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Showing posts with label JohnXIIHawks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label JohnXIIHawks. Show all posts

Saturday, 31 July 2010

The Golden City - John Twelve Hawks - Book 3 The Fourth Realm Trilogy

The Golden City
Book 3 The Fourth Realm Trilogy

John Twelve Hawks

Doubleday an imprint of

Random House

ISBN 9780385514309

Though this book was much anticipated it took me 8 months to read it. Now to be honest I read it in three sittings. The reason it took so long is that when the first book, The Traveler came out 5 years ago, it was one of the best fiction books I had read in more than ten years. Once I started the book, I realized the series would end, I have heard nothing about more books by John XII Hawks, so I did not want the story to end. Then when I sat down and started it again I raced through to the finish. I plan on reading the whole series again soon.

No one really knows who John Twelve Hawks is, his interviews use a voice modulator, he supposedly has never met with his publisher, and only communicates electronically or through a satellite phone. That mystery was intriguing when the first book came out, and rumors have abounded about who he might be. But I do not think that really matters, he writes under a pen name and wants to keep his privacy. What matters is that he is an excellent story teller and has crafted an excellent dystopian trilogy. If you have not read the first books, I highly recommend them.

A battle rages between two brothers Michael and Gabriel Corrigan, but also between two groups, the Brethern who want to control every person on the planet and will use almost any means to achieve that control, and a resistance movement lead my Gabriel Corrigan, a traveler who can leave this plane of existence and travel to other realms, and his Harlequin guardians. The Harlequins have protected the Travelers for generations. Historically the Harlequins stayed out the of Travelers plans and only protected them from the Breathern who want to hunt them down and kill them. Now Michael Corrigan has usurped control of the Breathern and wants to control the whole world and use his power as a Traveler to plan and achieve that control. Gabriel and an interconnected groups of different people do not want to allow that to happen.

The world is being turned upside down, governments are using fear to control people and systematically strip their freedom. There is a vast machine of security camera's, email sniffing programs, facial recognition … growing in our world, and there are dark forces behind the scenes pulling all those resources together into an electronic prison for each of us.

Michael and Gabriel have both experienced the other realms but both come back with a different vision for mankind. Who will win this battle for mankinds hearts and minds.

The story has a fast pace, and a number of surprising twists in the series storyline. It also leave the ending open to a continuation and a few interpretations. One of the best things about the series is that it will cause readers to ask questions! Questions about what really matters in life, how intentional they are about how they live, about freedom and purpose in life. It is a great book and I can only hope for more from the author.

Fourth Reams Trilogy:
The Traveler
The Dark River
The Golden City

(First Published in Imprint 2010-07-30.)

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Confessions of a Bibliophile #3 - Judge A Book By It's Cover

Often shoppers judge books by their covers, at least at first glance. Reading some of my favorite authors happened by chance as I picked up one of their books based upon the cover. Steven Brust's early novel Jhereg, is one example. This book came out when I was 13 - it was about an assassin witch. I loved the art work so much I used the font from the cover of this and others in the series to create the designs for one of my tattoos. Another book I picked up to look at just because of its cover was Orphanage by Robert Buettner; first published in 2004 it had a great retro Sci-Fi feel, and it reminded me of many of the early covers of Robert A. Heinlein's books, and in reading the cover I found out it was written in homage to Heinlein's classic Starship Troopers, which is an amazing commentary on war. So of course I had to buy it that very day. Third, The Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carman, had something mystical about the cover and it had an effect upon me. I had the book for almost two years before reading it because I did not want the spell of the cover to be broken.

In years gone by I collected every edition of different books. Some of Piers Anthony's books have gone through 5 or 6 cover changes. Many classic science fiction books were originally only available in pulp, paperback editions - cheap to make and cheap to recycle to make new ones. I owned the complete Edgar Rice Burrows Warlord of Mars series originally published between 1917 and 1964. These books were transformational in the years after I first learned how to read. Let me digress for a minute. With a dual form of dyslexia and after repeating grade one, they just kept passing me on in school. I got through my book reports by renting VHS or Beta tapes, and paying close attention in class. The summer between grades seven and eight I was sent to a private summer school, and I went from reading at a grade 3 level to reading at a university level and reading over 400 words per minute. It was this whole world that opened up to me that I never knew existed. Reading became an addiction and books an obsession. I read many DAW books, a publishing company dedicated to Science Fiction books. At the time of their merger with Penguin Group in 2007 they had published 1400 books, and from the inception in 1972 until 1985 their books all had yellow spines and a yellow logo box on the front cover. Therefore as you browsed used book stores you could easily recognize the books even if they were not cover facing.

I am sure that you are aware that a great deal of planning goes into choosing covers for books. Publishers also change covers if a book has been out a while, if response was not what was expected. A few years back a book called The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks came out, in the original prereleases of the book there was no author or title on the front cover. But eventually the American arm of the publisher forces a small black diamond with this info. Later they changed the cover completely so that the title and author was in large blocks on the cover. I personally was more attracted to the original, it was so unique and different it immediately grabbed my attention. I often judge books by their cover, or if I do not know the author their covers induce me to pick up the book or to leave it on the shelf or table. It is all part of how books are marketed to us. The next time you are in a Chapters or Indigo books, check out the tables, check out the books on the end caps of the bookcases. These spaces are rented or sold to publishers. Some tables will be all books by one publisher, some will be thematic or issue focused. But most of these books on tables are there to get your attention, to inspire you to pick it up and hopefully purchase it. Another thing used to draw you to certain titles are book lists. At Chapters you receive a discount on the Globe and Mail best sellers' list, and then there is Heather's Picks. The owner of Chapters-Indigo has a table with her selection of books that influence her and are favorites. The other is Oprah's Picks - the day a book is mentioned on her show most Chapters, Indigos and Coles in Canada sell out. The stores start getting calls to reserve them before the show has finished airing. There is an interesting story about Canadian author David Adams Richards. One of his books was selected to be an Oprah Pick. When his publisher told him this, and that it would dramatically increase sales, he went to look at this list of Oprah's Picks. When he saw the books on the list he did not want his name associated with those other books and opted not to allow his book to be one of her picks. Yet all of these marketing tricks are designed to get you to pick up the book and hold it, In part to judge it by it's cover.

