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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fear of the Dark
Taking life easy for a few days, having a nasty cold, I've read a couple of the 50th anniversary editions of Doctor Who novels. The Fourth Doctor story, Festival of Death, was great and I've reviewed that.

This one is the Fifth Doctor story representative for the 50th anniversary celebrations. Fear of the Dark was first published in 2003, and is set after the...
Published 13 months ago by Keen Reader

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Who-by-numbers
While Fear of the Dark is an easy and readable book it's real flaw is its failure to offer the reader anything new. The book cruises along on stock characters and situations, with the plot unraveling with such familiarity long term Who readers will find this book induces severe bouts of deva vu. Baxendales characterisation of The Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan is spot on, but...
Published on 29 Jan 2003 by Jane Aland


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fear of the Dark, 17 Jun 2013
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
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Taking life easy for a few days, having a nasty cold, I've read a couple of the 50th anniversary editions of Doctor Who novels. The Fourth Doctor story, Festival of Death, was great and I've reviewed that.

This one is the Fifth Doctor story representative for the 50th anniversary celebrations. Fear of the Dark was first published in 2003, and is set after the tv story Arc of Infinity, when Tegan returns to the Tardis after the adventure in Amsterdam with Omega. Tegan, Nyssa and the Doctor are still feeling the loss of Adric, and Nyssa is haunted by nightmares of Traken. When the Tardis is attacked by some kind of psionic force, they land on what turns out to be the moon of Akoshemon, a planet where centuries of fear and horror have haunted the landscape. There the Tardis crew meet up with a team led by Jyl Stoker; but what are they doing there and what does it mean for the Doctor and his companions?

This is a great story; the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan are captured perfectly. I love the way the author has captured Tegan's quickfire temper, and there is humour laced among the action and mounting horror of the narrative. Beyond that, the story itself is a clever, multi-layered narrative, which starts off seeming like its going to be quite straightforward but along the way turns into a very complex story with many sidelines. That's a good thing; the characters all get a chance to develop into `real' people, and the mounting tension and horror of the story becomes a real tangible thing. The Doctor's fear of his own vulnerabilities makes the story never seem like a sure-fire neatly tied up opportunity, and there is real tension and concern in the story right to the end. Totally, utterly recommende. This is a great Doctor Who, and a great story.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What's an evil force like you doing in a place like this?, 8 Jan 2004
By 
David Roy (Vancouver, BC) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Doctor Who: Fear of the Dark (Paperback)
Fear of the Dark is a Dr. Who novel by Trevor Baxendale. It's his fourth Dr. Who novel, and the first one to involve a different Doctor than the eighth. Baxendale does an excellent job with this one, creating his very own Who horror novel with some chills and a tight cast of characters. It's only marred by an ending that seems to take forever and some wooden characterization.
Baxendale is known for his traditional Who stories, and this one is no different. One can imagine the dank cave sets, perhaps wobbling a little bit as they were wont to do on the television show. It has a limited cast, and even fewer actual speaking parts. The only thing that couldn't be done is some of the special effects, and even those may have been able to be faked. Yes, this is televised Who on a book budget. And you know what? I loved it.
One of the things the television series often had going for it was atmosphere. Fear of the Dark has this in spades. It's spooky and it's (yes, this word will keep coming up again) dark. The dank mood of the caves just wafts off the page, and when one of the characters is completely cut off and alone in the dark (there it is again!), I could feel my own gut clench a little bit. Even when the characters are in bright lights, the book still feels a bit dimmed. Baxendale does a very effective job in conveying this, and the mood is perfect for what Baxendale is trying to show us. It's positively chilling when the Dark is siphoning away any visible light, and we watch as even open flames slowly dim until they are just embers, and then finally even these go out.
Often, when books go for an atmospheric effect, they do so at the expense of the characters. Baxendale is bitten by this bug, unfortunately. Then again, he could be going for the horror movie effect, where the cast is limited and nobody outside the inner circle is given any characterization whatsoever. While this may be true, it doesn't really work in a book. Some of Stoker's men have a few lines, a brief bit of characterization, and then they're gone. Cannon fodder is the term, I believe. It gets worse when the ship arrives and Baxendale adds even more faceless people to go with the two new full characters. In fact, we don't even know what happens to some of the crew, though it's obvious by implication. They just disappear and are never referred to again.
There are a few exceptions to this, though. Stoker is definitely the best of the bunch, alternately suspicious of the Doctor and then relying on him when it's clear he has a better grip of what's going on then she does. We learn a lot about her in the course of events, and I really enjoyed reading about her. Less well-done, though still effectively, are Lawrence, Bunny, and Cadwell. Cadwell has his own agenda but he seems a bit too stereotypical at times. Bunny is given lots of background, but it is sort of stereotypical as well. He has left his family for one final mission with Stoker, and he constantly misses his daughter (though no mention is made of him missing his wife, which is interesting). Lawrence actually is given more then the stereotypical tough-guy captain role, especially his interplay with Stoker.
However, it's the regular characters where Baxendale shines. The Fifth Doctor, so hard to get right in print (especially when compared to Peter Davison's performance of him on the show), is excellent. He's kind and considerate of his friends but just slightly tetchy. He's irritable at times, especially when things are starting to go wrong. Basically, he's so in-character here that it becomes obvious when something is happening to him and he starts doing weird things. With anybody else, the characterization would be so off that we would believe it's just the author messing up. Here, it's obvious what's going on and a little bit scary.
Tegan and Nyssa are excellent as well. Nyssa is innocent yet quietly competent. Tegan is a mouth on legs, but you can tell that she genuinely cares about people, especially her friends. She is willing to die for her friends if need be, and while she does feel fear, she is willing to do what it takes to save them. The novel takes place right after the television episode "Arc of Infinity," where she has met up with the TARDIS crew after being abandoned by them at Heathrow Airport 6 months before. Thus, the book delves deeply into her psyche as she determines what her place is within both the crew itself as well as life in general. She wants to do something with her life, and as scary as traveling with the Doctor can be sometimes, she hasn't felt alive like that since she was stuck back on Earth. She wants to help people, and she will always get the opportunity to do that when the Doctor is around. I loved her character in this book.
I haven't said a lot about the plot of the book, but that's mainly because it is stereotypical of the genre. A small group of people are terrorized by a malevolent force and must defeat it to survive. The ending confrontation drags on a bit too long and I started to get bored, but otherwise the book was one that I couldn't put down. Sure, the plot is a stereotype, but when it's done well, I don't care. This book grabbed me, and while it almost let me go at the end, it was definitely worth the read.
David Roy
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dr Who - Fear of the Dark, 20 Mar 2004
This review is from: Doctor Who: Fear of the Dark (Paperback)
This book is absolutely mind blowing. The fifth Doctor character is portrayed brilliantly as are Nyssa & Tegan. For a Dr who story it can get rather gruesome, but it works very well and the enemy is very believable.
Superb detail and descripton makes this one of the best books i've ever read. Very Very impressed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fifth Doctor Classic Novel, 8 Nov 2013
By 
Timelord007 (The Tardis) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Trevor Baxendale has written the exellent 8th Doctor Big Finish audio adventure Something's Inside & here writes for the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa & Tegan.

