"Another Life" novel
written by Peter Anghelides
Reviewed by Dawn Christoffersen
Published in 2007 by BBC Books
Cover design by Lee Binding
Vagrants around Cardiff are found dead, their neck chewed through to the spine. A man throws himself off a building with no regard to his own life, uttering "See you soon" to Captain Jack Harkness. Only when he's falling to his death does he begin to scream in fear. Meanwhile at the military base nuclear fuel rods go missing, and it starts to rain, and rain, and rain. Somehow this is all connected, and it's up to Torchwood to find out what's going on before Cardiff drowns in a storm the city hasn't seen the likes of before.
Anghelides has a very assured way of writing. There really isn't any superfluous lines or paragraphs that make you fast forward or skim the pages. It's descriptive but has a steady forward moving plot all the way through. He also has a great grasp of the characters' voices and there is a great deal of funny banter and snark that's in line with the tv show. Especially Jack is spot on as he can be both charming and seemingly harsh.
The story takes place during the first few episodes of the tv show, specifically before Cyberwoman, and Gwen is still struggling with understanding and trusting him, which creates a nice bit of tension at times.
His writing style isn't expository, which I personally think is a huge plus, as it can often kill the narration. Some things are deliberately left vague, or are referencing something seen on the tv show that you'll just have to remember to get it, or they're foreshadowing something that will happen later and not necessarily in this book. A small detail I really enjoyed was that Ianto is sometimes mentioned doing his own research in the basement. At one point he even glances nervously along a corridor towards something unspecified. We're not told why, but having seen the episode Cyberwoman that this story precedes, we as readers are aware of what's going on with him, even if the rest of the team isn't. It's a really neat trick to making the reader feel clever.
"Another Life" is also released as an abridged audio book narrated by John Barrowman. But do yourself a favor and read the book to get the whole feel of it, because it is worth it.