John Twelve Hawks returns with The Dark River, the second of the trilogy, after The Traveler, in the Fourth Realm series. We last left off with Gabriel on the run from the Tabula with his Harlequin, Maya, having just sabotaged the Tabula’s quantum computer system which was part of the Virtual Panopticon: the Tabula’s effort to create a worldwide system to watch and know what everyone is doing all the time. The Dark River continues the story of this dystopia in our near future as the Traveler fights for survival while the Tabula fights for domination.
The Traveler is a person who can travel to another realm, learning from these others worlds, he or she returns with a heightened knowledge that they can pass onto others. They have existed for millennia; many famous people in history are believed to have been Travelers, including Jesus Christ. Then there is the Brethren, or the Tabula as they are known to Travelers, who are out to kill all the Travelers and have done so since the beginning. Except in the modern age the true power of the Traveler has been realized by the Tabula and they wish to capture Travelers and use them for their own gain. Finally there are the Harlequins, a secret group who have existed just as long, whose sworn duty is to protect the Travelers.
Gabriel and his brother Michael are Travelers. In the first book of the series, Michael was captured by the Tabula and has now become one of them, an enemy to Gabriel. So as the Tabula are both working on the Virtual Panopticon and looking for the Traveler, Gabriel discovers that his father – a renowned Traveler – is alive and goes to England to search for him. He finds his father’s body on an island near Ireland, barely alive, while his father’s consciousness is in another world, another realm. It is now up to Gabriel to travel to this other realm, the First Realm – better known as Hell – to find his father and bring him back. At the same time they must not forget about the Tabula who are desperately looking for them, using every means necessary.
The Dark River furthers the plot along, but falls short of offering up any shocking realizations or reveals, feeling more like a chapter in the great saga of the Fourth Realm series. It ends on a cliffhanger leaving the reader wondering how the enigmatic John Twelve Hawks (which is seems like a possible pseudonym) will complete the epic and growing series with just one more book to go.
If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.
Originally written on September 8th 2007 ©Alex C. Telander.