BBC Books, out 13 September
Jack can’t remember key events from his past and Gwen Cooper is going mad. Who can the world turn to when all hell begins to let loose?
After Miracle Day, any new Torchwood series would need to be on a suitably grand scale, and any future producers could do worse than use John and Carole E. Barrowman’s novel as a starting point. Structurally, it would need some modification – a linear telling would suit a screen version, whereas the jumping backwards and forwards in the book works well – but it ticks all the Torchwood boxes
We’re presented with a threat that specifically targets Wales, which then becomes global in scope; a storyline that allows the relationship between Jack Harkness and Gwen Cooper to be at its centre, yet not be defined solely by that; a sexual element to events – and for once, it’s not just there gratuitously; and the odd reference back to Doctor Who (this time, a Tom Baker story).
As you’d expect from John Barrowman, the characterisation of Jack Harkness is spot on, and the brother and sister writing team have also got Gwen, Rhys and Andy Davidson right. Some of the other characters introduced in Miracle Day make an appearance, although, possibly deliberately, there’s no pick-up on the aftereffects of the closing scene of the most recent series.
Bearing in mind what’s going on, you might expect an appearance by Martha Smith (or Jones) or UNIT, but that’s not to be. There’s also not the flashbacks to the original Torchwood team that we’ve come to expect from the recent Torchwood tales (apart from a rather similar set of reminiscences from Jack and Gwen at different times) – but these are things you notice once you’ve finished, rather than as the fast-paced tale unfolds.
Verdict: Setting apart the rather rushed ending, this is a well-told continuation of the Torchwood mythos. More please. 7/10