The Traveler
John Twelve Hawks
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The Traveler
John Twelve Hawks
496 pages
July 2006
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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The Traveler blends the supernatural with a world awash in surveillance, where every move is tracked by an insidious government. Among the factions resisting such a system of dominance are the Travelers, who can move from one reality to another, although few remain after years of struggle. Another group, the Harlequins, have pledged to protect the Travelers at any cost, rigorously trained in martial arts and subterfuge.

Those seeking to destroy both the Harlequins and the Travelers are the Tabula, or the Brethren, a group that fosters a new world order and control of all human behavior through a model of containment, the Panopticon. Maya is a Harlequin ordered by her father to protect the Corrigan brothers, Michael and Gabriel, who live in California and are currently in grave danger from the Brethren.

No sooner does Maya leave her father's secret location than he is savagely murdered, leaving only Maya left to protect the Corrigans, complicated by the fact that the brothers have not yet realized that they are Travelers. Michael and Gabriel consider their early lives, constantly on the road, as merely eccentric. Like it or not, Maya is charged with the sense of mission dictated by the Harlequin mentality: "no attachments, no compassion, no mercy."

“People can only be passive victims or consumers of goods.” This concept informs the Brethren's control of a society that desires safety above all a mandate: freedom from terror. The battle is engaged, good versus evil. Like any great adventure, there are conflicted, very human protagonists - Maya following her destiny, isolated by her warrior skills; Gabriel a potential hero, on the difficult road to the identity of a Traveler, his brother in the hands of the Brethren.

The enemy is ruthless and determined, prepared to annihilate anyone who disturbs their plan. More marginal but still-important characters are Hollis and Vickie, foot-soldiers who believe in the cause. The Tabula, or Brethren, remain bound to their agenda, hoping to harness the power of the Travelers for their own ends, like the race to space, but of a more spiritual nature.

Well-written and fast-paced, this is an energetic tale that captures the imagination with believers poised on each side of the philosophical divide. Like a chess game the pieces are in position, but it is clear that the struggle for dominance will continue and the factions will clash again, each victory temporary in a fight to the death.

This is great summer reading with broad appeal, the spirit of the underdog fearlessly facing superior forces. Expect a sequel with more challenges for these embattled warriors, as well as an impasse for the Corrigan brothers, one on either side of the struggle. With ample fantasy, fiction and enough truth for the ring of authenticity, The Traveler is only beginning, an adventure with many more stories to tell...

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Luan Gaines, 2005

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