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Doctor Who: Demontage [Paperback]

Justin Richards
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Mar 1999 Doctor Who
The Doctor, Sam and Fitz land on the Vega station, a pleasure center given over to gambling, shopping and the Arts. It hangs on the edge of Battrulian Space, close to the Earth colony's frontier with the Canvine, huge, wolf-like dog creatures.The Earth colony president is arriving to attend an exhibition of the 3-D reality scans in oil paintings of Toulour Martinique. But the Doctor soon discovers there is more to the paintings than meets the eye. A dark secret is hidden behind the shallow delights of the station, and it seems that it is not only the President who is marked for death but the Doctor and his friends, too.

Product details

  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Books; paperback / softback edition (1 Mar 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0563555726
  • ISBN-13: 978-0563555728
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.9 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 688,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Justin Richards has written more books than he can remember. He has also written audio scripts, television, a stage play, edited anthologies of short stories, been a technical writer, and founded and edited a media journal.
Justin is the author of - amongst other things - The Death Collector, The Chaos Code, The Parliament of Blood and the series The Invisible Detective, Time Runners, and Agent Alfie. He is also Creative Director of the BBC's best-selling range of Doctor Who books, and has written a fair few of them himself.
His latest novel - The Skeleton Clock - is available for the Kindle.
Justin lives in Warwick with his wife and two children, and a lovely view of the castle.

Product Description

Amazon Review

In Demontage Justin Richards has managed to capture the essence of a great Doctor Who tale and in the process has defined Sam and Fitz better than perhaps any other author. Even the Doctor sings.

The plot involving various deceptions and double-double-crosses in a space casino is both simple and intriguing, despite a couple of plot holes you can drive a bus through. Fitz fares especially well, falling into the role of a quasi-James Bond spy with ease. His scenes are enjoyable and Richards has managed to do him proud.

Like all too many of the BBC range so far this story would be superb on screen. It cries out for that sort of visual treatment even though some of the surprises it has in store may be unachievable as a result (it's easy to mask a character in a novel but less so when you can see them).

A great addition to the range and a superb step forward for Richards who is improving in leaps and bounds. More in the future, please. --David J Howe

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
After the top-notch THE TAINT, Richards' DEMONTAGE proves that the addition of Fitz as one of the Doctor's companions, has truly given the series a new lease of life. Not only that, but this tale of paintings coming to life and gambler's dodgy dealings aboard a space station, is wonderfully paced by Richards and exciting to boot. A real sense of adventure here, this is Doctor Who at it's most entertaining.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great plot and characterizations 5 Jun 2000
Fitz and the Doctor are particularly well-drawn and entertaining in this who-or-what-dunnit. Sam takes a back seat, but a host of memorable characters make this a very engaging book despite the rather unscientific premise. Good stuff.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Montage of Excellence 19 Oct 2008
When I red the blurb, I thought that the book would have too many plot threads and I would get confused. I was wrong. The plots worked well together and apart. The Doctor is brilliantly captured and Fitz is a welcome addition to the Tardis crew. Sam, although she has her moments, is quite dull. I think that Justin Richards has improved after Option Lock and thanks to this, the Burning and Time Zero, he is one of the EDA's best writers
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but unneccesarily loose 15 Feb 2000
By Kevin L. Nenstiel - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I hate to be the voice of doom here, but this could have been better. Not that there's anything wrong as such -- the story is snappy, the characters are well done -- and, unlike the last Eighth Doctor novel I reviewed, the Doctor is actually a prominent character in this one. My only fault is that the first eighty pages could have been tightened up more, moving some of the background material into a later point in the book. The run-up just takes too long. Other than that, largely unimpeachable.
5.0 out of 5 stars I would have been okay if the story had stopped for an alien dog-man opera 4 Sep 2009
By Michael Battaglia - Published on
I'll agree with the person down below who says that the title is fairly clever . . . I didn't even know that "de-montage" was a real word until this book, which just goes to show you that it's always possible to learn from anything, no matter what the source.

Granted, it would have been nice to have some actual demons in this story, given the title but I don't want to come across as being overly nit-picky. I actually would like to comment about the cover before we go too much further . . . most of the covers for the BBC line have been fairly standard, nothing much to write home about. This one at first glance makes you think you're in for a werewolf story of sorts until you look closer at it and realize that the cover isn't the Doctor, but a painting of the Doctor with claw marks in it. Nice use of detail and good use of an otherwise bored looking Paul McGann.

Meanwhile, back to the story. In a rare light hearted moment for the TARDIS crew, the team stops off on a casino world while Fitz and the Doctor indulge in a bet to see who can make the most money over the course of a week. Which already shows the changing dynamic between the crew members . . . while the Doctor would often take Sam places to show her stuff, it was rarely for something so whimsical. It's a subtle touch, even as the story gets some comedy moments out of the fact that as good as Fitz might think he is, Sam's got a few years of travelling and evading danger under her belt, while all he wants is a good cigarette.

