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The Traveler (Fourth Realm #1)

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  9,180 Ratings  ·  975 Reviews
In London, Maya, a young woman trained to fight by her powerful father, uses the latest technology to elude detection when walking past the thousands of surveillance cameras that watch the city. In New York, a secret shadow organization uses a victim's own GPS to hunt him down and kill him. In Los Angeles, Gabriel, a motorcycle messenger with a haunted past, takes pains to ...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published June 28th 2005 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2005)
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Jason Pettus
Aug 04, 2007 Jason Pettus rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [].)

(Longtime followers of my creative projects know that in general I don't like publishing bad reviews; that for the most part I see it as a waste of both my time and yours, in that I could be spending that time instead pointing out great artists you may have never heard of. However, since one of the things this website is dedicated to is honest artistic criticism, I also feel it's important to acknowledge books t

3.5 "interesting, carefully plotted and plausible" stars.

John Twelve Hawks is a pseudonym for a writer who writes in privacy and is "off the grid". His book appears to be a reflection of a fictionalized account of his world and spiritual views.

From Wikipedia:

QUESTION: Is there a reason for the pen name? One you’d be willing to share, I suppose. As in, is it because you’re actually a secret CIA agent and/or Russian spy, or merely because you don’t ever want your mother knowing what you’ve written
Alex Telander
THE TRAVELER BY JOHN TWELVE HAWKS: This book actually generated quite a bit of buzz before it was released last June and I had it recommended to me by a few people saying that it was in the vein of Stephen King, and since I'm a fan I would probably enjoy this. I managed to get an ARC through the bookstore I used to work at and then it sat on my shelf for about six months until I picked it up and decided to start reading it last week. I finished it about four days later after pretty much eating i ...more
Jun 27, 2008 Chris rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I'm still deciding if I can finish this book. Its pure summer fluff, but it is sooo bad I almost can keep reading . . .

I can't take it any more -- there are so many other good books, sci-fi or not, that I could be reading. I just can't waste my time on this crap. It's a bit of the Matrix, a bit of Highlander, with a lot of John Woo thrown in for good measure. This book has every cliche known to man (or rahter, known to 12 year old fan-boys) tossed together into one badly written me
Sep 04, 2007 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book was not at all what I expected...but I loved it. I am not generally a big sci-fi/alternate reality fan but loved this read.

The author raised tons of important points regarding "big brother" and how easily our every move can be monitored by the "vast machine." I am not an alarmist but it is a little scary how easily our movements could be traced through seemingly little things such as grocery store discount cards and security cameras in ATM's.

I loved Maya's character the female harlequ
Feb 21, 2009 Sandi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, cross-genre, 2009
I read "The Traveler" a couple of years ago and I still think about it occasionally. The whole concept of what a Traveler can do was kind of New-Agey, but I thought the idea of people trying to live off the grid (without anything connecting up to computers) was very unique. If you read the blurb, you'd think this was a science fiction novel. I suppose it can be argued that it is a science fiction novel. However, in retrospect, I consider it to be a fantasy novel that uses a lot of modern technol ...more
Jun 18, 2016 Elizabeta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Conspiracy with paranormal twist, great!
Erica Satifka
Jun 06, 2007 Erica Satifka rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 20, 2010 Louize rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dystopian readers
Book blurb:
“In London, a young woman uses cutting-edge technology to elude detection by the thousands of surveillance cameras that watch the city. In New York, a secret shadow organization uses a victim’s own GPS to hunt him down and kill him. In Los Angeles, a motorcycle messenger with a haunted past takes pains to live “off the Grid” – free of credit cards and government IDs. Welcome to the world of The Traveler – a world frighteningly like our own.”

My initial interest in this book was tweak
Nov 19, 2009 Monk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably my favorite book of the last couple of years. The Traveler and its follow-up are a very cool blend of techno-thriller and fantasy, and they move along at an incredible pace. I live a very busy life and usually can read books only in 15-page bites before I pass out at night, but these books are load-up-on-Pepsi-Max-'cause-you-ain't-going-to-bed-brother kind of books. The story arc deals with two brothers and their inherited ability to travel between dimensions, but much of this first boo ...more
This might be the worst book I've read in years. I gave it an extra star just for being kind of 'neat' in the premise, but the writing leaves a lot to be desired.
Jim O'Donnell
Mar 25, 2008 Jim O'Donnell rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty tiresome tripe. While the subject matter is very interesting, the book becomes a slog. It is weighed down by its own cliches and overly worn themes.

