Trace Memory (Torchwood, #5)
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Trace Memory (Torchwood #5)

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  589 ratings  ·  59 reviews
Tiger Bay, Cardiff, 1950: A mysterious crate is brought into the docks on a Scandinavian cargo ship, the Kungssangen. Its destination: The Torchwood Institute. As the crate is offloaded by a group of local dockers it explodes, killing all but one; a young Butetown lad called Michael Bellini. Fifty-eight years later a radioactive source somewhere inside Torchwood leads the...more
Hardcover, 251 pages
Published March 27th 2008 by Random House (UK)
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Community Reviews

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In 1953, four men agreed to come late to the docks and take one crate from a Swedish ship. A huge explosion leaves only one, Michael Bellini, alive. The item that was in the crate ended up in Torchwood vaults. Present day: this same Michael Bellini ends up cowering in the Torchwood basement. He wears the same 1950s clothes and he keeps talking about men in bowler hats who seem to follow him everywhere. Soon all of them realize they have seen this man sometime in their past. The rest of the book...more
Keri Payton
(From my blog: Quill Café)

In accordance with the FTC, I would like to disclose that I purchased this book. The opinions expressed are mine and no monetary compensation was offered to me by the author or publisher.

Michael Bellini is just a local docker doing his job, until the crate he is meant to be retrieving explodes and kills his three co-workers. Soon he is transplanted into different places in time, with one particular memory. The label on the crate read: Torchwood.

In present day, Torchwood...more
May 10, 2010 Kate rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: sci-fi
I haven't been impressed with the Torchwood novels, but I really enjoyed this one. The story is cleverly written, and the characters are true to their TV form. The author didn't forget that one of the reasons people love Torchwood so much is due to the characters' complex relationships, not just the action scenes and goofy innuendos. It was a good blend of all.

Also, this book was properly edited! Can't say that for its predecessors.
One of the best Torchwood novels I've read so far. It started out on a boring Sunday, even for the Torchwood team, approaching as close to normal-life as they ever get, and of course that's interrupted. It became a haunting and melancholy story, exploring a bit of what it's like to have to live non-linearly - a huge, exhausting burden it seems, and I would tend to agree. The Japanese fairy tale was executed quite well, I feel, and each of the vignettes, as novels have a tendency to do, opened up...more
Oh, I really liked this. A lot. It was just quiet and haunting and sad and lovely. I liked the way the narrative was set up, floating in and out of time. The look at Torchwood 1 was terrifying, honestly. The characterization was exactly spot on, and the Jack/Ianto moments were perfect. I love their relationship, and love that Ianto is the one he confided in. Oh, and Jack and Michael. Those boys broke my heart. I really liked the glimpse of Jack in the past, and all of the main character bits, es...more
Daniel Kukwa
Now this is the type of story I really enjoy. My favourite "Torchwood" trope -- the flashback -- is used to wonderful effect. Glimpses into everyone's past, more insight into Jack's long journey through the 20th century, and a beautiful sense of melancholy and love that permeates the best "Torchwood" stories, both televised and in prose. Extra bonus points for preempting Steven Moffat's idea of the Whipermen...except these aliens are more terrifying. This is easily my favourite of David Llewelly...more
I really liked this Torchwood tie-in. It definitely had the feel of an actual episode. In fact, I was definitely wishing this had been an episode while I was reading it. You really feel for the main character caught in the time loop at the heart of the story. Like most Torchwood stories, this one is about human tragedies, fates that can't be avoided, good people in sucky situations and so on. It's all handled with great empathy. On the not-super sad end, I really enjoyed getting to see a bit of...more
Craig Andrews
An excellent book that would have made an awesome episode featuring a man who becomes unstuck in time (very similar to Babylon 5 plot).
Jules Jones
Fifth Torchwood tie-in novel, and the middle one of the trio released for the second season. This one has a couple of references which place it late in second season, but no spoilers, and you don't need to know anything but the basics about the universe to enjoy it.[return][return]Michael Bellini's a Cardiff dockhand, part of a workgang waiting to unload a ship late one night in 1953. A ship whose cargo includes a crate marked "Torchwood". A strange explosion leaves him in hospital, the only one...more
Oooh, one's gotta love this.

