The Wages of Sin is a Past Doctor Adventure written by my favourite Doctor Who author David McIntee, and features my favourite classic Doctor, the 3rd. Needless to say I was looking forward to this novel, despite its historical nature.
The story of The Wages of Sin revolves around Russia in the days preceding Rasputin's murder, with the Doctor and his companions caught up in things whilst trying to get the TARDIS back. As with most historical pieces the story is already written to some extent, and as such you know what's coming next. McIntee does manage to make it exciting and nerve wracking to the end however, with a Rasputin who refuses to die.
The Doctor is the 3rd, and McIntee does a good job of recreating him on the page, including a Bondesque martial arts fight on the top of a moving train. The companions are Jo Grant and Liz Shaw, which is nice to see them meet, but not really required for the story. I've always enjoyed McIntee's brand of fan wankery in the past but this one is bordering Gary Russell territory. That said both companions are done well, in what little time they do have on the page.
Historical pieces are always hard to judge in terms of other characters as the vast majority are real life people and The Wages of Sin is no exception. Initially there seems like a lot of characters to keep track of, but once the story starts flowing it becomes easy to know who is who. I do like the fact that Rasputin is portrayed as a good guy in essence. So little is known of him, other than reports by people who disliked him, that he may well have simply been misunderstood. The non-historical Kit Powell is a nice "male" companion for the Doctor who I'd like to see more of as the 3rd Doctor didn't really have any male companions outside UNIT.
The Wages of Sin isn't quite as impressive as McIntee's previous works in the range, but nonetheless still manages to entertain throughout. Well worth a read.