Book Review of “Torchwood: Exodus Code” by John Barrowman & Carole E. Barrowman

Torchwood:  Exodus Code is a novel that takes place within the universe of the popular BBC (and Starz for the most recent series) television series TorchwoodTorchwood is a spinoff of the long-running classic series Doctor Who and continues the story of Captain Jack Harkness (portrayed by John Barrowman) after his adventures with the Ninth Doctor in the 2005 series.

Torchwood:  Exodus Code was released in the UK on September 13, 2012.  As of this time, it does not appear that you can purchase the book in the US.  I did some searching on Amazon’s US website and it does look as if you can purchase the Kindle version of the book and the audio CD.  However, I did not try to complete the transaction as I already purchased the book via Amazon UK, so I would love to hear from anyone who tries via the US site.

What makes Torchwood:  Exodus Code especially exciting is that it was co-written by Captain Jack Harkness himself:  John Barrowman.  John and his sister, Carole E. Barrowman, co-wrote this new Torchwood story.  This is not the first time that the siblings have collaborated in a writing venture.  Other titles include Anything Goes, I Am What I Am, and Hollow Earth (US release date of October 30, 2012).  John is most well known to American audiences for his work on the television shows Torchwood and Desperate Housewives.  He will soon be introduced in a recurring role on the hit hew show Arrow on the CW.  Carole E. Barrowman is a professor of English at Alverno College in Milwaukee, WI, crime fiction columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and reviewer for the Minnesota Star Tribune.  She also appears regularly on the Milwaukee NBC affiliate’s morning show to discuss books.

Fans of Torchwood last saw Captain Jack at the end of Torchwood:  Miracle Day, which aired in 2011.  The end of Miracle Day left fans eagerly waiting for more story.  As of this writing, there are no confirmed plans for another television series.  I know most of us are crossing our fingers in eager anticipation.

The story in Torchwood:  Exodus Code picks up after the events in Miracle Day, although the book begins with a scene back in 1930 in which we find Jack in Peru.  Jack and his friend Renso are enjoying a flight over the mountains when Jack suddenly falls ill.  He and Renso find themselves thrown into the midst of a bewildering encounter involving some of the local inhabitants.
We then return to present day Wales.  We find post-Miracle Day Gwen Cooper living in discontent as a stay-at-home mom with her toddler daughter, Anwen.  She blames her growing frustration and anger on her unhappiness with life post-Torchwood Institute, but begins to question herself after a series of violent outbursts in which she threatens those she loves the most.  It turns out not to be just Gwen; women in concentrated geographic clusters around the world are exhibiting the same troubling behavior.  Gwen is able to get a message off to Jack before being sedated in a psychiatric ward.

Upon Jack’s arrival in Wales, he desperately assists Rhys, Andy, and Gwen’s mother Mary in the mystery surrounding Gwen’s condition.  Between their investigation and information Jack is able to gain from other allies around the world, Jack finds himself being pointed towards to Peru once again.  It seems the mystery he encountered back in 1930 could be the key to unraveling the madness gripping the women in the current time.

In an effort to remain as spoiler-free as possible, I won’t delve into the plot any further than this.  Suffice to say, this is an adventure true to the Torchwood brand.  The return of Jack Harkness is music to the ears of any Torchwood fan.  I especially liked how he was written with more of the humor that we saw in the earlier runs of Torchwood.  I could practically see him winking and grinning with some of the lines he delivered in this book.  Gwen Cooper is another character I have seriously missed.  She is easily one of my favorite female characters in scifi; I can’t get enough of her attitude, and actress Eve Myles has always brought her to life in the most animated fashion.  I was also delighted to see the inclusion of Rex Matheson as well.  Rex was a pleasant surprise in Miracle Day and was left with a huge cliffhanger at the end of that series.  I was a bit disappointed that he was somewhat underused in Exodus Code, but I do like that his character was given a role that could easily be expanded upon in any possible future television series.

This is a book that I would highly recommend to any Torchwood fan.  It fits perfectly into the established Torchwood universe and I don’t think readers will be disappointed.  I hope this is just the first to come in a series of Torchwood novels by John Barrowman and Carole E. Barrowman.  Also, let’s all keep our voices heard at the BBC and Starz that we want more Torchwood on our television screens!