Warner Bros. is looking for a new franchise starter in the novel The Traveler, which is the first in the Fourth Realm Trilogy written by a relatively mysterious author named John Twelve Hawks.

The book describes a world in which a small secret society known by many as The Tabula have achieved a sort of stability through total social control. The Tabula wants to create a fully monitored society in which everyone knows they’re being monitored, and acts accordingly. Technology plays a big part (surveillance cameras, centralized databases, citizen RFID tags, etc.) but there is a group called Travelers which rejects the control, and their grand opposition filters down to a couple of individuals whose lives intersect as the bigger conflict quietly takes place around them.

Here’s a very long recap of the first novel:

In the shadows of modern society an epic battle is fought. One woman is standing between those who try to control mankind and those who will risk their lives for the freedom of us all. On one side the Brethren, using high-end surveillance technology for control, supported by officials and politicians. On the other side the Travelers, the gifted ones, who are able to leave our realm and cross over into other realities. Because of their knowledge they are a great threat to the Brethren. The Travelers are supported by the Harlequins, a group only trained to defend the Travelers and to save them from the Brethren. Harlequins are trained since birth by their parents and other Harlequins. They are able to use all kinds of weapons, but their favored arm is a unique Harlequin sword they carry with them all the time.

In London, Maya, a young woman trained to fight by her powerful father, uses the latest technology to elude detection when walking past the thousands of surveillance cameras that watch the city. In New York, a secret shadow organization uses a victim’s own GPS to hunt him down and kill him. In Los Angeles, Gabriel, a motorcycle messenger with a haunted past, takes pains to live “off the grid” — free of credit cards and government IDs. Welcome to the world of The Traveler — a world frighteningly like our own.In this compelling novel, Maya fights to save Gabriel, the only man who can stand against the forces that attempt to monitor and control society. From the back streets of Prague to the skyscrapers of Manhattan, The Traveler portrays an epic struggle between tyranny and freedom. Not since 1984 have readers witnessed a Big Brother so terrifying in its implications and in a story that so closely reflects our lives.

Part of the hook with these books is the reclusive lifestyle of the author. John Twelve Hawks (often called J12H or JXIIH) is not Native American, as his name suggests. The name is a pseudonym chosen a few years ago, and the author has given only a very few interviews and has reportedly never met his editor in person. As the story goes, the communicate only via email and an untraceable satellite phone and voice scrambler. That’s all a good set of identity-defining tactics, at the very least.

None of that matters for the film, however. Deadline says that WB has just optioned the books, and there is no screenwriter in place yet, much less a script draft.

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