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Thankfully Better Than The Menagerie...
on 14 February 2001
Bunker Soliders is written by Martin Day, who produced the worst Missing Adventure for Virgin Publishing 'The Menagerie' and so I was apprehensive to say the least about this one.
It's considerably better than his previous solo effort, but the book is still severely flawed. Having the book narrated by Steven is actually a refreshing change, but the character is bland and although Day tries hard to make him interesting, he's fighting a loosing battle. After the excellent use of this TARDIS team in Steve Lyons 'Salvation' Day's use of Dodo is not good. She doesn't really seem like much of a character here, and he fails to build on the character that Lyons built for her in his book. The best character here is the Doctor, and here Martin Day has succeeded spectacularly. This is the Doctor as William Hartnell played him, and the scenes involving the Doctor were the best within this novel.
The most significant fault of the book though, is although the plot is interesting with good ideas, the execution is not good. Very little appears to happen within the first hundred and eighty pages or so, apart from explaining the frustrations of the TARDIS crew as to their situation. When Day does begin advancing the plot the book picks up well and the last hundred pages are a joy.
There are a lot of First Doctor books better than this one (notably Salvation and the Plotters) but this book would have been a lot better with better characterisation for Steven and Dodo and with better pacing. Martin Day manages to capture the first Doctor perfectly, and has produced a good last hundred pages and these features are the books redeeming qualities.