It’s a shame to find myself saying it but I didn’t enjoy Border Princes anywhere near as much as the other two titles (Another Life, Slow Decay) in the range.
The biggest problem is the inclusion of a character called James who – unless I fell deaf at a key moment – is a Torchwood team member with no meaningful introduction and, given his not seen on TV, no past relationship with the listener.
Such is the focus on this character that it doesn’t seem like 4 sentences pass without his name being spoken by a character or Eve Myles who handles the narration duties here.
The almost casual ease with which Gwen starts to cosy up to him is especially unfortunate given her onscreen trysts with Owen and this has the unfortunate effect of making her seem, to keep the site family friendly, somewhat ‘loose’.
Personally when I read or listen to a TV tie-in I want to encounter familiar characters and settings so for me the focus on the James character is really unwelcome especially as it leads to the sidelining of some of the TV regulars, especially Ianto who is relegated to the status of a background character here.
Sadly I found it hard to engage with the story because of the inclusion of this ‘major’ character who, because this is based on an ongoing TV series, I suspected wouldn’t be around at the story and couldn’t really muster up much interest in or affection for.
Reading the author notes included in the case it seems the stories were conceived very early on in Torchwood’s life which may explain some of the above issues but at the end of the day this doesn’t feel like Torchwood as seen on TV or portrayed in the other two novels/audiobooks.
Ultimately if you’re only looking to buy one of the Torchwood audiobooks and want something which feels like the TV series this isn’t the title for you.
Torchwood: Border Princes, Another Life and Slow Decay and were released on 2nd April by BBC Audiobooks.