This is the 50th anniversary collection story of the First Doctor. This story, first published in 2002, has the First Doctor, with Polly and Ben arrive in the Tardis in a place that appears to have no oxygen, just a pressurised atmosphere. Donning spacesuits, the trio step out of the Tardis.
But before we meet up with the Doctor and his companions, we have been reading of a group of Anti-Terror Elite trainees, gearing up for their last combat training mission. They're a ragtag bunch - from all over Earth and Earth satellite and colony planets, they all have their own chips on their shoulders, and their own secrets. And none of them are particularly likeable. Led by the tough Marshal Haunt, who has her own secrets, the team are to land on an asteroid which has been set up as a mission zone with killer droids. There they face their final test. But when they meet up with the Doctor, Ben and Polly, that's just the first of things that start to go horribly wrong.
I've never read Ten Little Indians, by Agatha Christie, so I'm afraid any reference to her work in relation to this book sailed straight over my head. But perhaps that's to my advantage, because I had no preconceptions about the story at all. I approached it merely as a Doctor Who story, which involved a team of space grunts on a mission. That's not a bad premise for any sci-fi story, and if it has the good Doctor involved as well, that's got to be a good thing.
Stephen Cole seems to be quite a prolific author, and has written a number of Doctor Who books as well as other books. Interestingly, when I looked him up on Wikipedia, and searched on the original printing of this novel, the cover showed an image of the Schirr, which I thought was good to have available.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I was utterly engrossed from the first page to the last, and I achieved absolutely nothing productive all day while I curled up with this book. The author has taken what could be just a space junket and turned it into what I felt was a really enjoyable, totally credible Doctor Who story. The characters of the Doctor, Polly and Ben really felt `real'. The other characters also had a good solid feel to them all the way through. There are clever contrivances in the book as well - a section showing the space team's backgrounds was neatly done, and the neural network interface section was really clever. I thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the story in this way. This story had a visual `feel' to it - I felt it could translate very neatly onto the small screen, and I could envisage it playing out before me. I think this book is great - a great First Doctor story, and great Doctor Who. Totally recommended.