Release Date: June 18, 2009
Publisher: BBC Audiobooks LTD.
Description: Alien larvae in a baptismal font mark the beginnings of a terrifying adventure for the “Torchwood” team in this exclusive audio adventure, read by Gareth David-Lloyd. Searching for the source of a bizarre Rift reading, Gwen, Jack and Ianto find a corpse on the beach, his face covered in hundreds of tiny cuts. Watching from the shadows is a man in black…The Reverend Hayward thinks he has found a way to take away people’s sins. The trouble is, his special baptisms tend to take away their lives too. For the creatures he collects and puts in his church font are nightmarish parasites, feeding on their hosts’ negative emotions before consuming them. It is up to Torchwood to track them down and destroy them…Written specially for audio by Brian Minchin, the “Torchwood” TV series assistant producer.
Review: This is one of the few Torchwood stories I had not yet heard or read, probably because the audio exclusives are harder to find than the regular audiobooks or novels.
It is also the weirdest one I have ever heard, and for the most part I don’t think that’s a good thing. If it weren’t for Gareth David-Lloyd’s narration I’m not sure I would have liked it as much as I did. Just as when he plays Ianto on the show, Gareth is able to add extra levels and nuance with the way he speaks (and on screen with the extra emotional looks on his face). He has a way of clueing you in that there’s more below the surface of what he’s saying, making some of the more ridiculous moments have a bit more weight.
That being said, Ianto’s character is written pretty badly for this, which is a shame as he’s my favorite. He’s just plain goofy. Engaging the SUV’s rocket boosters for no reason (really?), using the untested aquatic capabilities of said SUV and drowning it (what?), and dropping cats down the invisible lift (why such an asshole, Ianto?), it all just seems very out of character for him. More like stuff Owen would do rather than Ianto. The ridiculous prompted these comments from me, as I could not just sit there listening to this silently.
Speaking of the American accent Gareth gives Jack… well I’m not really sure. It’s like it’s almost there but not quite. Like he’s never really properly heard the typical midwestern American accent (which I know he has because he hangs around John Barrowman, who adopted the accent as a child). But it’s also not awful, it’s obviously not truly American but it doesn’t sound super fake either. You can just tell there’s something off.
The rest of the story is ok, it’s another religious audio storyline. Pretty sure they already did that with Into the Shadows but whatever. It’s a bit gross, alien bugs and all, so perfect for Torchwood/Doctor Who fans who love the more horroresque episodes. Really, Gareth’s reading (and accent) save this story from being bland and all kinds of wrong character wise. Thank god for the Welshman.
Are you a Torchwood fan? Heard this one before? What did you think of this one? Share your thoughts or Doctor Who/Torchwood love in the comments.