July 21, 2005
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Out with The
Traveler. Recycled plot makes book seem a tad tired.
by Robert Greene
The Traveler, by John
Twelve Hawks, Doubleday, June 2005, 464 pages.
The problem with
reading a lot is that everything you read goes through a filter made up
of everything else you have read. Or watched.
You can’t help it. This
book reminds you of that book. This sentence reminds you of another
author’s writing style. Well, John Twelve Hawks’ much-anticipated novel,
The Traveler, reminded me of a lot of things, to the point where it all
seemed pretty old hat.
The Traveler is the
story of two brothers with mysterious powers — one falls in with the
good guys, one is seduced by the bad. It’s also the story of a family
responsibility, handed down to a generation that doesn’t really want it.
It’s the tale of warrior woman who, despite her training, learns to care
and love. And, of course, it is also the story of the Big Bad, a shadowy
group with a social-control agenda and seemingly unlimited resources.
I’ve read this book
before, possibly several times, with different characters, different
setting and with slightly different motivations. If you have watched the
Star Wars movies, you know the plot well yourself.
The two brothers,
Michael and Gabriel, are “Travelers,” like their father, born with the
ability to send their soul out of their bodies and into different
worlds. While in these worlds, Travelers get some perspective on the
ills of humanity and come back with advice. According to Hawks’ book,
most of the world’s inspirational leaders (think Ghandi, Thomas Payne,
etc.) are Travelers. Perhaps Martin Luther King Jr.’s “mountaintop” was
actually another world.
Travelers throughout human history (Peter, after all, took up a sword
when Jesus was taken by the Romans) are a group of warriors called the
Harlequins. Trying to kill the Travelers is a shadowy group called the
Tabula. The Tabula apparently wants to take out the Travelers because
they introduce an element of chaos and free will into societies that the
Tabula believe should be well-ordered and controlled. For example, ours.
Gabriel and Michael
might be the last of the Travelers. Their guard, Maya, who has the hots
for Gabriel, might be the last Harlequin. When Michael is taken by the
dark side of the For ... Tabula, it seems all is lost and the very small
army of good must circle the wagons, rally the flag and attempt a
rescue. But does Michael want to be saved?
The Traveler is
interesting at times but the book’s plot was a lot fresher a dozen or so