The Dark River
Gabriel Corrigan is a Traveler who avoids the "Vast Machine" - the all seeing-all knowing established order who can peer into our lives by following all our electronic transactions, viewing us through video cameras in parks, gas stations, shopping plazas, or almost anywhere else someone in an advance culture lives. Our plastic cards - credit, debit, gift cards, or others can all have RFID chips to follow us anywhere. Gabriel lives off the grid - with as little electronic record of himself as possible floating out there.
Maya is his Harlequin protector. She has to be a killer and suspicious of everyone. Her sole job is to protect Gabriel. She can't allow herself to get close to him or anyone else. Her father, Thorn, also a Harlequin, had taught her that harsh lesson from the time she was small.
Michael Corrigan, Gabriel's brother, is also a Traveler, has opposed Gabriel and has joined the Tabula. The Tabula is committed to creating a Virtual Panopticon - a prison system powerful enough that everyone in the world is tracked at all times - the ultimate Vast Machine. Now Michael has gained power within the Tabula.
Both brothers have a special gift bequeathed by their father, Matthew. Their father had disappeared fifteen years earlier. They have only recently learned their inheritance. They are all Travelers; they are humans who can cross into other realms or alternate universes. Until Matthew, the Travelers and the Harlequins had fought against the overpower establishment for thousands of years. Travelers are the greatest threat to the Tabula.
At the beginning of The Dark River, Michael and Gabriel both learn that their father is still alive hiding out somewhere. Each is determined to find him: each for their own purposes. Gabriel wants Matthew's wisdom in fighting the Vast Machine. Michael has his own agenda.
John Twelve Hawks created a compelling, frightening tale in the first book of the Fourth Realm trilogy, The Traveler. Now, in The Dark River, he deepens the world he has created. It is more chilling and realistic than before. It is a continuation and leaves the whole story open for the final book. Expect frustration, not completion, at the end of this book.
The one alternate reality featured in this novel is bleak and hopeless. That same bleakness is spreading throughout the civilized world. It is almost impossible to travel anywhere without being tracked. Small virus programs are easily sent to personal computers programmed with key words to watch for problems. The methods being used to track terrorists and terrorism can also be used to track anyone else. The Dark River gives a overshadowing feeling of doom.
John Twelve Hawks has not written a happy or comfortable book. Instead it is an unsettling, compelling warning over the future of our freedoms. The main characters fight with their own consciences while fighting against the establishment. They are flawed and attractive (to the reader, not necessarily physically). This is one of those books that is very hard to read and yet impossible not to once started. But read The Traveler first.
Notice: Explicit sexual content
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