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John Twelve Hawks "The Dark River " Book Review

Book Two of the Fourth Realm Trilogy

The Dark River Book cover

Imagine a world where your every move is watched and recorded by Close Circuit Television, where everything you buy is monitored by computers, where people are willing to give up personal freedoms because of fear and terror whipped up by National Governments.

Actually, that sounds a lot like our society today, and its the world of Travelers, Harlequins and The Tabula, all concocted by mysterious author John Twelve Hawks.

Mr Hawks (or should it be Mr 12?) has penned a great sci fi / fantasy thriller, which had me gripped from page one, even though I hadn't read the first of the trilogy "The Traveller".

Our hero is one such Traveller, Gabriel, protected by Maya, his sword-wielding Harlequin protector, in his quest to find his father and thwart the attempts of the Brethren to take over the world.

Let's take a closer look.


John Twelve Hawks.

Little to no information is available about the author of "The Dark River". Apparently he lives "off the grid" (see below) and lives all over the place, having studied martial arts when he was younger.

Checkout his website (bit weird for me)!

There have been suggestions that Twelve Hawks is just a pen name for another author and all this secrecy a big publicity stunt. I agree, it all smells a bit like Dan Browns insistence that "The Da Vinci Code" is based on fact. Come on lads, you don't need this rubbish to sell books, let the story do that!

The Grid / The Vast Machine

The Vast Machine is all the electronic devices that surround us today (and in Hawks books), such as cctv, speed cameras, credit cards, id cards, internet cookies, dna databases and personal info files that sacrifice our right to anonymity without our consent. Little is truly private anymore, but most of us accept this because of fear of crime and terrorism.

To live "Off the Grid" means to avoid all the above and appear invisible to the authorities.

The Six Realms

Our world is not alone. Traveller's are able to transfer their spirits between these realms, which vary from heaven to hell. If you visit these realms you come back with new insights and ideas that challenge our ways of thinking and doing things.


In this book there are three travellers, Gabriel Corrigan, Michael (his brother) and their Dad, Matthew.

Matthew, the Dad, has gone missing, Michael has been captured and is helping the enemy (The Tabula) and Gabriel is busy trying to stay alive and find his dad.

It's important to note that the brothers are really travelers in training, they don't have all the skills required, yet.


These guys and girls are sworn to protect Travelers, trained from a young age in martial arts and the use of all types of weapons. Gabriel is guarded by Maya, an attractive young Harlequin with a chip on her shoulder.

The Brethren / Tabula

The bad guys. Vast, powerful organisation determined to control the world through modern surveillance technology. The Brethren have National Governments in their pockets and a huge budget.

The Brethren want to eliminate all Travelers because they don't want the boat rocking, as Travelers do when they come back from one of the other realms preaching about love and peace. (Probably).

Nathan Boone
Nasty mercenary who works for the Brethren. Hates Travelers and Harlequins. Is very good at killing people.

So, I got this book for Christmas, which explains why I haven't already read the first installment, but I definitely will. Hawks takes us on a thrilling chase through New York, London and into the other Realms as Gabriel and Maya pursue their destinies.

The author doesn't neglect the other characters, there's some stand out descriptions of an Irish Harlequin, and I particularly love (to hate) the mercenary Boone and his cold-hearted antics.

Any complaints? Some of the set-pieces are a little contrived (you always cover the back door when raiding a joint), and for an organisation that's been around for thousands of years the evil Brethren doesn't seem to take security at its most important installations very seriously..

Apart from that I really enjoyed "The Dark River", I'll be getting the first book soon, and can't wait for the third, and last installment sometime next year. Very good,

Buy The Dark River from Amazon.co.uk

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