Book Review: The Traveler (2005)

The Traveler has received a lot of press, largely because the author, John Twelve Hawks (a pseudonym) claims to live “off the grid.” In other words, he does as much as possible to eliminate being tracked by “the Vast Machine,” the worldwide system of computer systems and cameras that track activity in modern society and commerce.

The world of The Traveler consists basically of four groups. At top are the Brethren, also know as the Tabula. They control the computer systems and surveillance cameras, and are the shadows behind what are essentially puppet governments. For decades, they have been hunting and exterminating The Travelers, individuals with the ability to have their inner “Light” leave their body and travel to different realms. Travelers have been responsible for bringing beneficial change to the world throughout history. Travelers are guarded by the Harlequins, ninja-like martial arts and weapons experts whose sole purpose is to protect Travelers from harm and combat the Tabula. Like the Brethren, Harlequins have virtually disappeared in modern society. Everyone else is a “citizen,” more accurately, drones going about their lives ignorant of the true state of affairs.

Almost all Travelers have been eradicated, but the Brethren now want to find a Traveler and use a quantum computer to map his or her brain during travel to another realm. Michael and Gabriel Corrigan are the sons of a Traveler believed to have been killed by the Tabula when they were adolescents. The Corrigans, though, do not know their father was a Traveler. In fact, no one knows if Michael or Gabriel might be Travelers. Still, the Brethren are searching for them, to find out if they are Travelers and, if so, make one or both of them part of their plan. At the same time, Maya, a Harlequin in England who has fought being a Harlequin her entire life, sets out on a mission to locate and protect the Corrigans from the Brethren.

At bottom, this is the Illuminati taking on new-agers in a battle over privacy. Grounded in recent technological developments, it is at times ham-handed in making its point about loss of individuality and privacy. Moreover, the book doesn’t tell you until the end that it is only the first in a planned series.

While this cautionary tale may be worthy of a summer read, it isn’t going to be a classic and likely will be quickly forgotten until the publicity machine cranks up for volume two in the series.

You don’t need to watch everyone if everyone believes they’re being watched.

John Twelve Hawks, The Traveler

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