Essentially, there exists a group of people with special powers to cross over to other dimensions. Then there are a group of people who are sworn to protect them. Then there are a group of people working to hunt them down. All this takes place in a very near future dystopian surveillence society (future as a month from now). Its ba
When the most intriguing question about a book is the real identity of the author, you know something isn't working.

John Twelve Hawks lives "off the grid" and his novel, "The Traveler" is a warning to the rest of us consider doing the same. We may not know it, but our world is just one of many realms, though only a special few people can break the barriers from one realm to another. These people are called Travelers and they've apparently been at war with a group called the Tabula for years. The
This book got a lot of publicity prior to publication. It was hailed as being phenomenal. It describes a future dystopian society, where privacy and individual freedom are compromised. The government wants in on that action, but the powers of observation and control are held by a group known as the Brethren who have all the cool toys – a quantum computer, the means to tap into all kinds of monitoring devices worldwide, and the ability to make genetically mutated animals. There’s been a long batt ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Nov 11, 2009 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I liked this novel of conspiracy and danger. The series is delving into some eastern areas of belief as it moves.

The characters here are well imagined and the story told well. The background of the book I found fascinating. Anyone familiar with Jeremy Bentham and the idea of the Panopticon would I think find this book interesting. While at first glance it the fears of the character and the situation they struggle against seems very far fetched, the idea of a "virtual Panopticon" becomes far more
Steve Coughlan
Mar 18, 2007 Steve Coughlan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Conspiracy Theorists
Shelves: urban-fantasy
Nice. The first in a series, but neatly tied up at the end, so it can stand alone. Classic plot with an interesting take on history, religion, and modern society... gee, if I wanted to believe it was all true, I could... there are no obvious contradictions between the fiction and perceived reality. Which makes it a very nice read, and I look forward to picking up the sequel when it comes out, which should be real soon now.

Oh, yes, the plot: Maya should be a Harlequin. Harlequins protect Travelle
Jul 17, 2012 Kara-karina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another ridiculously good book that found me by pure chance. All the conspiracy theorists of the world, this book is definitely for you. As I count myself one of the men in the tinfoil hats, that book felt like home.

My mom-in-law gave it to my hubby to read and it was gathering dust in our car, until one day I went to work forgetting my own book (oh, horror!) and had to make do with this one.
I was so engrossed in it, I did not put it down until it was finished. Thanks, Mom! *grinning*

Brilliant c
I'm embarrassed that I actually finished this book. I thought it was so bad that I morally couldn't trade it in at the local used bookstore (the one that has the biggest sci-fi section and enough actual patrons to keep it changing--and they sell new books too). I considered burning it but then I lost interest until I started re-reading some Foucault, and it brought the Panopticon to mind and then this book, which I now have to say: This is the Worst Book I ever finished reading.

To cut to the ch
Laura E. Hall
I think I'd actually give this a 2.75 out of 5 if I could, but 3 is fine because a lot of the flaws of the book don't matter when you're consuming it in audiobook form, as I did. (The audiobook reader does a wide range of accents and voices for every character, which makes it very enjoyable.)

