This book was so eagerly anticipated. The cover blurb promised much (the Doctor with a daughter!), Lance Parkin was the writer, could it really be as good as we thought it would be? The answer is a resounding YES.
From its beginnings in rural Derbyshire, to the space sequences at the end this is pure Doctor Who in all its glory. The story begins with the Doctor still trapped on Earth. He has lived three quarters of the century, his memory has not returned, but he knows he is not of this planet. He is living in a Cottage taken straight from Withnail and I. A Police Box sits in the garden. When UFOs start to be seen in the neighbourhood, he inevitably gets involved. We are introduced to Debbie, a local schoolteacher. She has an interesting pupil named Miranda who has two hearts. And so the adventure has its foundations.
The characterization of the Doctor is wonderful. You can hear and see McGann delivering the lines. You feel his emotions - this is a Doctor who wears them on his Velvet sleeve. The 8th Doctor has never been portrayed more vividly. The supporting characters are the richest. This Earthbound story arc of the last 5 books revels in marvelous personalities. This book is the pinnacle of it. From the everywoman depiction of Debbie, her brash husband Barry, through to Miranda, 80's teenager but something more - these are characters you can identify with and relate to. The book sucks you in and you become part of the world it depicts. Abounding in 80's references it took me back to that decade.
Doctor Who is about magic, about the wonders in life - an imaginative world second to none. This book has all these elements in abundance. The whole Earthbound arc has been a revelation, a return to the best kind of Doctor Who. This book is the pinnacle of that arc - and indeed the pinnacle of the 8th Doctor series to date. Brilliant