Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Exodus code by John and Carole E. Barrowman

Torchwood is a shadow of what it once was - the only ones left are Jack and Gwen, and they are no longer working together as a functioning team.  Now a stay at home mum with little Anwen, Gwen's days are full of the mundane day-to-day tasks of shopping, feeding Anwen, and kept their home.  It is a far cry from the action packed days with Torchwood, and occasionally she has moments where she misses the excitement and action of tearing round the streets of Cardiff in the Torchwood SUV with Jack, Ianto, Owen, and Tosh - but those days are long gone, or are they?  At the supermarket Gwen discovers a woman who seems to be suffering from a mental breakdown, complaining about the noises around her that no one else seems to be hearing.  Gwen tries to help but ends up getting into trouble herself - in more ways than one.

It soon becomes clear that something is happening to not only Gwen and the woman from the supermarket, but also to women in different parts of the world.  For no apparent reason women are hurting themselves and the people around them, leaving the dead and maimed in their path as they react to things that they are seeing, hearing, and feeling.  As more and more women show symptoms Jack suddenly reappears in Gwen's life, struggling to remember something buried deep inside his memory - a memory triggered by what is happening to women, something connected to a memory from his time spent in Peru in 1930.  As the "masochistic madness" affects more women, Jack realises that he is going to have to revisit his past if he wants to save the future.

I love the original Torchwood series (here read series one and two as the original series) and one of the driving forces of the series is the mystery of Captain Jack Harkness, a character that at times seems completely devoid of passion and humanity as she destroys one being, while seeming to be a tortured soul with his heart on his sleeve when he fails to save another being.  Gwen Cooper is the other driving force of Torchwood, a huge dose of common sense and can-do-attitude who often brings Jack back from the brink of doing something heinous.  Brought back together in Exodus code, it "felt" like a genuine episode of the series, almost like a script that escaped the writers room to end up as a book instead - at times I could hear the voices of Captain Jack and Gwen (especially when she starts a sentence with "Jack"). 

One of the interesting things about Exodus code, and one of the things that really kept me absorbed in the story is the amount of connection you have with Captain Jack Harkness and the emotions and thoughts that run through his mind - in the series he is often difficult to read and it is only the extremes of emotion that you tend to see, but here you really connect with him and what he is going through.  I loved this book and spent an afternoon reading it because I didn't want to put it down, I wanted to finish reading the story to see how it ended and I was not disappointed.  The writing partnership between John and Carole E. Barrowman is amazing, and I hope (really, really hope) that they add to the Torchwood universe with some more novels because Exodus code was everything you hope for in a television series tie-in and nothing you hope its not.  A fantastic read.

If you like this book then try:
  • Torchwood: First born by James Goss
  • Something in the water by Trevor Baxendale
  • X-files: Ruins by Kevin J. Anderson
  • X-files: Antibodies by Kevin J. Anderson
  • X-files: Skin by Ben Mezrich
  • Doctor Who: The kings dragon by Una McCormack
  • Doctor Who: Nuclear time by Oli Smith

Reviewed by Brilla

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