Stephen Cole was a bold BBC Books editor. He rescued the BBC Books range from its dreadful start, and, by judicious use of real talent such as Lawrence Miles, Kate Orman and finally Paul Cornell, ensured that something actually happened in this range of Dr Who books that was a little more than your standard monster of the week runaround.
With this book, Cole ties up a long series of wandering plot lines and supplies an epic conclusion. Cole and Angelhides may not be the series' best authors, but this is considerably better than Cole's previous book (the completely unmemorable Parallel 59).
It has a great plot, a ripping sense of pace, and An Awful Lot Happens.
This is one of those books that is very consciously Epic. There are genuine twists, a few real surprises, and some great use of other people's characters.
The writing itself is disappointingly lacking in humour or flavour (Cole's Romana is nowhere near as good as Paul Cornell's, and Fitz is as annoying as ever), but for once this doesn't actually matter much.
The plot, the events, and the sheer, gobsmacking sense of style override the flat prose and stale characters. This is a completely gripping and deeply fascinating book, and, above all, a great idea.
If you've steered clear of the BBC Books (and, frankly, that's often no bad thing), then read Alien Bodies, Unnatural History, Interference, Shadows of Avalon, and this. They'll make you proud to be a Doctor Who fan.