Touted as ‘the new Da Vinci Code’, this novel is, thankfully, much better than that, though I guess it shares some themes – secret societies, and the notion of a true history of the world which remains hidden from the general population.
The Travellers of the title are people born with the ability to travel out of the material realm as we know it into other dimensions. They’re seen as a threat and tend to be eliminated by the ‘Brethren’, who are keen to make the world as regulated and ordered as possible. Travellers are protected by a warrior group known as the Harlequins, and this book – the first of a trilogy, it seems – tells the story of a Harlequin called Maya trying to protect two could-be Travellers from the Brethren.
From that description, it might all sound a bit science-fictiony, but the book’s set pretty much in the present day (perhaps a few years in the future), with most of the trappings of today, and quite a bit of the paranoid-sounding stuff about surveillance and tracing people has its roots in current events.
It’s pretty well-written, even if plot requirements sometimes force characters to speak in exposition-ese, and there are some interesting twists. I mentioned above that it’s the first of a series, and rather irritatingly this isn’t really very clear from the cover, and I half-wonder if the themes (which will be familiar to anyone who’s seen The Matrix or read The Invisibles comic series) won’t feel a bit stretched over more than a couple of books. But I was sufficiently interested to make a mental note to keep a look out for the next book (in paperback, mind).
There’s a certain amount of internet hoo-hah about the author, as he apparently ‘lives off the grid’ like characters in the book, but I’ll take that with a bag of salt, frankly. Anyway, the book’s not bad, and if you want a dose of easily-absorbed conspiracy-laden reading, I’d recommend it.