Shakedown started life in 1995 as a direct-to-video adventure made by Dreamwatch Media, starring various familiar faces from Doctor Who and Blake's 7. The story featured the Sontarans and was written by veteran Doctor Who script-editor and writer Terrance Dicks. For rights reasons the character of the Doctor couldn't be included in the video but when Virgin decided to commission Dicks to adapt the story in book form in late 1995 this was no longer a problem - as Virgin did have the rights to use the character.
Dicks elected to put the events seen in the video into the middle of the book - with a new plot featuring the Doctor and his companions at the beginning and end - and the new material is by far the most interesting part of the book. This sees the Doctor, Benny, Chris and Roz searching for a Rutan spy who has been masquerading as a Sontaran. The Doctor and his companions are seperated and each has to tackle their own sub-plot. There's some nice stuff here, particularly the Mega-City section, featuring the educated Ogron, Garshak.
Terrance Dicks has always been a very good storyteller, so whilst his original Doctor Who books aren't the deepest or the most experimental, he certainly knows how to entertain - and Shakedown has this in spades, with plenty of humour, action and drama.
Shakedown is a great page-turner from one of the series' key figures and it's good to have it back in print.