This book is more slowly paced than previous ones, but certainly not for lack of things happening there. You might think it set of stories that are connected to each other,skipping through time and character, eventually painting painfully beautiful scenery in front of you.

Things to love here: Ianto's sass, his James Bond marathon, Owen's Janet, T3 hub, Jack.
I just really enjoyed reading this. :)
Seth Tucker
A fantastic story from Torchwood. This one delves into the past of all the characters, especially Jack, as a man appears in TOrchwood and all the others have met him in their past and yet, he hasn't met them. This book was very reminiscent of Torchwood's bleaker tone than its parent show Doctor Who. All in all it is a good book and a fitting ending to the story.
This was an enjoyable outing with the Torchwood gang. The story presented is an interesting twist of The Forever Man motif. It's not Steinbeck, but it's a fun read for fans of the show. Unlike many Doctor Who/Torchwood fiction (including other works by this author) the story doesn't overstay its welcome or disintegrate with a quarter of the book to go.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This was the best Torchwood book so far. It's told in a very different style and concentrates on the characters rather than action. There was just the right amount of mystery, action, and drama.
Megan M
This is by far my favorite Torchwood book. It has all I ask for and want in a Torchwood novel. This story would have made a fantastic TV episode.

We learn more about each character's background before they became an employee at Torchwood. We even find out info about old school Torchwood and its members and operations. The story is just so intriguing and keeps your interest the whole way through and makes you think. There are time jumps, but you understand them very quickly. You won't be lost.

I really enjoyed this one. The story centered around Michael, a young man shook loose in time by a mysterious explosion. He encounters each of the members of Torchwood at some point in there past, which gives the reader a nice glimpse into events that are either ignored or barely touched upon in the show. The voices of the characters ring true to what we seen in the show, which is definitely not true of all of the books. We get our closest look at Jack, whose story is most closely entwined with...more
Barbara Huskey
Fun to revisit the members of Torchwood. I still miss the show a lot but this read like an episode and I enjoyed it.
Aug 25, 2008 Heather rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one, really
i wish these books were half as good as the episodes, and not such lame pretenders to the throne of torchwoodyness. i thought the last t-book (another life) i read was mediocre...this was worse, and i think because it tried too hard. the different vantage points, story lines, just left it feeling fractured and flat. the only depth in this story was the michael-jack thread; if the author had chosen to focus here, instead of trying to cover everyone, i think it would've made for better reading.

Anyway so yeah another Torchwood book. I like this was one, it was good and as it falls within the range of the second season dealt more with the slash elements of this series then books from within the first season do. Over all I thought this story was good, though I did not think that this author did as good with some of the characterizations as some of the others have done. Still it was well written and interesting. If you are looking for a fun, adventure with some slash thrown in this book i...more
This story is like those Russian dolls toys. Each "pieces of Michael's story" hide another piece until you get to the little tiny doll "story" at the heart of the novel. Jack's piece of Micheal's story.

I liked this one. If only because it gave us a glimpse of Jack that the show hasn't yet. But.. you need to know the show to appreciate the novels even more in this one because there are a lot of things that aren't said but that you know and impact on the narrative (like Ianto and Jack's relations...more
2.5 stars. It was an interesting plot, but Llewellyn doesn't really capture the voice of the series and its characters. I would have enjoyed it more were I not a Torchwood fan. (O, irony.) Still, it was an enjoyable enough read and quick, so no real complaints, just nothing to rave about, either.
Jami Leigh
Plot: 3 stars
Characters: 3 stars
Style: 3 stars
Pace: 3 stars

I figured I'd see if these torchwood books were any good. Like all TV show novels, the order doesn't matter, and I'd snagged this one a while back. Finally remembered to read it. Alas, while it's nice to see the old crew (*sighs at BBC* WHY BBC, WHY?!), it's not as good as I would have wanted it to be. The shifts in POV between everyone often felt stilted and overdone, and the only reason I had any connections to the characters is be...more
Mar 21, 2011 Joseph rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Any Torchwood Fan
So far my favorite of the Torchwood novels. I enjoyed Trace Memory as it is an homage to Slaughterhouse-Five.

