The Traveler, is the first in this recent trilogy called: The Fourth Realm, by John Twelve Hawks. The Traveler introduces us to the players in the underground struggle going on in our world, between good and evil, unbeknownst to the rest of us 'citizens'. Its a mixture of old and new; mysticism and science fiction. The story is populated with ancient Japanese swords and sawed off shotguns, righteous honor and pacifism, calculated murder and the shape of one's soul.
Sounds like a lot, but Twelve Hawks has woven a story with both depth, and breadth, which is both complex and easy to read. The 'evil' in The Traveler is something called the Vast Machine: an Orwellian vision of the constant surveillance people are under, ever increasingly, right now in our world. Reading this book, just as the brouhaha over full body scans, and erogenous zone pat downs at the airport have come on line, has been a hoot, and a little frightening.
According to one interview I read with John Twelve Hawks, just after The Traveler was published, he has been concerned about this ever increasing intrusion into our personal privacy for a long time, and his personal concerns help to fuel the tension in the story. Random House has set up a website to support the books, and it is a series of news stories, blogs and links from around the world, dedicated to security, increasingly ubiquitous monitoring and privacy intrusion.
My sincere thanks to rbobbydray for the books. Its too bad the boy didn't want to listen. I think he may be growing out of the whole listening thing.