out as well, with only the two possible brothers: the Corrigans, left to bring hope to the fading group.
The reason I liked this book, though, is because while it has fantastical elements to it, the under-lying story is one that you can relate to and understand. The private sector is slowly being erradicated as new technologies evolve, and down the road, it might not be impossible to be totally known to the government.