Something has sealed off Cardiff, and living corpses are stalking the streets, leaving a trail of half-eaten bodies. Animals are butchered. A young couple in their car never reach their home. A stolen yacht is brought back to shore, carrying only human remains. And a couple of girls heading back from the pub watch the mysterious drivers of a big black SUV take over a crime scene.
Torchwood have to deal with the intangible barrier surrounding Cardiff, and some unidentified space debris that seems to be regenerating itself. Plus, of course, the all-night zombie horror show.
Not that they really believe in zombies.
This is the second Torchwood book I’ve read recently, and after my enjoyment of The House That Jack Built (review) it was only a short matter of time before I got into the next one on the shelf. I had a choice between this and Into The Silence, but when you’ve got zombies on offer there is very little you can do to turn them down! It was with great anticipation that I sat down to see how a zombie story could fit effectively into the Torchwood setting, and boy did I enjoy every minute of it!
The setting once again is Cardiff and although this is a Torchwood novel, you wouldn’t really notice it from the first few chapters. We get to see the zombie attacks from different viewpoints and start to follow other characters along with Jack, Ianto and Gwen. What’s good about the way the story is told is that Jack and Ianto are together, Gwen and Rhys and then further groups of different people. This really does help the story and I was extremely pleased with the way the novel unfolds.
Although this looks like a typical zombie attack, there is that Torchwood twist at the end and the reasoning behind everything is believable and realistic – well, at least as far as any typical Torchwood story is! The pacing is spot on and doesn’t slow much at all which makes for some adrenaline fueled scenarios and mad escapes. Of course, the zombie killing is gory in the only way zombie killing can be and Mark Morris has done a wonderful job at giving us what any decent zombie story should do.
I won’t go into too much detail about the characters, suffice to say that the main ones are exactly as expected and play their roles well. It was nice to see Gwen’s husband, Rhys, getting plenty of page time and he and Gwen played off each other really well, although Jack and Ianto weren’t quite up to the same standard but still work well. The supporting characters were more detailed than I expected and had a depth that was surprising, especially for those that weren’t on the page for more than a handful of times.
All in all, this is the best tie-in novel I’ve read and will probably be the best zombie novel I’ll read this year. Compared to Stephen King’s Cell, the last zombie novel I read, this is far superior and so much more fun! Highly recommended for both Torchwood fans and zombie lovers.