One of the things that attracted me to the television series and audiobooks of “Torchwood” (besides being a “Doctor Who” spin-off) was that they could combine several genres into each and every episode, and, as I’m finding out, the books and audio releases. The writers of this series are able to blend in Lots of sci-fi (of course) with some horror, drama, comedy and every once in a while a bit of romance. The latter doesn’t grab me as much as the others, but hey, it’s there. This story definitely weaves in the horror.
A little background on the Torchwood series is needed here, especially since this story takes place right about the middle of the Torchwood series timeline. This story takes place just before the third season of the four seasons that were broadcast, so far. Torchwood is a super secret not quite government agency that basically saves the Earth from aliens. Their base is in Cardiff, Wales which also happens to be the location of a rift in time and space from which aliens are always appearing and threatening humanity, sometimes intentionally and sometimes just accidentally slip through the rift. The series originally started out with five team members but by the end of season two, two of the members had died, leaving only Captain Jack Harkness, the head of Torchwood, Ianto Jones the admin of the agency, now serving in a more prominent function since the loss of the other two members, and Gwen Cooper, former cop. That’s when this book takes place, sometime just before season three.
Gwen, Jack and Ianto are investigating some bizarre rift readings (which usually means something is coming through) when they discover a corpse on the beach, the body is clothed in a WWII navy uniform and the body’s face is covered in hundreds of tiny cuts. They get the body back to the Torchwood base and discover small items within each of the cuts that appear to be egg sacs of sorts. Further investigation reveal that the egg sacs hatch into small larvae that look like small shrimp.
At this same time, Rhys, Gwen’s husband, awakes after a night of debauchery at a friend’s bachelor party to discover his friend, the groom is missing. When he goes to the groom’s home and finds the mother of the groom dead, he calls Gwen. Gwen and Rhys set off to find the groom after Gwen decides the disappearance and the larvae may be tied together.
Also at this same time, the Reverend Hayward has found a way to take away people’s sins. By placing small creatures (larvae?) into the baptismal font that take away the peoples sins, the problem is the creatures feed on the negative emotions and eventually totally consume their hosts. But this does not stop the reverend in his quest to free humanity of its sins.
Jack and Ianto discover, in the bay, a sunken ship teeming with the larvae. The larvae are caring for their “queen” who has enough larvae to destroy all of humanity. Now only Torchwood with their, better than Bond gadgets, and alien fighting wit must race with time to save the world from these “sin-eaters.”
In a well told story that combines horror, sci-fi, and some good comedic relief Torchwood and it’s operatives will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
This audiobook is read by Gareth David-Lloyd, who portrays Ianto Jones in the series. He does a fantastic job of delivering the drama and even impresses with his voicing of the different characters. In fact, his voicing of Captain Jack, is spot on, at times I thought I was hearing the voice of John Barrowman, the actor who portrays Captain Jack Harkness. His voicework and the nice dramatic music for effect make this audiobook a complete adventure.