The novel “Bay of the Dead” by Mark Morris was published for the first time in 2009.
Joe and Jackie Hargreaves are on the road when they come across a fog bank and find themselves miles away, on the outskirts of Cardiff, where they’re attacked by what appear to be zombies. At Cardiff University, some students go out to sea on a yacht but come across a fog bank and find themselves near the shores of Cardiff, where a group of zombies come out of the sea and attack them. Gwen and Rhys are awakened by strange screams and, when they go to investigate, they discover what looks like a tramp who is eating a cat. PC Andy Davidson answers a call with his partner Dawn Stratton and they find out that a man broke into a party.
The situation is confusing across Cardiff and Gwen contacts Jack Harkness to alert the Torchwood team. In turn, Andy contacts his ex-colleague Gwen for help in a situation that looks eerily like a zombie apocalypse. The fact that a scan of possible Rift activities indicates that Cardiff is sealed by some kind of barrier is another problem.
“Bay of the Dead” is part of a series of novels connected to the TV show “Torchwood“, a “Doctor Who” spinoff. The size is the same as “Doctor Who” books starting from the Eleventh Doctor. In the first books the font was smaller while in the following one the font is the same size as in “Doctor Who” books.
The zombie apocalypse may seem like a type of story a little too supernatural horror for Torchwood’s standards, but Mark Morris wrote one that uses this type of plot, even if the presence of zombies is limited to Cardiff. The author told about the zombies showing up in Cardiff and how this disrupts all life in the city in a classic way in a plot that also has typical characteristics of a Torchwood story.
“Bay of the Dead” is set between the second and third seasons of the TV show so the Cardiff Torchwood team is made up of Captain Jack Harkness, Ianto Jones and Gwen Cooper with Rhys Williams also getting involved in the crisis that affects the city. Gwen’s ex-colleague PC Andy Davidson is a recurring character who also plays a role in this novel along with his new partner.
The various protagonists, which include some characters created specifically for “Bay of the Dead”, begin the novel divided into pairs with a subplot for each of them. Cardiff quickly turns into an urban war zone due to the presence of zombies, making traveling difficult and above all dangerous. Most of the story is about the characters’ reactions to the invasion and the various subplots come together very slowly with the Torchwood team trying to understand the origin of the zombies.
The combination of zombies and Torchwood inevitably leads to a really splatter story with characters forced to fight or try to barricade somewhere hoping to keep safe. I found that the Torchwood team members were depicted appropriately, showing personality traits developed in the television episodes.
My only problem with reading “Bay of the Dead” is that I read it after watching all the episodes broadcast so far of “The Walking Dead”, a show that led me to a certain saturation about zombie stories. I only bought this novel because it’s connected to the Torchwood TV show without even reading the plot. I probably would have appreciated it more if I had read it shortly after its publication, before “The Walking Dead” started. It’s a shame because it’s actually a good novel, so if you don’t have a problem with zombie stories you’ll probably like it.