on 27 June 2005
At last, a proper adventure, not since Mark Gatiss' NIGHTSHADE has the Virgin New Adventures series produced such a cracking read.
The TARDIS has disappeared. All that is left is a battered old police box circa 1963. Benny is stranded on Earth in 1909 - Ace is stranded on an alien planet, leading a ragged group of freedom fighters against the insectoid Charll. The Doctor is nowhere to be found...
The first half of the novel deals with Benny's expreriences in Edwardian London; part murder mystery - who is disembowelling prostitutes? - part historical tale - with lots of knowing references to previous incarnations and companions in the Doctor's history.
The story actually benefits from not featuring the Doctor, fast-paced and gripping, the only drawback is the ocassionally lumpen prose.
on 15 February 2013
Even though this is a Doctor Who novel it doesn't really have much to do with the Doctor. It is really a story about his companions, Ace and Bernice Summerfield. Disappointingly though it might be that the Doctor only makes the briefest of appearances this is compensated with a good portrayal and storyline for the two companions.
The book is divided into four parts. The first concentrates on Benny trapped in the early twentieth century and the second on Ace trapped on the planet Antykhon. Both have very different stories and settings but affect each other. The remainder of the book brings the two storylines together. It is a well-constructed and entertaining plot.
Benny is characterised very well and this is one of better book appearances. The novel also successfully catches the more mature, soldier version of Ace. There are quite a few other interesting characters. The villain, Muldwych, is left a bit vague but many others are well developed and, at times, entertaining.
The Charrl are an interesting alien species, despite being a bit similar to the Wirryn. Rather than being villains as such they are also victims and are just a race trying to survive with an ill-conceived plan.
This is a solid story, although it gets a little bit messy in the latter stages. If you want a novel where two strongly characterised companions take centre stage this is ideal. Just don't expect much from the Doctor.