Chris Boucher is one of the finest writers chronicling the time-travelling Doctor's adventures and this powerful outing (featuring the fourth doctor and Leela) observes the chronology that this excellent series has made apoint of: Corpse Marker
is set between the BBC Doctor Who novelLast Man Running
and the TV story The Talons of Weng-Chiang
. Of course, Boucher has the advantage of dealing with the Tom Baker incarnation of the Doctor, many people's favourite. But such is the power of the writing here that the doctor exists as a fully formed character in the book, with no need of TV visual aids.
In Kaldor City, society is completely dependent on robots and the automated, obedient labourers are not feared. But three survivors of the Sandminer massacre know the truth--the robots are beginning to show signs of mental breakdown and once again are being programmed to kill. But the sinister genius Taren Capel is dead: Who is behind this new menace? Needless to say, the Doctor and Leela are more than a match for them but not before some terrifying danger has to be faced:
"Leela dodged past the robot which was pulling itself back on its feet and reaching for its quarry...as they crossed out of the sewer pits, the robot surged after them. There was a sudden crackle of static in the air ..."
And when the menace spreads to global proportions, the Time Lord is obliged to utilise all his considerable skills to save both his own life--and the population of a planet. Boucher is particularly good at building his powerful narrative to a series of ever-more-gripping climaxes and his characterisation of the Doctor and Leela is first-rate. --Barry Forshaw