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The Plotters (Doctor Who Missing Adventures) [Paperback]

Gareth Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Dr Who; Television tie-in edition edition (21 Nov 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0426204883
  • ISBN-13: 978-0426204886
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 10.9 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 424,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


London, November 1605. The Tardis materializ es at a crucial moment in British history. While Ian and Bar bara set off for the Globe Theatre, Vicki accompanies the do ctor on a mysterious mission to the court of King James. '

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remember, remember, the fifth of November... 29 Jan 2011
Having read most of the Virgin Missing Adventures novels that were published during the mid-late 90s, I have to say that this is easily one of my favourites. Writers attempting to capture the spirit of the (almost) original TARDIS crew - The First Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Vicky - often fail to pick out the contrary characteristics of William Hartnell's Time Lord, but Roberts has them down to a tee. Not only this but he has produced a cracking historical 'Who' that the likes of David Whittaker, Dennis Spooner and John Lucarotti would have been proud of.
Revolving around the events leading up to the infamous 1605 Gunpowder Plot, the descriptions of Jacobean life and in particular the randy King James' attempts to seduce Vicky (disguised as a boy named 'Victor') are both realistic (in the first case) and hilarious in the second.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This could be straight out of the Hartnell Era 17 Nov 1999
By Steve Oakes ( - Published on
This book is very well written. Gareth Roberts manages to capture the spirit of the early Hartnell era, with his Doctor being a cross between the crotchety scientist, and the dotty old grand-father. Most of the jokes in it are clean, and it's a really good, well written book
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It'll take you back, in more ways than one 25 Sep 2006
By Michael Battaglia - Published on
Anyone who ever watched the original series knows that early on, the intent wasn't to bring space and time faring SF action to the viewers every week, but to educate kids who might be watching the show. Thus, the plan was to have the TARDIS visit different time periods every week and thus teach children about said time periods. This idea lasted all of two stories, as the Daleks showed up and proved to be so darn popular that the concept of historical tales every week went totally out the window. They weren't totally abandoned and were fairly prominent during the Hartnell era (the last "true" one was Troughton's second story, "The Highlanders"), taking the team to Marco Polo, the Aztecs, the Crusades, the Romans and so on. Thus, this novel attempts to bring those days back for three hundred pages by having Ian, Barbara and Vicki land in merry olde England just before a certain fifth of November. As was typical, they get separated and just as quickly, they get caught up in the events of the day. Roberts is fairly good at this type of thing and writes a witty, fast paced novel filled with a lot of sneaking around and people scheming against other people, keeping the plot tangled enough so that it's one step ahead of you but not so opaque that you have no idea who is who or what the heck is going on. He captures the local (both temporally and geographically) flavor well and while I'm sure it wasn't exhaustively researched (he basically admits as much in the forward) it's close enough to count for me and it's no worse than the original series was. The cast interacts with a variety of real and fictional personages of the time and everything is fairly true to the spirit of the series. Even the joke of King James thinking Vicki is a young boy and wanting to spend some extra . . . time with her is reasonably tastefully done and mostly played for laughs, even if the implications are a tad disturbing. I'm not as familiar with this crew so I don't know how well they're portrayed, Ian and Barbara strike me as true, although Barbara does overplay the "oh Ian you're so strong and heroic" card a bit too much, but then Ian's job was to be the resolute action hero type. I've never seen a single episode with Vicki in it, and she seems a bit useless here, mostly following someone else's lead or crying a lot but from what I've heard that was basically her role in the series as well, being so young and fragile and helpless everyone had to work double time to protect her. The Doctor is played well in Hartnell's fashion, the bumbling old man act, the transitions from irate and egotistical to a pleasant grandfatherly type, the way he could command any situation by sheer force of will, it's all here. Fans of the early seasons can't really go wrong here, as it's a well written and deftly plotted homage to that era, functioning as a story that would have fit quite well into that season, but at the same time not looking dated to our modern eyes.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doctor Who meets 'Carry on Plotting', and it's very funny 26 Aug 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Hartnell stories always seem to bring out the best in writers; this snaps at the heels of 'Venusian Lullaby' for best of the 'Missing Adventures' range, but despite the setting, this is no doom-laden historical.
This is 'Carry on Plotting', a fabulously camp, innuendo-laden piece of nonsense with a surprisingly sound historical base.
Bizarre plot similarities to 'The Massacre of St Bartholemew's Eve' or 'The Crusade' aside, the book's only fault is that it finally gives the series' most uninspiring companion, Vicki, a 'cliffhanger' episode ending. No! Nobody cares!
Read it to find out more about Guy Fawkes. No, never mind that, just have a good laugh and a good plot. There's even an olde London-style James Bond villain's base!
5.0 out of 5 stars Guy Fawkes extravaganza! 14 July 2009
By Jonathan Bunney - Published on
I really enjoyed this book. The four regulars were portrayed extremely well. The book is full of great characters; I particularly thought the Chamberlain worked nicely along with Firking and the two bible translators- Haldann and Otley.
The emphasis that King James I is gay is handled admirably and in a light-hearted way, reminding me of Nero and his lusty appetite for Barbara in The Romans. The comments in a previous review that the book has undercurrents of paedophilia are not entirely correct. It is clear that James prefers the company of men and this is a known historical fact. Both Hay and Vicki (Victor) are not children by any means but young adults and in any case, it was very common in previous societies and cultures for an older man to befriend a younger man or boy. In any case it is unwise to judge a book set in the early 17th century with modern 21st century morality.
In many ways this book feels like 'The Romans' set in a different historical period and like this story there are some very dark moments as well as comical ones. The violence is conveyed seriously and for what it is.
SPOILER AHEAD: The revelation that the Spaniard is indeed the King's previous desire - Hay, is inspired and an excellent twist.

I would have loved to have seen this book as a television programme - it would certainly have been one of the great historical adventures. 9/10
4.0 out of 5 stars History rewritten with a James Bond touch 11 Oct 2000
By Amazon Customer - Published on
This novel places the TARDIS crew in London in November 1605. This is during the reign of King James and is best remembered for the plot by Guy Fawkes to blow up the Houses of Parliament.
Gareth Roberts could have chosen to follow a fairly straightforward line in this book, but instead we end up with a plot worthy of a James Bond movie. He also chooses to play with one of the fundamental ideas of the Hartnell era, summed up by the Doctor in 'The Aztecs': "You can't rewrite history! Not one line!" In this story, Guy Fawkes is the agent of a secret society and seems a fairly decent chap. The possibility of history going off the rails occurs when Fawkes is killed by his co-conspirators.
The story takes the opportunity to parody various elements of Doctor Who. In this story, like 'The Crusades', Vicki is obliged to dress as a boy and call herself Victor, supposedly to prevent unwarranted advances. But in a takeoff of the pursuit of Barbara by Nero in 'The Romans', this merely brings her to the attention of King James, who is determined to have his way with "Victor".
The translation of the Bible into the King James version is occurring during this book, and some of the efforts of the translators affords some humour.
While these are amusing, the depiction of the characters (especially the travellers) and Mr Roberts main story, how can history continue unchanged when Guy Fawkes is dead, are the bread and meat of this excellent story. For me, it would have been improved if some of the most Bondian excesses had been cut, but they may very well appeal to other readers.
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