A massive empire consisting of a thousand worlds has existed for a considerably long time. Each world believes itself the heart of the Empire. Forces are at work behind the scenes of the Empire, ensuring that certain objectives are fulfilled. It is to this Empire that the Doctor brings his companions Fitz and Anji when the TARDIS is invaded by the Vortex Wraiths, into the heart of the Slow Empire...
One thing that is certain is that Dave Stone books are an acquired taste. His style of writing is so unique within the field of Doctor Who that any new one bearing his name is either likely to incite cheers of joy or cause a stampede of people who can't avoid it quickly enough. No single author within the Doctor Who range can be as brilliant and inventive as Stone has been in his past books such as Death And Diplomacy, The Mary-Sue Extrusion or Heart Of TARDIS and then as unreadable as his books have been in Sky Pirates! or Return To The Fractured Planet. But for his second BBC novel, Dave Stone is on his top form.
The Slow Empire itself is a very enjoyable novel. Stone's unique style of writing shines through well making each page a joy to read. He's structured it by having two distinct narrative stances throughout the text, one in the traditional third person and the other using the first person perspective through the eyes of Mr. Jamon de la Rocas, who proves to be a very interesting character and it soon becomes obvious that Stone enjoyed greatly writing this extravagant character and his love of language shines through.
The characterisation of the three regulars is good, although because of certain spacial anomalies present within the area of space that The Slow Empire is set, their characters behave slightly differently to normal. The Doctor is even more unpredictable than he has been in recent books, Anji seems angrier than she normally does and Fitz is, well Fitz really but more so. Stone has always been strong with characterisation and The Slow Empire is no exception.
The Slow Empire bears the unique hallmarks of a Dave Stone novel. It's decidedly odd in places, but the strength of the story shines through. Stones writing is exceptionally good, and this makes The Slow Empire a wonderfully strange book to experience. Although it's plot may not be the strongest aspect of this book, with the combination of characterisation and wonderful writing it becomes a very enjoyable book. Stone's writing has always been laced with humour to some degree, and this is evident in The Slow Empire. Dave Stone's books though are generally an acquired taste, and those who have disliked his work before may not enjoy this book as it highlights very much Stone's unique style and writing flair. The book does have some weaknesses though. The ending seems a little rushed, but not enough to seriously undermine the book's quality. The Slow Empire is a highly inventive novel, which is thoroughly enjoyable and entirely recommended.