I have sense read Torchwood: Consequences & am currently reading Torchwood: Bay of the Dead both are not nearly as well written as Trace Memory however, the best story within Consequences is the short story The Baby Farmers by this author

ebook edition purchased at
Jim C
A book based on the BBC television series. I thought this is one of the better books based on this series and to me, it captured the essence of the show. A person is traveling thru different times and has different interactions with the members of the team. I thought this book gave a insight to the characters before Torchwood and I would have liked to have seen this as an episode. I strongly recommend this one if you are a fan of the show.
I really enjoyed this. It's always nice to learn a bit more about the team whenever and wherever possible, though it's never really been officially said whether the books coinside with the series, but it's still nice. And I loved the way one character could affect all of their lives, at one point or another, and I couldn't put it down until I got to the end and found out why and how it was all happening. Great stuff.
Rebecca Honeycutt
Hooray! Another Torchwood fix! This volume was fast-moving and not terribly complicated. An alien artifact, some unintentional time travel, a bittersweet romance--standard Torchwood fare. Basically, this book reads like well-edited fanfic. All the characters get a bit of the story, but it focuses most on Jack, with appropriate amounts of angst, and just enought Janto to keep this fangirl reading.
Oct 07, 2011 Xan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: sigh-fy
Twisting and convoluted, with a narrative that jumped back and forth in time from different character perspectives. It would have been worse if it hadn't been such a quick read, just a few hours gone. Not much more than an episode, and I think this would have been better served by being visual instead of read. But regardless it's Torchwood, and there can never be enough Torchwood!
Sep 07, 2008 Chris rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Torchwood fans
Another decent tie-in for the show, but like Twilight Streets, I wouldn't recommend it for anyone who isn't very familiar with the show. Too many unexplained team issues that are necessary to understand in order to "get" this story.

Again, well written and paced well. Not a masterpiece, but I enjoyed it and it feels like a natural extension of the television series.
Nicholas Whyte

this sadly isn't one of the better examples - somewhat clunky prose in places, and the plot of The Time Traveller's Wife forced into the mould of the Torchwood format. (Unlike certain recent episodes of New Who, which have taken the concept in a totally new direction.) For completists and Ianto/Jack fans only, I think.
Out of the Torchwood novels I've read so far, this one does the best job adding in backstory for the team... while keeping their personalities and character clear and consistent with the show.

The story itself might be a bit confusing until you realize it's not being told sequentially. Stick with it - the payoff, while not a huge surprise, is worth it.
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David Llewellyn is a Welsh novelist and script writer. He grew up in Pontypool and graduated from Dartington College of Arts in 2000. His first novel, Eleven, was published by Seren Press in 2006. His second, Trace Memory, a spin-off from the BBC drama series Torchwood, was published in March 2008. Everything Is Sinister was published by Seren in May 2008. He has written two novels for the Doctor...more
More about David Llewellyn...
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“Ianto Jones was at his station behind the run-down Tourist Information Centre that served at a front to the clandestine goings on in Torchwood. His bare feet were on his desk, his tie slumped like a crestfallen snake next to an open pizza box, the top two buttons of his shirt undone.

"Taking it easy, I see?" said Jack, stepping out through the security door that led into the Hub itself. "Well at least someone has the right idea. Whatcha doing there, Sport?"

"Sport?" said Ianto. "Not sure I like 'Sport' as a term of endearment. 'Sexy is good, if unimaginative. 'Pumpkin' is a bit much, but 'Sport'? No. You'll have to think of another one.

"Okay, Tiger Pants. Whatcha doing?"

Ianto laughed.

"I..." he said, pausing to swallow a mouthful of pizza, "am having a James Bondathon."

"A what?"

"A James Bondathon. I'm watching my favourite James Bond films in chronological order."

"You're a Bond fan?"

"Oh yes. He's the archetypal male fantasy, isn't he? The man all women want to have, and all men want to be."

"Are you sure it's not the other way around?”
“Penny for your thoughts,' asked Gwen.
'Cheapskate,' said Ianto. 'Never heard of inflation? Thoughts are a bit pricier than that these days.'
'OK,' said Gwen. 'A pint down the local tomorrow for your thoughts.'
Ianto smiled. 'That's more like it.”
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