Having already read John Twelve Hawk’s The Traveller at the recommendation of a friend, I thought I’d continue the series by reading The Dark River (the second book in The Fourth Realm trilogy) which I just finished reading a few hours ago on the tube home from work.
A secret group of powerful and influential people known collectively as The Tabula are trying to shape the world into a virtual prison without the need for actual walls or guards because everyone’s default position would be to assume that they are being watched at all times. Then there’s a small second group of people known as Travellers who have the ability to travel spiritually between different realms where they deduce revelations of truth which they bring back to our world in order to help ‘free’ peoples’ minds. Furthermore, the Tabula are hunting the Travelers to extinction, which is the central theme of the story.
The Main Characters
There are three Travelers in this story, one of whom in currently lost somewhere in one of the other realms, and his two adult sons: older brother Michael, who works for The Tabula, and younger brother Gabriel, who is on the run from The Tabula. Gabriel is accompanied by a Harlequin, Maya, who is sworn to protect him, along with friends Hollis and Vicky.
Michael is a practical man who can see that The Tabula will eventually achieve their goals one way or another and therefore feels it pointless to oppose them. In the first book he was a sympathetic character and I found myself routing for him to escape The Tabula and rejoin with his brother. However he seems to have evolved into a ‘company man’ as it were which make’s me want him hurt. Hurt bad. So I’ve lost interest in him.
Gabriel is the opposite of Michael in that he lets his heart rule his mind and thus making him the sort of character I’d happily go to the pub and have a drink with. He also capable of taking care of himself as proven by his taking up with the Free Runners in London and having an influence over them.
Maya is strong independent women who was raised to be a Harlequin, a defender of Travellers. This however has meant she has had a hard life, being taught to fight and kill at a young age. Furthermore, a Harlequin most cultivate randomness but not be ruled by emotion, and certainly not have friends or become involved romantically with a Travller as they believe this would be an unnecessary distraction and thus potentially dangerous. Maya seems to be forging her own way and seems to have decided that becoming romantically involved with Gabriel is worth the risk.
Hollis and Vicky helped Grabriel and Maya in the first book and have stayed by their sides throughout. They are both in a romantic relationship with one another and find this gives them the strength to survive.
Nathon Boone is an operative of The Tabula, a militray type who does whatever it takes to get the job done. I don’t like him.
Gabriel decides he wants to find his father and after getting separated from Maya, Hollis and Vicky, while running from Tabula agent Nathan Boon, makes his way to London, England as this was his fathers last known location. Here he meets up with some Free Runners while he works out where his father might be. Eventually he finds his father is in another realm (his body still in our realm however) and decides to go after him. He finds himself in a realm of death and destruction, held captive by the human natives. Maya finds a way into this realm using the Arc of the Covenant and frees him. The story ends with her trapped there when it transpires that she can not return to our realm the same way Gabriel does.
I liked how each chapter of the book follows a specific characters and describes what they’re feeling from their point of view. This adds variety to storytelling and is method of storytelling I really enjoy. I often found myself getting bored by the chapters focusing on the Tabula and sped through them so that I could return to reading the progression of Maya and Gabriel’s relationship, his time with the Free Runners, and learning about our Harlequins. Overall I really enjoyed this book and am very much looking forward to tomorrow’s tube journey into work when I will start reading The Golden City, the final book in the Fouth Realm trilogy.