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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars

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A novel based on the tv show Torchwood, telling an all new story for the characters which didnt previously appear in any other form.

This was published in 2008, and is set somewhen between the end of the first series of the show, and the mid point of the second.

It runs for two hundred and forty nine pages, and is divided into eighteen chapters and a prologue.

As with all Torchwood, it does contain adult moments so it's not for younger readers.

It starts in 1953, when dock workers are unloading a mysterious crate. Which explodes. Killing all of them bar one, a man called Michael.

Fifty five years later, and Michael is somehow inside the Torchwood vaults. And people start to remember him. Jack best of all.

Something very strange has happened to Michael's timeline. And strange people are after him because of that....

This has very readable prose from the off, and does a decent job in bringing all the supporting characters created specifically for the book to life. The regular characters are all perfectly recreated for the printed page with dialogue you can imagine the actors saying.

It does get to do those characters as well, adding little details and past memories that don't feel out of place compared to tv episodes.

Once it becomes apparent what's going on and what the book is trying to do, you do think it's really rather clever.

But then you're left waiting for a really big moment that never quite comes. The trouble is that the nature of the plot and the storyline means it's not the most linear tale, or one with a plot waiting to be solved by current actions of current characters. Only in the final quarter does it really click with a detailed look at Jack's part in things. But again that's not something that has a plot to be resolved.

A quick little scene at the end tries to give it some oomph in that way. But it's the character moments that are more memorable.

Well written and readable enough to be worth four stars, but plot wise not the most memorable of these.
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on 2 April 2008
Having read all of the original Torchwood novels published to complement the TV series, I have found them to get better and better. I often think that they would make good television stories and this novel in particular could be a cracker with today's special effects. Michael is an enigma - how does he know the Torchwood team, why does he think he's travelling in time and who are the sinister 'men in bowler hats' who seem to know exactly when and where he's going to be at any given time and who will stop at nothing to track him down..?
David Llewellyn has produced another fast-paced, imaginative and unputdownable read; let's hope there are many more to come.
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on 26 March 2008
Many novels accompanying TV series have a problem: sometimes they offer "background information" on the characters that doesn't fit the ongoing storylines of the show; or you strike on the idea that the author of the book has never seen a bit of the show, because he obviously writes about whole different characters.
Good thing to say: this book's not like that. Mr. Llewellyn manages to find just the right words, I found it great fun to read (not to mention that it's a pretty captivating story).

The story is set around Michael, a young man from 1953 Cardiff, who gets intangled in a series of events that (of course) bring Torchwood to the scene. The book mostly concentrates on Jack's connection with Michael. So if you're a fan of Gwen-, Owen- or Tosh-centred stories this might not be your favourite. They all have their moments (chapters), but overall they're minor characters in this one. Ianto/Jack-fans on the other hand will have a field-day, because this is a novel where his relationship with Jack doesn't get ignored by the author (no adult content of course, but some beautifully written scenes).

In the show's timeline I guess the story is situated somewhere shortly after the beginning of season 2 - Jack/Ianto is pretty obvious, but Owen's still alive, Gwen seems not to be married yet...

To outline it in brief: I would recommend this to Torchwood fans who appreciate an intriguing plot, like Jack-centred stories and don't care if the rest of the team is left out in the cold a bit.
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on 18 April 2008
This book is a bit different than the other Torchwood novels I know because the actual main character is a time traveller called Michael. Michael is a very intriguing character who became a continuous time traveller by an accident that is linked to Torchwood. From the beginning I was wondering what will become of him and I was kept wondering until the end of the book. I like it that the answer is somewhat open to interpretation. Maybe Jack managed to break the cycle Michael is stuck in but maybe not. But even if he did, I don`t think Jack was able to finally free Michael. I very much cared for that tragic character and although I would have wished a happy end for him I think the author made the right choice.

What I like is that this book uses the opportunity when exploring the accident and its consequences to reveal more about Torchwood`s past and the history of the main characters. If the author wanted to, he could easily write a sequel. I would welcome it if the does but maybe it is better to leave the reader wondering and wanting more.
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on 14 July 2014
(Review written by my son aged 15)
Initially, I ended up just reading the blurb of this book and very nearly dismissing it, mainly because I didn’t find it the most interesting idea for a Torchwood story. It also vaguely reminded me of some of the TV stories such as “Ghost Machine” and “To The Last Man” (which I have to admit aren’t my favourite stories). However, I looked at the cover and for some reason, my mind became 50-50. If you hate this book, you can’t deny that the cover is probably one of the best in Torchwood book series. Therefore, I decided to give it a shot.

After reading it, I’m really placed in two minds about this book. There are some great points to make about it and some bad ones. Let’s save the best until last and look at the bad points first.

Let’s kick off with the fact of inconsistent pacing. For this story to make sense, David Llewellyn needs to write a series of flashbacks to explain current events. However, these flashbacks take place at different times during the book and last for different times. The effect this has can make the reader feel like they’re reading multiple books in one, and they can sometimes lose track on what’s happened so far in the book. Secondly, the ending feels a bit off. Trying not to spoil it, the ending actually takes place in a flashback. After the flashback, we get a few more pages of pointless events in the present.

