Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: BBC Books (11 Jan 2007)
Category(ies): Science Fiction
The basic problem with attempting to review a book set in a shared universe is that the scene setting and the main characterisation have already been done, and are out of the author's control. But there is still plenty of scope for something horribly clunky to result, even so.
OK, so what happens here? Well, it starts off with some verve, as Jack and Owen on the one side, and James, Gwen and Toshiko on the other, have to cope with "a threat rating 27 on a scale of 1 to 10". Hmm, possibly a little exaggeration here? But Torchwood wouldn't be involved if there weren't major problems around (though there's quite a nice little scene in the middle where the team are checking all the current odd incidents, and realise there isn't anything to worry about that day, and that they can relax for a bit - of course, one of the unimportant happenings was actually important to the plot, but it's not a disaster that they don't know).
And Gwen is shagging James, and deciding to split up from the long suffering Rhys. Well, it makes a change from screwing around with Owen.
The major characters here are Gwen and James, with Jack, Toshiko, Owen and the ever-effacing Ianto further in the background.
Those who know Torchwood will recognise from the description above that there is something fundamentally wrong with the setup of this novel, and will be waiting to see how on earth it all resolves. Those who haven't watched the series will have a rather unexpected surprise. If I have a particular criticism, it would be the fairly two-dimensional character of Shiznay, an Indian (or Pakistani, or Bangladeshi) waitress at her parents' restaurant. She seems remarkably insulated from Welsh culture, despite being a third generation immigrant, and has allegedly never eaten any other cuisine. This does seem rather unlikely, no matter how sheltered she might be.
A Torchwood spin-off, and quite enjoyable.