2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 September 2004
Paul Leonard is a Doctor Who writer with some pedigree; CODE is a classic Jon Pertwee/Jo Grant story that fits nicely into the television series and could be an impressive BBC production. The Doctor is enigmatic and slightly haughty and Jo is as wilful and dizzy as she ever was. The inclusion of UNIT and particularly The Brigadier are the icing on the cake, although the somewhat nebulous alien entity seems a little half-baked and the initially creepy, sickly cloying aroma that announces its presence soon loses any chill factor it might have sustained, were the 'Xarax' properly developed. The idea of the Doctor seeing a parallel future is somewhat derivative but still fun and the scenario is played out well.
As with the majority of the 'Missing Adventures', (new adventures that fit between some of the original TV stories), you have to be familiar with the TV show to fully appreciate them; there is little explanation of the characters or the setup. That said, this novel stands up quite well and with a little more emphasis on developing the Doctor's foe and the inclusion perhaps of 'The Master', (an ever-present of this era), this could have been a classic.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 4 February 2007
From 1994, until their license expired in 1997, Virgin published 33 'Missing Adventures' - original Doctor Who novels to slot in between the adventures that had appeared on TV. Less experimental than the 'New Adventures', they were intended to reflect the Doctor Who era in which they were set. This one, the ninth to be published, featured the Third Doctor, his assistant Jo Grant, UNIT and lots of gadgets for the Doctor to fly and play with. It was designed to fit in between the TV adventures Planet Of The Daleks and The Green Death, although (apart from the working TARDIS) it could have come from almost any point in the Doctor's UNIT career.
The story features an alien infestation of the insect-like Xarax, who are capable of imitating not only humans, but also vehicles, including helicopters, planes and tanks. But helicopters with scorpion tails and planes with eyes. The menace grows as the infestation spreads and the replicas become more sophisticated.
Paul Leonard has got the feel of the era pretty much exactly right. You can almost hear Jon Petwee et al saying the lines and the whole thing feels like a big budget UNIT adventure that they could never in your dreams have filmed in the 70s. It is a fun read that carries the reader along and doesn't get bogged down in the naval-gazing obscurity that some Doctor Who fiction is guilty of. It is extremely violent (there is a war going on after all), but the violence is not gratuitous and the characters react with horror rather than complacency.
As with Paul Leonard's earlier Missing Adventure, "Venusuan Lullaby", there are various factions involved in the conflict, which perhaps slows the story down, but their various agendas are neatly handled and they add to the depth of the novel. The threat escaltes throughout the novel with new twists every few chapters, making it an enjoyable page-turner. One of the best of the Missing Adventures.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 June 1999
While this story does to a large extent capture the feeling of the third doctor era, particular with the charaterisation of the main charachters, ultmately the plot itself is rather limp. It starts off pretty impressively, and its nice to see the crew in a different setting (of Africa, in the fictional kiberian Republic) rather than the old BBC gravel pit, while the mysterious enemy mixed with traditional legned qualities certainly appeal, but ultmately the plot gets bogged down and trails off to the end. It s entatining to a degree, but the second half of the book needed a bit more work
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 3 October 2006
Despite a promising start, this novel descends into the usual cliches.
This aside the book does capture the feel of the UNIT era well and its nice to see the characters in a different setting from normal.
If you're looking for something different though this is one to avoid.