Of course, this is not the entire plot or else whimsical would turn into boring really quickly. The casino is set in a neutral zone between people and the Canvines, a race of dog-like aliens. There was war once but now an uneasy peace has settled in, even if not everyone is thrilled over that. This is all very nice until there's a murder on the station, with one good witness who disappears. Meanwhile an assassin appears to be stalking the corridors and what does this all have to do with the art exhibition that's opening up?

Richards' has all the elements in place for a good story and it's to his credit that it reads as quite assured. There's not really a misstep or a false note, the setting is well thought out and he enjoys throwing the occasional curveball at the reader, such as making the Canvines opera lovers and not really all that war-like. I don't know if he's really all that good at conveying exactly what makes Martinique the artist so awesome but maybe he's just making fun of how pretentious it all seems. People get killed or almost get killed, there's twists as we go along and it all ends rather nicely.

Thing is, it's not terribly exciting. I mean, it's entertaining enough but it lacks a certain kind of spark. Maybe because of all the secondary characters, while he does a good job of filling the world with enough people that it doesn't feel like a four person stage play but many of them just aren't very memorable. When people vanish for thirty pages and I have to remind myself who they are when they reappear (in a book I read in like three days) that probably isn't a good sign. So this hamstrings the book slightly and while it doesn't wreck it, it tends to hold it down to "good" as opposed to "great". It doesn't help that a few of the subplots seem just there to kill time and aren't all that compelling.

The ending is a bit dodgy too, with someone you thought was dead coming back and then not doing all that much except to explain all the bits of the plot that nobody has figured out yet with a final twist that seems to be missing a few links in the logic chain.

But, as I said, none of this really sinks the story thanks to Richards' ability to keep the plot moving. You may not be able to remember any of the characters when the book is over but at least something tends to be happening on nearly every page. What could have potentially been awesome gets downgraded to "merely pleasant". Like a replica of a fine painting, it has all the components of greatness but it's just not quite there.
2.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but dull 5 July 2001
By Andrew McCaffrey - Published on
I can't point to any part of DEMONTAGE and declare that this is the moment in which the author made the massive mistake that tainted the book. Neither can I reveal any portion of the story that is unbelievably wonderful and demands that this be named the greatest Doctor Who story of all time. The book ends up being somewhere in the banal center of these two extremes, being more boring than breathtaking.
On the plus side, the addition of Fitz to the TARDIS crew is definitely paying off. Even the Doctor seems to be reacting well to the change in lineup, verbally bouncing off of and teasing Fitz in a way that simply wouldn't work with Sam. And the added bonus is that with two companions, there is less space that can be devoted to Sam. This can only be a good thing.
The high number of secondary characters in the book means that there is a certain diluting effect -- most of them have hardly any depth at all. Instead of two or three characters getting the lion's share of the action, the roles are spread uniformly thin. So rather than getting a small number of well-developed characters, we get a large number of people who have names, short character descriptions and very little else. I kept trying to keep the two antique dealers separated in my mind until about half way through when I just gave up. I'm not sure if the attempt was to make a Robert Holmes type double-team of humourous villains, but the result was to end up with the same character given two names. The same also goes for the art exhibition curator and her financial partner; two characters who for all intents and purposes could have been filled by the role of one.
The plot is undemanding and the comparisons to THE NIGHTMARE OF EDEN are all quite valid and don't need to be repeated here. There are some portions here and there where one can feel the story creeping up to the side of intrigue and interest, but right at the last moment it turns back to the banality. The revelation about how the creatures are manifesting themselves would be icing on the cake of a more engrossing story, but without anything else supporting it, it just seems to fall flat. The details concerning this revelation are also a bit confused towards the end and I don't believe that the connection between the creatures and their manifestation was explained coherently.
In any case, this isn't a terribly bad story and neither is it especially good. There are a few highlights but overall it's fairly forgettable.
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow. A great book! 26 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on
The name say it all is it
De-Montage or Demon-tage
A very clever book. Well written with lots of suprises.
All of the characters shine thru.
Thank you Justin Richards
5.0 out of 5 stars a fun read the story is fun!! 12 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on
The Docotor and his companions go to the casino world of Vega. Fritz is mistaked for a hitman by a spy . Sam is in trouble too. To make things worse there there the opera and a very strange art exhibit. Eventully the Doctor solves evenyones problems. The book starts out a little slow,then gradually the pace picks up . A great first adventure for Fitz outside of his own time!!A fun book for any whovian or a sci-fi reader!!!
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