Book Reviews

Review: The Fourth Realm Trilogy by John Twelve Hawks

John Twelve HawksThe anti-political techno-thriler The Traveler (2005) by John Twelve Hawks provides a look through a clouded mirror at our own society.  Twelve Hawks, whose own identity is shrouded in mystery, tells a story of parallel universes using themes of high technology and government secrecy.  While fiction, honest appraisal of this story forces us to take a critical look at our own government. The relationships between the multilayered, complex, and believable characters of Maya, Gabriel, and Gabriel’s brother Michael create a dramatic tension unlike most contemporary novels.  This is a must read for anyone who loves science fiction and wonders about the direction our society seems to be going.  Mysterious travelers, who have often been key figures that have  changed history, are the focus of a desperate struggle.  Secret societies war against each other, with the Tabula struggling for total control and the Harlequins defending the Travelers and hope and freedom against all odds. These issues resonate with our ideals of liberty and foreshadows issues.

The second book in the series, The Dark River (2007), continues the tale of resistance amid rising tension.  Gabriel and Maya travel to Europe and find help in their struggle from unexpected places.  Hollis, an ally, and Nathan Boone, a leader of the Tabula, bring complexity and depth to the cast of characters. The tension heightens as Maya and Gabriel struggle to avoid capture, and both travel to another dimension on separate rescue missions.  The suspense builds throughout the novel, ending with a surprise that leaves the reader on the edge of a cliff.

The conclusion, The Golden City (2009), intensifies the action. The struggle between the Tabula and the growing resistance building around Gabriel warns of the dangers of centralized power cloaked in secrecy. The Tabula proves to be both formidable and flawed. A new leader rises and tries to seize control of the Tabula and its various factions. Maya confronts herself while Gabriel builds his resolve and struggles with inner demons.  The climax of this extraordinary tale does not disappoint.

The author, John Twelve Hawks is a mystery.  Claiming to live “off the grid,” he maintains his anonymity even in book signings.  Instead of making personal appearances, he invites readers to stand in for him in a presentation and talk, via his website:  I Am John Twelve Hawks. (warning – site contains embedded videos that auto-play)


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