In The Traveler, John Twelve Hawks introduced readers to a dangerous world inspired by the modern technology that monitors our lives. Under constant surveillance of the ‘Vast Machine,’ a sophisticated computer network run by a ruthless group, society is mostly unaware of its own imprisonment. Gabriel and Michael Corrigan, brothers who were raised "off the grid," have recently learned they are Travelers like their long-lost father- part of a centuries-old line of prophets able to journey to different realms of consciousness and enlighten the world to resist being controlled. But power affects the brothers differently. As The Traveler ends, Gabriel hesitates under the weight of responsibility. Michael seizes the opportunity-and joins the enemy.
THE DARK RIVER opens in New York City with a stunning piece of news. Gabriel’s father, who has been missing for nearly twenty years, may still be alive and trapped somewhere in Europe. Gabriel and his Harlequin protector, Maya, immediately mobilize to escape New York and find the long-lost Traveler. Simultaneously, Michael orders the Brethren-the ruthless group that has been hunting Gabriel-into a full-scale search. Gabriel yearns to find his father to protect him; Michael aims to destroy the man whose existence threatens his newfound power. The race moves from the underground tunnels of New York and London to ruins hidden beneath Rome and Berlin, to a remote region of Africa that is rumored to harbor one of history’s greatest treasures. And as the story moves toward its chilling conclusion, Maya must decide if she will trade everything to rescue Gabriel.
A mesmerizing return to the places and people so richly portrayed in The Traveler, THE DARK RIVER is propelled by edge-of-the-seat suspense and haunted by a vision of a world where both hope and freedom are about to disappear.
Gabriel and his friends were living in New York City. A minister from Vicki’s church named Oscar Hernandez had arranged for them to stay in an empty industrial loft in Chinatown. The grocery store on the ground floor took sports bets, so the store had five phone lines—all registered in different names—plus a fax machine, a scanner, and a high-speed Internet connection. For a small payment, the grocer allowed them to use these electronic resources to substantiate their new identities. Chinatown was a good place for these transactions because all the shopkeepers preferred cash to the credit cards and ATM cards that were monitored by the Vast Machine.
The rest of the building was occupied by different businesses that used undocumented immigrants as workers. A garment sweatshop was on the first floor, and the man on the second floor manufactured pirated DVDs. Strangers walked in and out of the building
during the daytime, but at night everyone was gone.
The fourth-floor loft was a long, narrow room with a polished wood floor and windows at both ends. It had once been used as a factory for fake designer handbags, and an industrial sewing machine was still bolted to the floor near the bathroom. A few days after they arrived, Vicki hung painter’s tarps on clotheslines, creating a men’s bedroom for Gabriel and Hollis, and a women’s bedroom for herself and Maya.
Maya had been wounded during the attack on the Evergreen Research Center, and her recovery was a series of small victories. Gabriel could still remember the first night she was able to sit up in a chair to eat dinner, and the first morning she took a shower without Vicki’s help. Two months after they arrived, Maya was able to leave the building with the others, limping up Mosco Street to the Hong Kong Cake Company. She waited outside the street stall—wobbly, but determined to stand on her own—while an elderly Chinese woman made cookies like crepes on a black iron griddle.
Money wasn’t a problem; they had already received two shipments of hundred-dollar bills sent by Linden, a Harlequin who lived in Paris. Following Maya’s instructions, they created false identities that included birth certificates, passports, driver’s licenses, and credit cards. Hollis and Vicki found a backup apartment in Brooklyn and rented mail drops and postal boxes. When everyone in the group had the necessary documents for two false identities, they would leave New York and travel to a safe house in Canada or Europe.
Sometimes Hollis would laugh and call their group “the four fugitives,” and Gabriel felt as if they had become friends. On some nights, the four residents of the loft each cooked a dish for one big meal, then sat around the table playing cards and joking about who was going to wash the dishes. Even Maya smiled occasionally and became part of the group. Gabriel could lose his self-consciousness during those moments, forget that he was a Traveler and that Maya was a Harlequin—and that his ordinary life was gone forever.
* * *
On Wednesday night, everything changed. The group had spent two hours at a jazz club in the West Village. As they strolled back to Chinatown, a truck driver tossed bound stacks of a tabloid newspaper onto the sidewalk. Gabriel glanced down at the headline and stopped moving.
THEY KILLED THEIR KIDS!
67 Die in Arizona Cult Suicide
The front-page article was about New Harmony, where Gabriel had gone only a few months earlier to visit the Pathfinder Sophia Briggs.
They bought three different newspapers and hurried back to the loft. According to Arizona police, the killing was motivated by religious mania. Reporters had already interviewed the former neighbors of the dead families. Everyone agreed—the people living at New Harmony had to be crazy. They had left good jobs and beautiful homes to live in the desert.
Hollis skimmed through the article in the New York Times. “According to this, the guns were registered to the people who lived there.”
“That doesn’t prove anything,” Maya said.
“The police found a video made by a British woman,” Hollis said. “Apparently, she gave some kind of speech about destroying evil.”
“Martin Greenwald sent an e-mail to me a few weeks ago,” Maya said. “He gave no indication of any problems.”
“I didn’t know you heard from Martin,” Gabriel said with surprise, and he watched Maya’s face change. He knew instantly that she was hiding something important from them.
“Yes, well, I did.” Trying to avoid Gabriel’s eyes, she walked over to the kitchen area.
“What did he tell you, Maya?”
“I made a decision. I thought it was best—”
Gabriel stood up and took a step toward her. “Tell me what he said!”
Maya was close to the door that led to the stairway. Gabriel wondered if she was going to run away rather than answer his questions. “Martin received a letter from your father,” Maya said. “He asked about the people at New Harmony.”
For a few seconds, Gabriel felt as if the loft, the building, the city itself had vanished; he was a boy, standing in the snow, watching an owl fly in circles above the smoldering ruins of his family’s home. His father was gone, vanished forever.
Then he blinked and returned to this moment: Hollis was furious, Vicki looked hurt, and Maya seemed defiant about her decision.
“My father’s alive?”
“So what happened? Where is he?”
“I don’t know,” Maya said. “Martin was careful not to send that information over the Internet.”
“But why didn’t you tell me—”
Maya interrupted him, the words spilling out of her mouth. “Because I knew you’d want to go back to New Harmony and that was dangerous. I planned to return to Arizona myself once we left New York and you were at a safe house.”
“I thought we were in this together,” Hollis said. “No secrets. Everybody on the same team.”
As usual, Vicki stepped forward in her role as peacemaker. “I’m sure Maya realizes that she made a mistake.”
“You think Maya is going to apologize?” Hollis asked. “We’re not Harlequins, which means—in her mind—we’re not on her level. She’s been treating us like a bunch of children.”
“It was not a mistake!” Maya said. “All those people at New Harmony are dead. If Gabriel had been there, he would have been killed, too.”
“I think I have the right to make my own decisions,” Gabriel said. “Now Martin is gone and we don’t have any information.”
“You’re still alive, Gabriel. One way or the other, I’ve protected you. That’s my obligation as a Harlequin. My only responsibility.”
Maya turned, snapped the lock open, and stormed out of the apartment, slamming the door behind her.
Excerpted from The Dark River by John Twelve Hawks Copyright © 2007 by John Twelve Hawks. Excerpted by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.