Torchwood: Exodus Code
Reviewed by D.J. Forrest
Written by John & Carole Barrowman
Hardback novel published in 2012 by BBC Books
Jack’s head weighed a ton on his neck, his eyes wouldn’t stop watering, and every nerve in his skin was on fire. Was he dreaming? Even his hair seemed to hurt. ‘I’ll do...some...some investigating, Renso. I’ll return when I know more.’
‘I don’t know, amigo,’ said Renso, glancing at Jack, holding his stare for a beat. ‘Perhaps this isn’t a place you should ever return to.’
‘You look like shit.’
Jack forced a smile. ‘Ah thanks. It’s the altitude or something I ate.’
‘Ha, very funny, my friend. When has flying ever bothered you? I’m taking us back to Castenado.’
‘Good, but then I want a closer look, Renso. I need to get into that mountain. I need to examine those rings.’
‘Not on my watch, Jack.’
‘Cause, my friend, your eyes are bleeding.’
Having read other Torchwood novels, not necessarily in order, Exodus Code was different, not just in the fact it had a different cover to the many others on my shelf, it was also larger and thicker and the cover had a sleeve, whereas others did not.
But whereas the other books read like novels, Exodus Code didn’t. It read like a movie.
But when you get past that, when you read it like a movie and not like a book it is absolutely bloody brilliant.
Captain Jack Harkness and the regular characters in the story, read and sound just like they do on the screen, but also the other people in the story, the flat and round characters are as believable and you do build up faces for them of the actors who would play them or should play them in your dream cast.
There are memorable moments within the novel, quite a few I singled out during the interview with the Barrowman’s. The boat cruiser for example, that just read like a scene in a film, so precise, so beautifully crafted, I couldn’t help but smile.
Jack’s moment of madness in the Hawker Hornet that cost him a life, the sensations he went through, the shortness of breath, when you read the book you suffer them too! I also had a hankering for peaches!
I read the book in 2012 which at that time had been forecast as being the ‘end of days’ so it was more poignant, and those of us who are nervous about such things, the scare factor was high throughout the story.
I loved every part of this story till I hit Chapter 73 then I doubled back because I felt I’d missed something, like a page or two. But checking it through, I hadn’t. As this is when I realised I hadn’t read a novel, I’d read a movie. Each chapter reads like a scene from a film and when you get past that, when you accept that this novel is made with a movie in mind, it makes the transition through the story to Chapter 73 much easier to accept, no checking in the binding for torn sheets.
I’ve not mentioned everything in the book, I’ve not mentioned the Ice Maiden crew, the crazy woman in the supermarket, Gwen having more than the odd moment because you have to read that, you have to find out what happens and how the world is put right.
I love Torchwood novels and I hope this isn’t the last novel we see, especially not by Carole and John Barrowman.