"Sometimes I think all this talk about Travelers is just a fairy tale. What's real is that I walk around London and I see they've put up more surveillance cameras and I start to get desperate. In a thousand little ways freedom is melting away, and nobody gives a damn". (Jugger, a character in "The Dark River")
Last summer I wrote a short review of "The Traveler", the first part of a trilogy by mysterious author John Twelve Hawks (that's a nom de plume, and nobody knows who's behind it: JTH claims he lives "off-the-grid"), set in the near future and dealing with privacy and social control.
The second installment is just out, titled "The Dark River", and it's as compelling as the first.
In "The Traveler, JTH told of a powerful group of bad guys, the Tabula, set on controlling society through the creation of a "Virtual Panopticon", and of a few people called "Travelers" who have the ability to escape the system by projecting themselves (their neural energy) into other dimensions (what the author calls "realms"), hence representing a threat to the Tabula.
The whole, in a context that resembles very much today's world -- the growing social manipulation and control enabled by a "vast machine" of computer networks, surveillance cameras, sensors and biometric IDs, datamining software, etc, and fuelled by a spreading sense of fear.
In "The Dark River", JTH goes a step further in his denunciation, taking the main characters through a series of events that we could easily imagine happening in today's New York or London. In the course of the story, the resistance starts to organize itself (for, presumably, a showdown that will happen in the third installment). Despite a few redundancies, the writing is gripping and fluid and the story is a plausible and captivating read. A serious cautionary tale.