Summary and book reviews of The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks

The Traveler

The First Novel of the Fourth Realm Trilogy

By John Twelve Hawks

The Traveler
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  • Hardcover: Jun 2005,
    464 pages.
    Paperback: Jul 2006,
    464 pages.

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Book Summary

A world that exists in the shadows of our own.

A conflict we will never see.

One woman stands between those determined to control history and those who will risk their lives for freedom.

Maya is hiding in plain sight in London. The twenty-six-year-old 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. Travelers are able to attain pure enlightenment, and have for centuries ushered change into the world. 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 surveillance 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 Travelers for generations. This group is determined to inflict order on the world by controlling it, and they view Travelers as an intolerable threat. 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.

Moving from the back alleys of Prague to the heart of Los Angeles, from the high deserts of Arizona to a guarded research facility in New York, The Traveler explores a parallel world that exists alongside our own. John Twelve Hawks' stunningly suspenseful debut is an international publishing sensation that marks the arrival of a major new talent.

PRELUDE

Maya reached out and took her father's hand as they walked from the Underground to the light. Thorn didn't push her away or tell Maya to concentrate on the position of her body. Smiling, he guided her up a narrow staircase to a long, sloping tunnel with white tile walls. The Underground authority had installed steel bars on one side of the tunnel and this barrier made the ordinary passageway look like part of an enormous prison. If she had been traveling alone, Maya might have felt trapped and uncomfortable, but there was nothing to worry about because Father was with her.

It's the perfect day, she thought. Well, maybe it was the second most perfect day. She still remembered two years ago when Father had missed her birthday and Christmas only to show up on Boxing Day with a taxi full of presents for Maya and her mother. That morning was...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. Maya has been trained since childhood to be a Harlequin, yet she chooses to live a normal life. What aspects of her upbringing play the largest part in her decision? In what ways does her relationship with Thorn exemplify the conflicts any daughter might have with a strong, distant father?

  2. Are Thorn’s demands on Maya justified? Under what circumstances, if any, do children have a responsibility to renounce their own way of life and dedicate themselves to their parent’s cause? Why does Maya ultimately decide to honor her father’s request?

  3. Discuss the meaning and ramifications of the Harlequin motto, "Damned by the flesh. Saved by the blood" [p. 22/mm 23*]. What familiar moral percepts ...
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Reviews

Media Reviews
Razor

In his breathtaking debut novel (think The Matrix meets 1984), Twelve Hawks offers a thrilling, wholly original take on the suspicion we all feel, at least a little, that our lives are being manipulated by powers we cannot even imagine. After this book, already being turned into a feature film, it's hard to imagine Twelve Hawks will ever be anonymous again.

Newsday

Picture The Matrix crossed with William Gibson and you'll have a sense of the The Traveler...The writing is compelling, and my main complaint is that the book feels unfinished--because the story will continue in two more volumes. I can't wait to read them.

Kirkus Reviews

As if Carlos Castaneda and Robert Ludlum had collaborated for a surefire bestseller.

Booklist

Starred Review. The pace is fast, the characters intriguing and memorable, the evil dark and palpable, and the genre-bending between fantasy and thriller seamless.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. 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.

Reader Reviews
Mr. dave

average
This book has great potential, but stumbles and falls short.

Yeremenko

Cliches cliches and more cliches
This is an awful book. The characters are all sad stereotypes and it is so predictable. Some of the plot holes are massive. One of the great untouchable Harlequins who stayed off the grid his entire life has his security cam in the open and connected...   Read More

Gregory

Skip It
I read the first couple chapters of this book and I had to put it down. I couldn't understand how a book like this is published. It didn't hook me or have any stickiness. I read it a while ago but all I remember is thinking "this book and the ...   Read More

Dreamer

Makes you think
Although this book may not use the best prose in the world, what is presented makes you think, as opposed to how it is presented. The concept of the Grid is worringly realistic, and not necessarily 'fiction.' It is rare that I find a book I cannot ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Who is John Twelve Hawks? According to his editor at Doubleday, Jason Kaufman (who also edited The Da Vinci Code), nobody knows - not even Kaufman. Twelve Hawks claims to live 'off the grid' - meaning that he lives in such a way that the government can't track him - no credit cards, no driver's license and nothing that would allow the government to invade his privacy.

Kaufman says 'we talk quite frequently [by phone], and I believe he always speaks with a satellite phone ... and a satellite ...

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