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  • gilwilson 8:44 PM on February 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , bafflegab, , britsh humor, , cosmic hobo productions, , , , scarifyers, torchwood   

    “The Scarifyers: The Thirteen Hallows” by Simon Barnard & Paul Morris 

    scarifyers 13 hallows

    “The Scarifyers: The Thirteen Hallows”
    by Simon Barnard & Paul Morris
    Multicast performance starring: David Warner, Terry Molloy, Gareth David-Lloyd, David Benson, Margaret Cabourn-Smith, Ewan Bailey, David Bickerstaff & Nick Scovell
    Produced by Cosmic Hobo Productions
    1 Hour 53 Minutes

    Before beginning the review of this book, I should explain a bit about how I determine which book will be read or heard next. I get many books sent to me to be reviewed either the physical book (either hardcover or paperback) an electronic version to read on my Kindle or audiobooks (which I get through faster due to the ease of listening and my long commutes). These books are sent by the publishers or the authors themselves. However, there is one website I go to when I want to pick out a good book just for myself. That site is the audiobookjukebox.com website. They have reviews of audiobooks from a variety of people (including myself) which I can browse through and find a book. What is even better for audiobook bloggers they have the “Solid Gold Reviewer” program in which bloggers can sign up and request specific books from a variety of publishers.

    This audiobook came from that program. I saw the listing and thought it looked interesting plus it was about two hours in length. I thought this would be a short fun book. All this was determined by the title and the cover picture. I had absolutely no idea what the book was going to be about or the quality, I was simply intrigued. So I get the audiobook, load it up on my iPod and I’m good to go. I had to wait a while before I got to it and one day I’m looking to start a short book and remembered this one. Within the first few minutes, I wondered why I didn’t start listening earlier, then remembered how I came across the book and that I didn’t know much about it. Immediately this book struck me as a cross between a Douglas Adams story and a Doctor Who adventure. The combination of humorous events and characters made for a great way to spend two hours listening to an audiobook.

    Once I started the book I didn’t want to stop, but as you know real life steps in and other things demand attention. During one of the as-few-as-possible breaks I decided to look more into this book and became more and more excited about what I had launched myself into. The Scarifyers series is an audio series on BBC radio and this title is the 8th in a continuing series. The voices were all great but what stood out for me in this audio were the voices of David Warner and Gareth David-Lloyd. While all the performers in this production were awesome and fun to hear, these two stuck out because I’ve been a fan of their work for a while, especially David Warner since his appearance in the movie “Tron.” Gareth David-Lloyd sticks out because I’m also a fan of the “Torchwood” television series and enjoyed his character in that series, Ianto Jones.

    Another thing I found fascinating is that “The Scarifyers,” is also a comic book series, along with the audio adventures. The stories are set in 1936 and 1937, they originally followed the exploits of DI Lionheart and ghost-story writer Professor Dunning, as played by Nicholas Courtney and Terry Molloy. David Warner replaced Nicholas Courtney after Courtney’s death in 2011.

    This production of “Thirteen Hallows” begins when a haunted chess set causes consternation at the British Chess Championships, and a horse magically materializes in Kettering Agricultural Museum, MI:13 are called to investigate.

    Harry Crow (David Warner) and Professor Dunning (Terry Molloy) follow the trail of inexplicable happenings to an unremarkable terraced house in South Wales, home to the mysterious Mr Merriman (David Benson). He’s very old, and very mad; that is soon learned to be an act and that Mr. Merriman is better known as, oh wait, no, I won’t spoil it, you’ll have to listen for yourself.

    Meanwhile, in the South West of England, famed archaeologist Ralegh Radford (Ewan Bailey) is on the verge of the greatest discovery of the age. Britain’s Tutankhamen, the press are calling it. But what he certainly isn’t expecting to unearth is boisterous 1400-year-old knight Glewlwyd Gafaelfawr (Gareth David-Lloyd) who is alive and confused at how much time has passed.

    As Crow and Dunning unravel an unlikely plot to resurrect Britain’s greatest-ever hero, King Arthur, the race is on to stop sinister forces, the Nazis from finding “The Thirteen Hallows of Britain.”

    Great acting, sound effects and humorous adventures make this audio performance one to add to your list of fun listening.

