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Doctor Who - The Shadows of Avalon Mass Market Paperback – 7 Feb 2000


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Books (7 Feb. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0563555882
  • ISBN-13: 978-0563555889
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 11.4 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 505,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

From the start we know we're in a Paul Cornell novel: the Brigadier is back: angst-ridden and torn over the death of his wife Doris; and Compassion has been left on Earth by the Doctor in order to "experience humanity". We first meet her in a house she shares with five or six blokes--one of them is in love with her and she didn't help matters by snogging him extensively. She also has a cat - which she has somewhat bizarrely named Cheese. All these things are typical Cornell and, unfortunately, given the lack of character development of Compassion in previous books, do not ring true at all. If Compassion had a cat, she'd call it "Cat". No way would she snog a human, and given that she has agonised over the lack of 'input' when away from the TARDIS, it's hard to see her willingly agreeing to an enforced stay, on her own, on Earth.

We then launch into an uneasy plot in which a vortex opens up between Earth and Avalon (the land of Faeries) and the Doctor, Fitz, Compassion and the Brigadier find themselves involved in a war between Humans and those in Avalon (which number include Silurians as regular Doctor Who readers will realise). There's also a sleeping King (whose dream has created Avalon), brutal Gallifreyan Interventionists sent by President Romana to ensure a certain outcome and lots of tactical battles, explosions, and death.

Overall it's a bit of a mess, although it is quite an easy read. Cornell drags the reader along with him through a multitude of confusion until we reach the revelations at the end.

And it's the end which really makes this book. Over the last few titles, those in the know realised that there was a kind of story arc going on but it was hard to detect its presence. With this book it all comes to a head, and results in one of the greatest innovations that the Doctor Who novels have yet delivered which readers will just have to find out for themselves.

What this outcome really proved, however, was how Compassion really needs to be more defined and likeable to the readers beforehand. As it is, some of the power of what happens is muted as you never really knew or liked her in the first place. Peter Angelides--the only author in recent time to have really understood the characters--should have written this book.

All credit to author Lawrence Miles, apparently, for this outcome, which has been in the offing since Compassion joined in Interference. Maybe now knowing what the outcome is, re-reading those books might shed more clues but, ultimately, it really doesn't matter because a series of stand-alone books which are connected by near-invisible threads would work better than a series which you have to read and remember all for any to make sense. --David Howe