Seldom when book covers change do I appreciate it. I am a creature of habit and like things to stay the same. A few books that have changed the cover art for the worst, in my opinion, are Dust by Arthur Slade, Fidelis by A.R. Horvath, and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Some books that have pulled it off well are Orphanage by Robert Buettner, The Singer by Calvin Miller and Night by Elie Wiesel. So drop me a line and let me know what books you have judged by their covers and whether it was worth it. Yet all in all judging books by their covers has almost always served me well. Seldom have I been terribly disappointed and wished I had not read the book. So as you look at that next book cover, and its placement in the store, consider all the factors in the marketing behind it, before picking it up, flipping it over and reading the back. Yet as always remember you never know what you will find between the covers.

(First Published in Imprint 2009-05-29.)

Sunday, 15 July 2007

The Dark River by: John Thelve Hawks

The Dark River
John Twelve Hawks

ISBN 9780385514293

This is the second book in the fourth realm trilogy. I stated of the first book, The Traveler, that it was "the best fiction book I had read in a decade!" This book is a very close second. John Twelve Hawks weaves an unforgettable tale of suspense and drama that will draw you in and captivate you in a way that few other authors achieve. Hawks helps us to look at our world in a whole new light, and gives an entirely new meaning to the term 'Big Brother is Watching'.

This book continues a year after The Traveler finished, and once the action starts, it does not end. The action races at breakneck speed and reads like 'a post 9/11 conspiracy theory meets 1984'. Hawks shows a world where people are collectively selling their freedoms for a perceived peace or security. With a story as unique as the Matrix, and the captivating writing unlike anybody else, Hawks serves up a masterpiece.

There are four main categories of people in these books: Civilians, who go about their daily lives, Travelers who can send their life force from their body to alternate realms, The Harlequins who are trained warriors dedicated to protecting the Travelers, and finally The Brethren, as they call themselves, who wish to create a system of control over the whole world, a virtual Panopticon. This group is called, 'The Tabula', by their enemies.

The Tabula are trying to achieve their Panopticon through computer surveillance - RFID chips in what we buy and in our ID and credit cards. Their only goal is to make the human race homogeneous and dominated by the belief that they must behave a certain way because they are always being watched. For the first time in history, a Traveler, Michael Corrigan, is working with the Brethren and trying to conquer the only other surviving travelers -his brother Gabriel, and his father Matthew, who has been missing for 15 years since the Tabula attacked the family home.

Both of the brothers are searching for their long-lost father, both are trying to figure out how to use their ability as travelers, and both believe they are on the right side. Only by reading will you find out what will happen in this battle of wills and battle between light and darkness.

This is a book masterfully written that will draw in readers from all walks of life and of all ages. Read it and see if you cannot hardly wait for your friends to read it, so that you can discuss it and debate it. It will also have you looking very differently at all the cameras that capture our images hundreds of times a day.

Hawks has written another bestseller that will surprise you, stun you and amaze you, both with the story and the way it is told.

(First published in Imprint 2007-07-17 in the book review column.)

Monday, 3 October 2005

The Traveler by: John Twelve Hawks

The Traveler
John Twelve Hawks
Doubleday Canada

Wow! This is an amazing book. I read between 150 and 200 books a year and I must say that this is one of the best books I have read in a decade. It is like a cross between the Matrix and Blade Runner, or Dan Brown’s Angel’s and Demons and a Tom Clancy novel. Or like a little known author James Bryon Huggins, it has mystery, suspense and intrigue, weapons and people who know how to use them.

The main premise is that there is a war going on in this world, but it is a war that most are unaware of. Like all wars there are two sides, The Harlequin’s and the Tabula or as they prefer to be called ‘The Brethren’. The Harlequin’s are warriors committed to protecting the Travelers; Travelers are people who have the ability to send their life energy from their body and travel to other realms. They are lonely isolated people who live to serve. The travelers often become gurus or healers or prophets. The traveler’s after returning from a different plane of existence return changed and their views of life challenge other people to look at their own lives and to seek something more. The Tabula on the other hand want to control the world. They want to have control over every person’s life.

Michael and Gabriel Corrigan are brothers and believed to be the last descendants of travelers. Michael ends up with the Tabula and Gabriel with the Harlequin’s. This becomes a battle between good and evil, and a battle between brothers, like Cain and Able of old, the brothers will war. Also of significance is their names, only three angels are named by name in the Bible, and the brothers each bare one of those three names.

The book is a literary treasure filled with religious and literary reference from around the world and across traditions. It is a book for book lovers who will be intrigued by finding all the reference, yet the story is strong enough to capture the imagination of even the most casual of readers.

I believe this is a book that anyone could enjoy, and I can only hope that the characters will return in a sequel to continue the story.

(First Published in Imprint 2005-05-06 as 'Traveling Through Life')