    • Jeff 12:04 AM on February 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you Gil, for the great comments about our site. We (Susan and me, it’s just the two of us) love to index blogger reviews of audiobooks and push them out to a large audience. The reviewer program (which we have phenomenal support from all sizes of publishers) has allowed us to make available hundreds of review copies of audiobooks of all genres to bloggers in a one-stop smorgasbord. I’m glad you liked this title. We sure thought it would be a great listening experience. –JEFF


  • gilwilson 9:36 PM on January 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , brian minchin, , gareth david-lloyd, , , , torchwood, ,   

    “Torchwood: The Sin Eaters” by Brian Minchin 

    “Torchwood: The Sin Eaters”
    by Brian Minchin
    Read by Gareth David-Lloyd
    Produced by BBC Audio / AudioGO (2009)
    2 hours and 11 minutes

    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.

  • gilwilson 9:39 PM on January 5, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: another life, , , , , , captain jack harkness, , , , second life, torchwood   

    Torchwood: Another Life by Peter Anghelides 

    Torchwood: Another Life
    by Peter Anghelides
    Read by John Barrowman
    Published by AudioGo / BBC Audiobooks
    Running Time: 3hrs 0mins

    So did you catch any seasons of Torchwood?  If so then you know how cool of a TV series it is.  The show is a spinoff from Doctor Who (in fact the title, Torchwood, is an anagram of Doctor Who) and features an “X-files” type team in Cardiff, Wales who fight every day to keep aliens from invading Earth.  The series is based on the idea that a rift in time and space runs directly through Cardiff and all sorts of nasty stuff is trying to get through.

    The first season of the series (which is where this audiobook takes place) features Captain Jack Harkness (portrayed by John Barrowman), a time traveller and con man from the 51st century who once was a companion in the TARDIS with the Doctor.  Captain Jack has a team that specializes in wrangling the aliens and using various alien technology to cover up their existence.  The team conists of Gwen Cooper, a Welsh police officer recruited to the team after seeing “too much,” Owen Harper, a medical doctor that is quickly learning the anatomy of many alien races,  Toshiko Sato, a computer specialist,  and Ianto Jones the coffee guy/front desk man and more (in this part of the series that’s all you really need to know, later in the series it was revealed why and how he became a part of the team.

    The series gained a larger and larger audience as each season aired mainly because of the well written stories, but also because of their open approach to Gay and Lesbian characters.  I found the series a nice sci-fi series that combined elements of Doctor Who and the X-files.  All the episodes had some great acting and great scripts and kept me interested until this last season which aired in the U.S. on the Starz network.  This last season moved what was left of the team (Gwen and Captain Jack) to the United States and for some reason the writing seemed to miss something.

    Anyway back to this book. Like I said, it takes place in the first season, so you get the full team, as the seasons progressed team members were lost with no replacement.  This book starts just about a month or so after Gwen is recruited and jumps into the action right away.  A massive storm is dumping rain on Cardiff with twenty-four inches of rain fall in twenty-four hours, the city center’s drainage system collapses, causing sever flooding and to make matter’s worse the homeless are being murdered, their mutilated bodies left lying in the soaked streets around the Blaidd Drwg nuclear facility.  Tracked down by Torchwood, the killer calmly drops eight stories to his death. But the killings don’t stop.  Torchwood soon discovers a sea-monster in a bathtub, stolen nuclear fuel from an army base and Torchwood’s doctor, Owen, goes missing.

    As it happens something is forcing its way through the rift in the bay causing the storm system and it is up to Torchwood to track down the alien before the “something” coming through the rift destroys Cardiff and possibly the world.

    The audiobook is read by the show’s lead actor John Barrowman and he delivers the story in the perfect Captain Jack Harkness way.  Harkness is a bit cocky and always sure of himself and Barrowman portrays that perfectly in the series and in this audiobook, without being a multi-cast audiobook, Barrowman was the perfect choice and succeeded in presenting the fun and action within the Torchwood world.

    Not sure about the future of the series, but if this audiobook is a reflection of the others available, I can still get my fix.

  • gilwilson 9:26 PM on June 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , john barrowman, , , torchwood   

    Torchwood Audio Dramas “Lost Souls” “Asylum” “Golden Age” “The Dead Line” Directed by Karen McAll 

    Torchwood Audio Dramas
    “Lost Souls”
    “Golden Age”
    “The Dead Line”
    Directed by Karen McAll
    each episode approx 1 hour.

