Top positive review
on 19 December 2013
Paul Leonard is my least favourite of the regular Doctor Who writers with both Genocide and Dreamstone Moon lacking to say the least. His story telling is very fragmented, he struggles to write for the Doctor (preferring to lock him up for the majority of his novels), and has an unhealthy obsession with animal/mineral entities. Therefore I wasn't looking forward to the prospect of Revolution Man, with only the prospect of Fitz spurring me on to read, however Paul Leonard has written a really good novel for once.
Revolution Man's main plot is the aforementioned Revolution Man changing history with the help of a drug, Om-Tsor. The setting is the late 60's which was a time of hippies seeking the ultimate high and also close the era where Fitz is from. Om-Tsor essentially lets you become a God, for as long as your trip lasts, and someone is using it to create chaos under the name of the Revolution Man. The novel is set over 3 years, with Fitz "living" through them normally, and this premise works really well. The ending isn't so great, I won't spoil it but needless to say it makes a 5 star review only 4 stars, and I was very disappointed in it after a truly brilliant novel.
The Doctor is very well done, which given Leonard's tendency to make him vanish for large periods was a rather pleasant surprise. That said he doesn't get a lot to do, but at least he is there. He seems to be enjoying having both Sam and Fitz to look after, and is in his element trying to solve the mystery of the Revolution Man. He also gets to do a lot in the TARDIS which is always nice.
Sam is also in her element, getting to meet a legendry anarchist who inspired her. Turns out he isn't exactly as she'd imagined he would be, but she still gets to argue social/political things with him. Later on she joins another group of fighters, albeit only undercover. To his credit Leonard has actually made Sam pretty interesting, nowhere near in the same league as Fitz, but she still isn't a chore to read like in some novels. Talking of Fitz the 60's setting works wonders for him as it's his close to his era and he actually gets to live it. His relationship with Maddie is also very touching. Fitz is a joy to read, portraying all the humanity under the sun, warts and all. This is only his third novel but already he's one of my favourite companions of all time.
Out of the three novels of his I've read Revolution Man is Paul Leonard's best work by far. The story telling is still fragmented, but as the novel covers three different years it actually works, the Doctor is actually given something to do and the lack of alien worlds means we don't have a sheep like alien race to contend with. Having Fitz around helps drastically, but I feel even without him, this novel would have still worked. The ending does ruin an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable novel though.