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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Story of Two Halves, 24 Jun 2014
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Amazon Customer "Boo62" (Ilkeston Derbyshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: "Doctor Who": Daleks - The Mutation of Time (Classic Novels) (Audio CD)
This story follows on from one of the best Doctor Who audiobooks I've ever heard, 'Mission to the unknown'.
In that, ( I recommend you listen to that 1st as not only is it superb but it does help explain a lot of what is going on here), the Doctor and his companions are up against the Daleks efforts to control time using something called Taranium which they get from a duplicitous Earth president along with help from a gang of nefarious Galactic rulers all convened on a planet called Kemble.
The Doctor steals the element & he and his chums set off in the TARDIS with the grumpy dustbins in hot pursuit.

This story at first appears to have completely forgotten that plot and as the first hour or two pass it seems the plot is lost all round as we are treated to some of the worst humour and daftest plot elements of any Doctor Who story I've ever heard.
The three hapless heroes stumble from time to time, (including a cringeworthy early movie story which see's the Doctor help Charlie Chaplin come up with a film plot!).
To be honest I came close to giving up altogether at that point as I was pretty miffed at how far things had strayed from the brilliance of the first story.

Things pick up though when everyone turns up in ancient Egypt and when the story finally ends up back on the planet Kemble we are all set for a grandstand finish with the Daleks giving full reign to their nastiness, their 'friends' getting their just desserts and everyone making one last mad dash for the TARDIS.

In the end this concludes really well and very sadly too. It doesn't completely erase the first awful two hours but it does do enough to earn it's four stars and make this worth a listen.

The recording is not the greatest and can be a little fuzzy at times but the narration is pretty spot on. It's funny how Jean Marsh always starts off sounding too posh and mannered in her reading but within a few minutes her style grows on you and she is a dab hand at adding urgency when needed. Peter Purves has a great voice for audio and the two make for a great pairing.
Some recognition should go to Nick Briggs not just for his work as the voice of the Daleks,(he manages some great variety) but also to recommend his own work with Big Finish. His magnum opus, 'Dalek Empire', is a massive 4 part series 18 part classic play that is impossible to over estimate. If you love the Daleks you will be in seventh heaven & I recommend it without reservation.

The Mutation of time however I have some reservations about but they are outweighed by an improved plot midway through & a neat ending to the superb story begun in Mission to the unknown. This is not quite up there with the classics but it's still, eventually, a good 'un & worth a listen.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Daleks' Master Plan (part two), 13 July 2010
This review is from: "Doctor Who": Daleks - The Mutation of Time (Classic Novels) (Audio CD)
THE DALEKS' MASTER PLAN was an epic story that unfolded over thirteen episodes (the one part MISSION TO THE UNKNOWN followed - after a gap of four weeks to tell the story of THE MYTH MAKERS - by the twelve part epic that was THE DALEKS' MASTER PLAN itself) and as such was a story rather too epic to be told in one of the slim Target novelisations of the 1970s and 1980s. Wisely then, John Peel split the story into two separate books of which this is the second, and this audio option has followed much the same format. Be warned then, if you buy this rather impressive 5-CD tale, to get the full story you will probably want to invest in PART ONE: MISSION TO THE UNKNOWN at some point.

However it is worth it because this is a very strong retelling of one of the finer epics from the early years of the TV series and the lengthy running time of the original tale means that some very strong characterisations are possible and that the tragedy of the story of Space Security Agent Sara Kingdom and the machinations of the wicked and treacherous Mavic Chen, the Guardian of the Solar System no less, both unfold on a rather epic scale.

This half of the story picks up from the end of the previous volume with a retelling of the events of the first DOCTOR WHO "Special Christmas Episode" - episode 7 of the 12 - which didn't really progress the plot but actually makes for a few chapters of what is a bit of light-hearted fun before the story takes a darker turn as we are returned to the planet Kembel and rejoin the story from where it was left, with the Daleks and their allies now needing to track down a missing vital element which is needed to help complete their "master plan", and the Doctor just happens to have control of it. For once the TARDIS is actually able to be piloted with rather more success than is usual and a chase through time ensues encompassing locations such as ancient Egypt at the time of the building of the pyramids, and an encounter with another old enemy. Eventually the plot moves back to Kembel and a final devastating encounter with the Doctor's oldest and deadliest of foes.

This volume retells the story told in episodes 7-12 of the television story which is something of a journey through time (whereas the first half was more of a journey through space) but still manages to be a quite successfully self contained as a story in itself although it is the weaker of the two volumes in terms of its dramatic tone and storyline.

Reading duties are shared once more between actors Peter Purves (companion Steven Taylor in the original) and Jean Marsh (who played Sara Kingdom) and whilst they both have very distinct styles, both read the story very well, each doing a couple of chapters at a time presumably because it would have been rather difficult on both them and the listener to have the same voices throughout. The transitions between the blocks they read are unannounced and can take a moment or two to adjust to, but the story is told in dramatic terms and holds the attention very well. Dalek voices are provided by current TV series Dalek voice Nicholas Briggs which probably avoids a lot of general embarrassment all round. The story is enhanced by some subtle but effective sound effects and music all of which makes for a rather impressive package.
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