Border Princes, by Dan Abnett
This is one of three Torchwood
tie-in novels I got earlier this year (3 for 2, and book tokens left over from xmas). And in nice sort-of-hardback format, too.
Jack's still hard-nosed and keeps secrets. Ianto still makes the coffee and does little else. Tosh fiddles with computers. Owen's still a git. And Gwen is still cheating on Rhys. With James.Who?
James is another member of the Torchwood team. Hmm. Not expecting that
character to survive to the end, then. Although I also wondered whether this was an extra member brought in just for the tie-ins, and was in all of them. I dunno.
This takes a while to get going. The gang are dealing with something called the Amok, which drives everyone who holds it somewhat insane, while making everyone else nearby want
to hold it. It's all very Shaun of the Dead
, at first. Meanwhile, strange-but-polite Mr Dine is getting to know waitress Shiznay, and Taff Morgan has a secret in his potting shed.
Of all the characters, it's this last one that really comes to life. Abnett writes the old WWII veteran, lost in world of mean-spirited young folk, with pathos and respect. Compared to Taff, the main characters are very flat. But then, the series didn't exactly give him a lot to go on.
There are a few red herrings scattered about the plot. Or maybe I just didn't read it that well, but after getting to the end, I thought, "so what was that
bit in there for," more than once.
And it's better than that sodding cyberwoman episode.