Those flaws: the plot is extremely straightforward, the characters aren't much developed, and anyone who's not a "citizen" or a "drone" in this CCTV-happy, consumerism-driven society will greet you by asking
Feb 15, 2010 Kev rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Twelve Hawks's true identity is unknown, even to his publisher. He communicates by satellite phone and is essentially off grid. And that's the author in real life!
In the book people with spiritual and psychic abilities are hunted down whilst the Harlequins who are off gridders are in place to protect them.
The first part of the Fourth Realm trilogy is an exciting and paranoid novel with a taste of Enemy of the State that takes the reader on a Pullman style ride through various realities and
Dec 01, 2008 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Riveting! Highly recommended. Science fiction meets homeland security run amok meets the next prophet. Featuring a bad-ass woman as the ultimate fighting machine. I'm torn between wanting to see it made into a movie and leaving it alone as a great book. Listened to it as an audio-book, and the reader was fantastic. He did all the accents wonderfully and really added a lot to it.
May 18, 2008 Annet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice story, but at times I wasn't too impressed and the book couldn't fascinate me the whole time, at times the pages sort of dragged on. Storyline is exceptional though, some unexpected twists in the story makes you curious for more, hope to read part 2 in the summer.
Feb 24, 2009 Christina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christina by: Weekendavisen
Shelves: fiction, series, 2011
"Freedom is the biggest myth ever created. It's a destructive, unachievable goal that has caused a great deal of pain. Very few people can handle freedom. A society is healthy and productive when it's under control." (p. 294)
John Twelve Hawks is a man with a mission. He is desperately worried about the state of our society and how we are being monitored more and more with each passing year, how surveillance cameras are being put up everywhere and how our information becomes more and more availab
Mar 23, 2012 Barbara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I rarely feel like writing reviews, but this book made me do it because it really disappointed me.
The hype about it and about the author remaining anonymous got me excited. Who is the author? Some people guessed J.K. Rowling, some said Dan Brown, some even said it’s Stephen Hawking. I wanted to believe it’s Stephen Hawking. After reading the book, I must say, I would be very disappointed if it was Stephen Hawking. The author is probably the closest to Dan Brown’s style of writing, although Brown
Justin Matott
Sep 07, 2008 Justin Matott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A review I did for the Rocky Mtn News

• Plot in a nutshell: A secret society known as the Tabula aims to control mankind using the invisible technology surrounding the modern world - "the grid." In the past, the Tabula has attempted to eradicate Travelers (those who can travel to other dimensions a la Matrix-style out of body experiences) because of their threat to the grid's goals. But they now believe that Travelers, almost extinct, can help them reach the next step of evolutionary and technolo
Biju Bhaskar
May 01, 2013 Biju Bhaskar rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The Traveller is a story about the struggle between two groups of people 'Travellers' and 'The Brethren'. The travellers are mystics who possess the power to project their soul outside their physical body and crossover to other realms. The Brethren are aligned to the ruling superstructure and view the travellers as dangerous meddlers who keep disturbing the status quo of existing social structure. Hence the brethren actively hunt and destroy the travellers.

Due to this persecution, over the centu
Leif Anderson
I hate to sound clichéd, but usually, when I look at the cover art of a book, I can guess if I will enjoy it or not. I am aware of the saying about judging a book by its cover, but honestly, people are paid good money to make sure that those covers appeal to readers that will enjoy the book. I saw this cover, and it looked cool. I figured that it was probably a cool book inside that cover. I was wrong.

I had two problems with the book. First, I found the book kind of unbalanced. There seemed to h
A fun read, but it's not quite up to the standards I've become used to.

What I think: The main, and only, storyline revolves around a ruthless killer girl who's born into the job of protecting one of the world's most wanted fugitives. She is completely unlikable, and not only because she resembles Buffy (tVS) in more than one way. In her quest to protect Civilization As We Know It she kind of subverts the main point of the story itself. It's like the author is a schizophrenic.

What I liked: John T
Dee Dee Walker
Overall this was a decent book. Not great but not that bad either. This is not the genre that I usually read so I enjoyed the novelty. I noticed that many other readers complained of it being too cliche. This might be true. I suspect it is.

As I see it, the major flaw in this book is the underdevelopment of the characters. They were flat and one-dementional. Towards the end of the book I just wanted it to get through it so I could start a new novel. I just didn't care anymore.

The other problem
John Lawson
This book describes a world where the anarchistic Harlequins (worst name EVER) are in endless struggle against the control-loving Tabula. Judging by the fact that the hero of the book is a Harlequin, I'm going to guess theirs is the ideology we're supposed to identify with. However, even as I read the book, I couldn't help but wonder if the Tabula was offering the better argument. I wasn't convinced life under Harlequin rule would be all that good of an idea. By the end of the book, I really was ...more
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John Twelve Hawks aka J12H/JXIIH.

His real identity is unknown. He communicates using the internet and an untraceable phone and has never met his editor.

Several guesses have been made regarding his identity: that he was Thomas Pynchon, Dan Brown, or Steve Hawking among others...
More about John Twelve Hawks...

Other Books in the Series

Fourth Realm (3 books)
  • The Dark River (Fourth Realm, #2)
  • The Golden City (Fourth Realm, #3)

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“Life is dangerous. That's what makes it interesting.” 34 likes
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