This is a engaging story that takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride of twists & turns in this very chilling adventure set on an ruined moon on the planet of Akoshemon.

The Doctor,Nyssa & Tegan arriving in the Tardis team up with Archaeologists led by Stoker at a archaeological dig were they are delving into the planets past history.

Akoshemons past history is of fear & darkness but now a great malevolent force is being reborn bringing more than what was told about Akoshemon past history.

An ancient evil is uprising that brings terror to the resident's of Askshemon as the Doctor's worst fears are about to be confirmed & the Timelord is about to to be pushed to his physical & emotional limits & beyond as the Doctor may not survive what evil forces awaits him.

Trevor Baxendale delivers a very dark & at time's gruesome adventure here for the Fifth Doctor & his companions, Yet Baxendale has actually nailed the Fifth Doctor's characteristics perfectly as i feel this is one of the most difficult incarnations to write for in Novels & audiobooks.

This is a chilling page turning adventure & although the ending drags slightly in no way does it diminish the quality written plot stucture of this wonderful fifth Doctor novel which is one of the better novels in the 50th Anniversary series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Survival horror, 2 Nov 2013
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Just like an original fifth doc adventure well written and spooky as hell love how the doctor is pushed to the very brink of desperation and fear recommended
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 3 Aug 2013
Peter Davison is very good as Doctor Who and it was nice to get a sense of him being truly scared for once. I've noticed that writers tend to make Nyssa into a medium for the baddies to use but this time it works because it isn't played on. Tegan is just being wonderful Tegan and this book is an excellent read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 2 May 2013
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Very enjoyable.. different and couldn't put it down! It's going to be one I read again and again. Great for the Doctors 50th anniversary
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5.0 out of 5 stars Doctor Who Fear of the Dark, 11 April 2013
On a moon of the ruined planet Akoshemon, an age-old terror is about to be reborn. Something that remembers the spiral of war, pestilence and deprivation - and rejoices in it. The Fifth Doctor joins a team of archaeologists searching for evidence of the planet's infamous past, and uncovers more than just ancient history. Forced to confront his own worst fears, even the Doctor will be pushed to breaking point - and beyond.

An adventure featuring the Fifth Doctor as played by Peter Davison and his companions Tegan and Nyssa
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best BBC books yet, 17 Feb 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Doctor Who: Fear of the Dark (Paperback)
For me this book is up there with Last of the Gaderine, Grave Matter, The Roundheads and The burning.
The atmosphere in this book is amazing, it reads lamost like a horror story in parts.
The charctorization of the regulars is spot on and the supporting charactors are well written, I only wish more of the BBC range was like this as a lot of the books are far to ambitous and boring
The best 5th Doctor book since The Sands of Time
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a treat, 6 Mar 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Doctor Who: Fear of the Dark (Paperback)
As a definituve Dr Who fan this book was a golden ray of light - how ironic. The book all the way through sucks you in, ever wanting to read on. The pages leading up to the 'spilling of the beans' are very chilling but they must be read at night with a small light on.
Any fan of Dr Who has to read this book, the fifth doctor as really at his best.
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Doctor Who: Fear of the Dark
Doctor Who: Fear of the Dark by Trevor Baxendale (Paperback - 6 Jan 2003)
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