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3.7 out of 5 stars14
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 30 January 2009
So. Badger space pirates...hmmmm. But, you'll have to take my word for it, it works. My expectations dropped through the floor after listening to the first twenty minutes but they were soon boosted my some classic devices - tantalising clues to what might be happening, mighty risk taking, pseudo-science, moral dilemma, social comment and, of course, moments of high silliness. All ingredients of great Who.
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Another Doctor Who novel telling an all new story for the character that hasn't been seen on the tv screen. This features the Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones.

As ever with this range the book is suitable for all ages. It runs for two hundred and thirty seven pages, and the characterisation of the Doctor and companion is fine and well in keeping with the way they were portrayed on the show.

The story involves the Doctor and Martha visiting a legendary spaceship. Legendary because it disappeared and was never seen again. And nobody knows why. Their visit takes place shortly before the disappearance happened, and they're on a quest to find why it happened.

They find strange beings in engineering. An upper class robot. And passengers being held hostage as the ship has been boarded by pirates. Who are also Humanoid badgers.

All this and there's a problem with the engine and strange things happening with time itself. Will the Doctor and Martha solve the mystery or will they vanish as well?

The book gets going right from the off and manages a good pace throughout. An interesting and quite original setting plus a strong batch of supporting chsracters make for an engaging read. And the plotting is well handled. Unfolding gradually and at just the right pace with some surprising revelations along the way.

All the supporting characters do manage to grow and change over the course of the story, thanks to the influence of the Doctor, and the ending raises an interesting question in a manner that will leave you thinking about it afterwards.

An entertaining read - although you will have to pay close attention at points in the story when the problem with time occurs - and an above average entry in this range.
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on 19 April 2013
The Doctor's been everywhere and everywhen in the whole of the universe and seems to know all the answers. But ask him what happened to the Starship Brilliant and he hasn't the first idea. Did it fall into a sun or black hole? Was it shot down in the first moments of the galactic war? And what's this about a secret experimental drive?

The Doctor is skittish. But if Martha is so keen to find out he'll land the TARDIS on the Brilliant, a few days before it vanishes. Then they can see for themselves...

Soon the Doctor learns the awful truth. And Martha learns that you need to be careful what you wish for. She certainly wasn't hoping for mayhem, death, and badger-faced space pirates.

Featuring the Tenth Doctor and Martha as played by David Tennant and Freema Agyeman in the hit sci-fi series from BBC Television.
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on 19 September 2010
The premise and some details are a bit silly - pretend pirates, a timespace barrier of scrambled egg, the enemy leader being the only one with authority, but the story and its twists are intriguing, especially the deaths. There are very few locations too, all finely described, which is an advantage to following the action and incidents.
Written partly in two time streams, which can be briefly confusing and a bit irritating, it all comes together for a happy ending, though I still don't know how the engineers drink the milkshakes.
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on 2 March 2008
A straightforward comic space opera for young and old. Kids will love the humour and easily identifiable characters; adults will appreciate the joie-de-vivre of it all. Guerrier tells his audience a simple parable of emancipation and redemption, while mucking around with pink ray-guns, space badgers, and quantum scrambled egg - and for the "Doctor Who" fans, he gets the regular characters spot-on, particularly the it's-cool-to-be-clever Martha Jones. Enjoy!
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on 8 October 2008
This is my first Dr Who book (I always wait until they're twenty or more into a series run before hopping aboard), and a very enjoyable lark it is, too. As noted, Simon Guerrier has the characterisation of both the Doctor and his companion down pat from the off (the Martha's-eye view of the adventure itself lends the story very much to reading aloud - perhaps to a youngster). Plus, who can resist a tale of spaceships and buccaneering badgers? Not me. The somewhat Douglas Adams-ish plot is often, but not always, one step ahead of the reader (well, I didn't see the resolution coming, anyway) and the telling is, in turns, pacy, exciting, thoughtful and helpfully explanatory. I particularly liked the author's drawing of Martha's growing self-awareness. Very recommended.
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on 23 November 2015
Love this story, great for children and fans alike
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on 25 March 2010
I have always enjoyed the Doctor Who genre, and some of the most recent books have been incredibly inventive with ideas and plot to please everyone.

This is the weakest I've yet read. By half way through, I was gritting my teeth, hoping it would get better. It didn't.

Let me explain. Firstly the plot fails to work: the whole point of escapism is surely the way an author creates an atmosphere to make us believe the unbelievable. This tale always remained unbelievable. It's so badly written. At several points, the reader has to go back a page or so to find out why a character has moved.

Which brings us to the characters -- or lack of. David Tennant as the Doctor is a gift to any author. It is therefore almost incredible that this Doctor is dull. The wisecracks are weak, the action is muted. The wit isn't. This depiction of Martha is even more boring. The pirates are badgers, yet all are without any characterisation: they shout, grunt, and shoot with an accompanying pink light; that's it. The other main character, Mrs Winkworth, is almost an octopus with tentacles and an annoying, patronising manner. Surely a gift to any author, but again she is flavourless and (ultimately) dull. At no point did any of these characters actually come alive.

So, I'm afraid, I've wasted several hours of my life. What a shame.
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on 21 March 2009
Simon Guerrier is one of Doctor Who's sharpest and most engaging novelists. His latest book treads a fine line between comedy (Badger-faced pirates with Hampshire accents!) and tragedy; pulling this tricky feat off impressively.
The time-travellers arrive on an unnamed spaceship and are promptly confronted with a group of crewmen...who have no mouths. They soon discover that the eponymous pirates are in the process of invading the ship, and are systematically slaughtering the passengers and robotic deck crew - who come back to life miraculously minutes later. Meanwhile, a group of impossibly beautiful humanoid officers study their monitors on the flight deck; all of these areas of the ship being separated by impenetrable barriers. Of course, The Doctor swiftly sets about penetrating them with the aid of his trusty sonic screwdriver, and soon discovers they are trapped in a temporal loop...
The story is pretty straightforward, with just a little mildly confusing `timey-wimey' stuff in it. Guerrier's prose is lively and accessible, and he has a knack of creating memorable characters; not least the morally ambiguous pirates and the protocol-obsessed droid Gabriel. One of the best in the range, I highly recommend you read this: With a `ho ho ho' and a bottle of...well you get the picture.
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on 14 June 2009
This book is in a very similar style to the other recent Doctor Who novels which I have read - clearly aimed at a younger audience, straying not far from simple language and simple themes. Unlike some however this one features a good amount of humour which will be appreciated by anyone who has ever met a child.

The set up is good, starting off with the old disappearing ship plot but evolving through unique plot devices to produce an amusing tale where the Doctor has to battle against time, childlike badgers and a group of humans who don't seem to appreciate his presence. There also features a lot of deaths in this one but as usual the Doctor manages to save the day in the end.

While the human characters are fairly two dimensional, the cast of aliens is much more admirable, with five standing out in particular. The pirate badgers who invade the starship are particularly cute in their depiction as naïve children who are eager to please - but from a more cynical viewpoint are easy for the Doctor to manipulate.

All in all probably one of the more interesting Doctor Who novels I have read, if only because the characters seemed so huggable.
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