In the not-too-distant future, the U.S. is part of a Vast Machine, a secret society governed by the dissent-controlling Tabula. Los Angeles-based Michael Corrigan and his brother Gabriel, who live "off the Grid," are among the few remaining Travelers, a once-powerful secret society of visionaries who journey to parallel worlds in search of enlightenment. The Travelers use their knowledge to challenge the Tabula who, aided by powerful computers and public cameras, have singled out the remaining members for assassination. Only the Harlequins, a race of warriors whose sacred mission is protect the Travelers, can save them. And it’s up to the less-than-enthusiastic Harlequin Maya to keep the brothers alive.
Doubleday. 464 pages. $24.95. ISBN: 038551428X
"First, let’s celebrate the novel, which in a just universe would outsell the infinitely more nonsensical The Da Vinci Code 20-1. … The Traveler jumps genres the way the Travelers themselves jump dimensions; it can read like a straight adventure-thriller, a sci-fi fantasy, a political diatribe, a philosopher’s Cliffs Notes." Phil Kloer
NY Times Book Review
"[F]or all of the futuristic details that help shape the story, what holds it together is good old-fashioned utopian sunshine. … But if The Traveler is the author’s soapbox, it is also an invigorating parable, with a cliffhanger ending that cries out for future installments." Janet Maslin
"What is remarkable about The Traveler is how well Mr. Twelve Hawks has transmuted this sociopolitical piffle into a highly effective thriller. … The obvious comparison is with the Matrix films, but author Twelve Hawks provides much more detailed—and even somewhat plausible—background for his tale." Frank Wilson
"Let me admit I was skeptical, but now I’m hooked. … Twelve Hawks has a gift for creating whole atmospheres, from the high-tech to the primitive to the otherworldly—a church filled with believers, a commune filled with gentle souls who protect their own, an operating room where dangerous experiments are underway, and the mystic realm that Travelers must explore in search of wisdom." Susan Larson
"This technothriller offers chilling scenarios about the future of privacy. ... The final third feels thin, but you won’t want to put the book down."
Lisa Kay Greissinger
"The Traveler is without doubt a most readable mix of science fiction and political jeremiad, one that imagines an international conspiracy to destroy individual privacy and freedom in the name of social order. … How you respond to all this will depend in large part on whether you are sympathetic to the author’s fears of powerful forces that want to stifle individual freedom in the name of order." Patrick Anderson
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 the Washington Post. For everyone else, the "novel’s a stunner" (People).