The Banquo Legacy
is a Doctor Who
remix of an Agatha Christie or Hercule Poirot mystery which more resembles a BBC period drama directed by George Romero than a slice of genuine Who
The book is narrated by two of its protagonists, Inspector Ian Stratford, sent in 1898 by the Met to investigate the death of Gordon Seavers, philanthopist and scientist, and lawyer John Hopkinson, a friend of Seavers, invited to his home along with a motley group of others only to find their host dead. Before long there is another death, that of Richard Harries, another scientist, which seems to be the result of someone tampering with an electrical experiment. Then there's the butler Simpson who seems to know more than he should, and the unexpected arrival of two observers: Herr Kreiner and Doctor Friedlander.
Of course Kreiner and Friedlander are Fitz and the Doctor, and Compassion, through a massive plot contrivance, has had to merge her outer shell with one of the humans meaning that she cannot help the time travellers to escape. The scene is set
It is disappointing that the Doctor, Fitz, and especially Compassion are sidelined. As the book is told wholly from the viewpoints of Stratford and Hopkinson, we get slightly different versions of the same events, and, strangely, the Doctor and Fitz's occasional technobabble discussions related accurately. The plot, what there is of it, is quite neat, if simplistic, and the book seems designed to pass some time before the Time Lords catch up with Compassion following the events of several books back.
It is a shame that Compassion's developing character has been so severely curtailed. This, though, is the problem with introducing an all-powerful element into any series of fiction--the writers have to come up with ever more imaginative ways to nullify or prevent the powers from being used. The Banquo Legacy is very much an experimental book, neither wholly engrossing or particularly entertaining, but which contains some graphic descriptions, and a memorable zombie. --David J Howe