Now onto the good points. I love the main villains of this book! The two men in bowler hats that you can see behind Jack on the front cover are the main villains and look great. They are exactly the kind of villains I would like to see appear on the TV series, because sadly they don’t that much here, and they have so much more potential. Also, as I said earlier, ‘Trace Memory’ relies greatly on flashbacks and about 75% of it are flashbacks. These flashbacks thankfully take place around the earlier years of the Torchwood team. Jack’s flashbacks take place in the 60s, Owen’s are when he was an NHS doctor, Gwen’s are when she was in the police force, Toshiko’s are when she was a child in Japan and Ianto’s are when he was a member of Torchwood One. All of these flashbacks allow us to learn more about the main characters and flesh them out a bit more. Toshiko’s flashback is my favourite, but mainly because she’s my favourite character as well.

In conclusion, ‘Trace Memory’ isn’t as strong as David Llewellyn’s other Whoniverse book, “The Taking of Chelsea 426” and is one of the weaker stories. The pacing is inconsistent and sometimes confusing. However, the villains are great, as are the flashbacks. Worth a read after you’ve finished some other books in the Torchwood range.
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on 30 January 2009
If you had asked me a couple of months or even weeks ago if I would ever read a Torchwood book I would have said `as if' I certainly didn't think I would have enjoyed it. However as part of work, as part of being a fan of the show and of being a fan of the author I decided that I would give a TV Book a go.

David Llewellyn has already written a novel, the great `Eleven' which is a tale of the reactions to 9/11 from some office workers points of view via email. He is something of a new talent I firmly believe and has a new novel `Everything is Sinister' out later this year. So onto `Trace Memory' I have not read any of the other books so cannot compare it to them and am writing as if you don't know the show.

Captain Jack Harkness is the head of Torchwood Cardiff and his team who deal with all things `unusual' from fairies to aliens, from the living dead to... you get the drift. The book starts in 1950 when a cargo ship arrives in Cardiff bay its contents for the Torchwood Institute; it explodes killing all but one Michael Bellini. Cut to the present day and Michael Bellini appears in the Torchwood Vaults only that's not all, every member of the Torchwood team has a memory involving Michael Bellini in their pasts from many different periods in time and he always looks almost the same.

If you are going to dip into science fiction then I would say this is a perfect way to start and if you are a fan of Doctor Who or Torchwood then you won't go wrong with this novel, in fact I am sure you will lap it all up. The same applies to those of you who know nothing about Torchwood as Llewellyn gives some really good insight and backgrounds on every member of the Torchwood team. A must read for fans, a good read for anyone else.
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on 25 February 2011
I was really surprised all the other reviews were so kind to Trace Memory.

Based around Michael's character jumping around through time, I bet you're thinking 'oh aye, this sounds interesting, time travel and the like'. It's really not that exciting.

Take out all the dodgy flashbacks explaining where the Torchwood crew have met Michael before - which are quite haphazardly shoe-horned in and not really particularly relevant in any way other than letting the other characters show their faces, and there's not a great deal of story that lays behind it. All the components are there, but the pace isn't. Mix that with the cliche that as Michael has met Jack, he inevitably turns out to be a latent homosexual which, once out in the open, completely changes his dialogue to that of a Mills & Boon style damsel. Maybe a mad ditch to try a get some extra story in there?

To be honest, with the whole of time and space, as many universes as you can think of plus a cast of already strong characters waiting to be used, this crawls on it's belly over the finish line.

Actually that's probably a bit unfair, the story does get going, but then just as you think it's all going to kick off, your at the acknowledgments page.
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on 9 May 2011
This was really interesting to read, and not just because this was the first Torchwood book that I read. The characters were portrayed very well, and as I read on, I got that same sense of adventure and mystery as in the original series.
There's a sense of a background story about all the main characters in this, even about Toshiko and Owen, which I really loved. And even thought the story tells things about the whole team, it doesn't really leave anyone aside, and Ianto is there too. Maybe the strongest character in the book is Jack, but he is the team leader after all.
The monsters were really creepy, and the time travelling effect that the book had was really well written. I would really recommend this to any Torchwood fans, even to those who haven't yet read any of the previous or next books. This one will get you hooked on these. ;)
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on 16 September 2012
This has little of the humour of previous novels but this is a refreshing change.The story of Michael a reluctant time traveller, gives us more of Jack's background and is ultimately quite a sad tale. Once again Jack is at the centre of the plot although all the original team feature and they are all true to character, something which is not always the case in a series written by different authors. This is a very enjoyable story and gives us some memorable villians as well as more insight into the double edged sword of jack's immortality.
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on 9 January 2013
I thought this book was a really great book but I could help thinking there was something missing. The storyline was good most of the way through and I loved how Ianto was portrayed as bit more laid back and the "bondathon" thing gave a bit more depth but I think Jack and Ianto' s relationship would have done well if more was added to it! The ending was disappointingly weak but I did enjoy the majority of the book!
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