    Once again I’m astounded by the creative sci-fi writing for British television.  I’ve been a fan of Doctor Who from way back.  Get past the what are now, and even then, considered cheesy special effects,  and you find some very smart writing in these series.  When the Doctor Who TV series experienced a rebirth back in 2005 I was wary.  I was afraid they would not be able to keep up with my image of Doctor Who, I was a huge fan of Tom Baker’s portrayal of the Doctor.  How could they keep up with the humor and the fun in space and time travel?  Well only recently I decided to give it a try.  I had six seasons to watch and I watched them all.  I was astounded. The writing was excellent and all of the new doctors kept the tradition alive.  David Tennant was my favorite of the New Doctors, since he was the closest to what Tom Baker brought to the character.

    The cool thing about the new series was that it launched two spin-off series. One was aired on CBBC (the children’s portion of BBC tv), “The Sarah Jane Adventures.”  This series focused on the longtime Doctor Who companion Sarah Jane Smith.  The adventures were more of a live action Scooby Doo series (sans semi-talking dog, unless you count K-9) It was a kids show but the Doctor made a couple of appearances and the aliens were all ones that were experienced on Doctor Who.   There was even a crossover episode of Doctor Who which featured Sarah and her alien hunting crew along with the crew of the other spin-off, “Torchwood.”

    This second spin-off series, “Torchwood,” was one that really got my attention.  “Torchwood,” is a series about alien hunters that were established by Queen Victoria in 1879.  The Doctor saved the Queen from a werewolf at the Torchwood Estate, in Scotland.  After the Doctor saves her she knights him and then banishes him and establishes Torchwood to keep out all aliens.  (Something note here; Torchwood is an anagram for Doctor Who.)  Later in the Doctor Who Series Torchwood blasts an alien ship out of the sky, which The Doctor had just made it’s passengers promise to never come to Earth again.  Going against the Doctor on this the British Prime Minister learns not to cross the Doctor.  In yet another episode of Doctor Who Torchwood is destroyed by the Daleks.

    The Torchwood team is led by Captain Jack Harkness,  who is a time agent and can never die.  He met up with Doctor Who early in the new series and several times there after.  After Torchwood is destroyed, Captain Jack rebuilds Torchwood because “The 21st Century is when Everything changes.”  He rebuilds the base in Cardiff, Wales, because there is a rift in time and space above/around Cardiff that aliens and time travelers find their way through.  His team’s job is to detain the arrivals or if possible send them back, keeping the world safe from aliens.     So far the series has run 3 seasons with a fourth one coming soon, according to rumor at the time of this writing.

    Set between the end of Series Two and the beginning of Series Three, the BBC aired four Torchwood radio dramas featuring the cast of the series, with the first airing September, 2008 and the last three July, 2009.  That is the focus of this review.  After I watched all of the new Doctor Who series and all the Torchwood series, I had to find more material.  There are other audiobooks available but I wanted to start out with these radio dramas.   They are available separately on amazon.com at last check.

    So, let’s talk about these audio dramas.  They all feature the full cast and are written just as well as the TV series.  If you want to continue in the Torchwood world it is best to start with these since they do feature the full cast.  They also include the same music as the TV broadcasts as well as phenomenal sound effects that blast you into the middle of the story.

    Here’s a summary of each episode:

    “Lost Souls” written by Joseph Lidster, begins with Captain Jack Harkness and his crew chasing weevils (annoying aliens that are constantly coming through the rift).  Jack gets a call from Doctor Martha Jones, a former companion of The Doctor, who needs his help at CERN.  Just hours away from a major discovery in particle physics people have gone missing.  Torchwood arrives to find that the people have a particle missing from their atoms and must save the Earth from something brought to our univers via the Hadron Collider.

    “Asylum” written by Anita Sullivan, is about a girl that comes from the future through the rift, she is caught shoplifting clothes and Torchwood is called in because of the weapon she’s carrying.  Turns out the young girl is from a bleak future and has a secret.  Why did she come back in time and more important who sent her?

    “Golden Age” written by  James Goss, tells the story of the Delhi branch of Torchwood which was closed down by Captain Jack Harkness back in 1924 yet the people inside are not only still receiving packages addressed to Torchwood but have also found a way to freeze time.  This can’t be good for planet Earth.

    “The Dead Line” written by Phil Ford is more of a haunting tale of a phone call you never want to receive.  People in Cardiff are winding up in the hospital after answering the phone and going into a coma.  When the call is traced the phone number is one that has not been connected since 1975.  When Jack answers one of those calls it is up to Ianto Jones and Eve Myles, the other two members of Torchwood to find answers.

    Four great sci-fi stories that will leave you wanting more.  You can always go back and watch the series and check out the other audiobooks based on the series.  Glad I could get you started.

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