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The Traveler Paperback – July 18, 2006

3.5 out of 5 stars 342 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This production opens with an unintentionally hilarious interview with the author, who "lives off the Grid," according to his bio, and protectively distorts his voice for a discussion of his book's relevance to the contemporary matrix of governmental and corporate interference in daily life. The author's grandiose paranoia is overblown, but Carradine does a solid job of keeping a straight face with his reading. Carradine's gravelly, folksy voice conveys the twists and turns of Hawks' action-adventure narrative, lending a weary dignity to his tale of Maya, a twentysomething scion of a group of mercenaries whose sworn duty it is to protect the Travelers, a secret group of great men. Maya yearns to break free of her obligations, but she is forced to help Gabriel and Michael, two brothers who discover that they are Travelers. Carradine may not be able to save Hawks' book entirely from its aura of pompousness, but he makes a fine effort nonetheless.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Bookmarks Magazine

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).

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (July 18, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400079292
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400079292
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (342 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #597,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Readers interested in learning more about John Twelve Hawks should go to his website: johntwelvehawks.com. Photographs taken by John and comments from readers can be found on his Facebook page: John Twelve Hawks - Writer.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Yes, there has been a lot of marketing hype regarding the hyper-anonymity of Mr. John Twelve Hawks who, like his countercultural characters in "The Traveler," has supposedly decided to live off "the Grid" and avoid exposing his precious identity in a post-9/11 world where the government has increased its surveillance of citizens under the guise of anti-terrorism paternalism. And yes, one could engage in an endless debate over whether this book is best labeled as speculative fiction, techno-thriller, urban fantasy, or science fiction.

But these issues, while perhaps interesting topics of discussion, are ultimately much less relevant than the fact that this is a highly entertaining thriller, with a premise that will appeal to fans of "The Matrix" franchise and an anti-control theme that will resonate with conspiracy lovers and Robert Heinlein readers. Heinlein once wrote that "political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire." Mr. Hawks's work fully embraces this same theme as well as the Aldous Huxley-ish viewpoint that science without mysticism is ultimately meaningless.

In the tradition of the best thriller writers, the author manages to avoid the pitfalls common to many first-novelists, juggle multiple points of view, and keep the pages turning with cliffhanger chapters. He also writes with a direct, unpretentious style that aids in the suspension of disbelief and fits well with the technology-laden world he has created. And his characters, particularly Maya and Gabriel, have more depth than the cookie-cutter heroes common to books of this sort.
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Format: Hardcover
The author (whoever he or they might be) knows the conventions of the genre, though I wonder whether the genre this is meant for is really film or print. There's been a tremendous amount of publicity around this book. I even wonder how many of the ecstatic reviews posted are from publicists. Certainly the people determined to make this into a product like Harry Potter or The DaVinci Code are at least as diligent -and perhaps as powerful - as the Tabula who run the world in the book.

The set-up for the story is pretty good. The author postulates the six realms of Buddhist teaching (gods, demi-gods, humans, animals, hungry ghosts, hell) as real places coexisting in the universe. The realm we live in is the human realm, fourth in the numbering system used by the author. OK, an interesting spin on the many realities idea used so well by Philip Pullman in "His Dark Materials".

Our world is controlled by a secret society and the events in the news are staged to keep us ordinary folk distracted and diverted while the people who really run the show do - well we don't get to learn what they actually do except know people who can do things for them everywhere and try to stamp out the Travelers, who are able to do out-of-body travel to the other realms and then come back with insights that make people less like sheep, and the Harlequins, who don't write Romance novels as you might think, but are instead extraordinarily trained and dedicated fighters who protect Travelers. Sort of The Matrix and a few others.

In the time covered by this book, the bad guys have changed their strategy with the Travelers.
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Format: Hardcover
Is the Traveler by John Twelve Hawks the best thing since sliced bread? No. Is it an incredibly original plot? Definitely not. However, it is still a page-turner and combines all of the derivative elements others have noted into a satisfying adventure/martial arts/sci fi novel.

The main protagonist, Maya, is a Harlequin, although a reluctant one-- she has been trained to devote her life to protecting Travelers, people who can shift into alternate universes. However, she doesn't really want to be a Harlequin, but she is forced into it by her father's death. She takes on her assigned duty of protecting Gabriel and Michael because it is her duty, not because of any emotional affection she may have for either of them.

When Michael is captured by the opposition, who want to use him for their own nefarious purposes, she focuses her energy and her fighting expertise on protecting Gabriel. She stubbornly tries to focus on the mission while he just as persistently tries to focus on the human side of things-- demanding that Maya take risks in order to save friends or intervene when a group of road warriors terrorize a waitress and her father at a roadside cafe.

Yes, the symbolism of Michael and Gabriel hits you rather heavily between the eyes (think archangels, folks.) However, I still enjoyed the book. There's nothing wrong with derivative fiction if it's done well and if the author puts his or her own twist on it. John Twelve Hawks accomplishes this in The Traveler, and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.
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