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3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Jun. 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was annoyed at all the continuity referrences to the previous range of Dr Who novels from a previous publisher. Now out of print, if someone hasnt read them, they wont understand this book. Paul Cornell has went too far with continuity. What happened to avoiding previous NA novel continuity in the BBC books? I liked that, it stopped awful contradictions within the same range, like we have now, and baffling plot to newcomers. The BBC books only part of the plot is great though, and I have to say, at least the book gives a great ending. I was dubious at first, but the new direction the novels will be taking are excellent. I just *love* what they have done with Compassion, and the new Gallifrey subplot. The main novel 2 stars. The ending 5 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Feb. 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
At first, I thought I wasn't going to like this book. Its initial premise seemed too much like the 1989 television adventure, Battlefield. It certainly has similar elements: the Arthurian legend (although Avalon is pre-Arthur), a missing nuclear missile, the Brigadier, and Doris. A homage to Battlefield is not an image which conjures much hope for this as a piece of fiction, since Ben Aaronovitch's story was a disappointment after his excellent Rememberance of the Daleks. However, I've discovered that this novel doesn't leave you after you've finished reading.
The Brigadier here is quite different from the character of the same name in Mark Gatiss' Last of the Gaderene. This is not to say that either of these authors have got him wrong. In Gatiss' book, the Brigadier is the character that we knew and loved from thirty years ago. The Shadows of Avalon presents the Brigadier as he is now (well, now as in the future - it's a temporal thing). For one thing, Lethbridge-Stewart has been promoted to General. However, everyone still calls him 'Brigadier'. For a moment, you can imagine that Paul Cornell has been delving into the files of Police Squad, ready to reveal that Lethbridge-Stewart was christened 'Brigadier' (like Frank Drebin's (sic) first name was always 'Lieutenant'), but he resists this. Due to events in past novels ('Happy Endings'), the Brigadier has also been rejuvenated, and there are some interesting scenes with him and an aged Munro. But although the Brigadier is youthful, he is far from happy, for his wife has died. This is on the back cover blurb, so it's not a spoiler.
So, the Brigadier finds himself in the mythical land of Avalon, along with the Doctor. Avalon's home to the Catuvelauni, a Celtic tribe who fled there from the Romans.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 Feb. 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
THE MAN WHO BOUGHT US SOME TRULY CLASSIC MOMENTS IN THE VIRGIN NOVEL SERIES (INCLUDING THE HUMANISING OF THE DOCTOR , ACE LEAVING, BERNICE ARIVING, SOME CAMP SILURIANS AND LOTS OF DICK JOKES ) RETURNS WITH A BOOK THAT IS ... UM ... ER... PRETTY GOOD. I mean, its very good, with its Death Wish style Brigader (He walks out under fire to rescue a wounded soldier , i was crying!),its Dragon vs Harrier dog fights and theres a master wannabe, and the revelation at the end (which im not allowed to tell you), but we want more from Mr Cornell and you come away feeling sort of cheated , like its not BIG enough, but you know that its excelent , but it could be better, but its great, but its missing somthing , but what's there is great, but.. and .. erm ... oh hell , just buy it if you like his other stuff,and don't mind feeling sort of confused. Its a lot less depressing than some of the other books in the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Dec. 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Brigadier's wife is dead. A terrible accident. Grieving, he searches for death, and finds his way to Avalon, the other-dimensional kingdom of the Catuvelauni.
The Doctor is also in Avalon, marooned. He's lost his companions, his TARDIS... and his hopes for the future. Now it seems they'll have to make a new life for themselves with the Celts who live in the Dreamlands. Perhaps even help in the Celt's negotiations with the Unseelie, the original inhabitants of Avalon, who live far to the North.
But then a gateway opens between Earth and Avalon. The British Army arrives in force. And the Brigadier negotiates a treaty that will lead to war in the Land of Dreams.
With fearsome dragons duelling jet fighters, vicious Gallifreyan agents causing havos, and Compassion fighting against her ultimate fate, can the Doctor save the world, his best friend, and himself?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dean Jones on 1 Mar. 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I must confess, I did find some of the events in this book distressing, and I'll mourn. I can't really say anything about who I'll mourn without spoiling the surprise. A fantastic book, a really culmination of events from the story arc that's been developing over the past few months. Those who feel that the Doctor stories should stay unchanged, with the Doc arriving in the TARDIS, beating up monsters and leaving, may not like the innovations in this novel. I guess I'm not too pleased myself, but you either change or stagnate. Well done, Paul!
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By A Customer on 14 Feb. 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When the man who invented Bernice Summerfield, and gave us the wonderful book "Human Nature", sits down to write a new Doctor Who novel, you simply have to read it or miss out. Especially if the cover shows a dragon grappling with an RAF Tornado.
You can tell Cornell is a brilliant author - my other half recognises the name, and decides she's going to have a night out while I read it.
It was a good thing she did - I picked it up and have no idea how long it took to read as I simply could not put it down. The Brigadier comes across as a man of action, torn by his emotions in a way that only Cornell could manage. The Doctor loses the TARDIS, and has to consider life without it. Compassion comes across as a real person for the first time in the range, which is ironic considering the ending. I won't give it away, but let's just say I had to gasp aloud and explain the plot in length to my ever suffering other half. Fitz is, well, Fitz. The other characters all come across as real people, and you actually care how things are going to turn out.
It all makes sense - which is Cornell's greatest strength.
The book says this is the end of one chapter in the Doctor's life, and the start of another. Trust me, you don't want to miss this ending - it also makes one hell of a beginning.
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