Friday, April 27, 2007

It's been a while but I finally have a Joe Bob Briggs review to post here.

I'm going to be honest and say that the book didn't hold my interest as much as I had hoped early on. Still I think I owe to the JBB folks to actually read each and every book they send along.

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The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks
Publisher: Knopf Publishing; ISBN: 030727859X

We’re all living ‘on the grid’ whether we know it or not. From the time we are born until we die, computers, government agencies and a mysterious group called The Tabula or The Brethren track our lives. Most of us are more than willing to give up a bit of freedom and privacy in order to feel safe & secure. Then there some folks who like to keep hidden from the Great Machine.

Certain humans called Travelers are able to leave their mortal forms and go to another realm, returning with new wisdom and ideas that don’t set well with the Tabula. For thousands of years the Tabula have hunted and killed every Traveler it found, thought to be prophets, seers and others considered too dangerous. Fighting for the Travelers are the Harlequins, dedicated warriors who put their lives aside to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Today, the Tabula believe they have found a way to harness the power and abilities of a Traveler for their own purpose. Of course, since they have killed every other Traveler, it is difficult to test their theories. Fortunately, they appear to have discovered not one but perhaps two people capable of moving from one realm to another.

Brothers Gabriel and Michael Corrigan did not have a normal upbringing and when they sit with their mother at her deathbed they discover why. Their father, it seems, was one of the last Travelers and they may have inherited his abilities.

Writer John Twelve Hawks begins his “Fourth Realm Trilogy” like other authors who know before hand that they have a long story to tell. While it does move along pretty quickly, Twelve Hawks does spend a lot of time introducing his large cast of characters, including some who don’t get to stay around for very long after we just get to know them. He also spends a great deal of time giving us the history of his different groups, so it’s possible the next two books will move a bit faster. When we get to spend time with his characters Twelve Hawks makes them believable and most have more than one dimension. Both of the Corrigan brothers and the Harlequin, Maya, who is sent to protect them, are solid characters who all have their own motivations and reasons.

I wanted to like this book more than I did, but like other planned multi-part works the writer has a balancing act where he can’t show all his tricks right away. If you enjoy this type of ‘realistic’ fantasy set in post-9/11 America and Europe you might get more from it than I did.

Three stars.
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