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on 20 November 2007
From 'The Sunmakers' to 'The Long Game', satire has long been at the core of some of Doctor Who's most memorable stories and Faith Stealer is a pleasing addition to this canon.
This time, as the title suggests, the satire is religious; the time-travellers continue to be trapped in The Kro'ka's universe and arrive in 'Multihaven', nicely descibed by Charley as 'some kind of spiritual stock-exchange!'. C'rizz is suffering from mental strain, hounded by flashbacks of him murdering his lover and Charley is bemused and disturbed by the variety of 'Gods' for sale. Apart from a somewhat uncertain tone - slapstick comedy rubs shoulders with attempts at pathos - this is the best in the Eighth Doctor 'story arc', Paul McGann is at his insouciant, unruffled and meandering best and Charley and C'rizz's strained relationship is further battered.
Who or what is 'Miraculite'? Why is it trapping priests and what is its ultimate purpose? In parts reminiscent of a Terry Pratchett novel with its ludicrous religions and feeble failures, the story immediately grips and makes us care about The Eighth Doctor and his crew in a way that has rarely been achieved before now.
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This is the sixty first release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Paul McGann as Eight, India Fisher as Charley and Conrad Westmaas as C'Rizz. This is the fifth of a series of adventures in the Divergent universe following the events of Zageus, in which there is a loose story arc. Knowledge of some of these previous adventures will help with the enjoyment of this. There are 4 episodes, roughly 25-30 minutes each, complete with original theme music between each, and cliff hanger endings. Two episodes per disc on 2 discs, and a short booklet with some pictures of the cast and production notes.

Following the events of the twilight kingdom, the Doctor, Charley and C'rizz continue to roam the Divergent world at the whim of the Kro'ka, subjected to his experiments. After their latest journey through the interzone, C'rizz is subjected to some very unpleasant hallucinations related to his guilt over the death of his mate L'da. The Kro'ka suggests the group go to the Multihaven, a place of religion, any and all religions. It seems the perfect place for rest, meditation and healing. But something is afoot, and the multihaven is starting to be less multi than it used to be.

It's a curious one this, the Darker Eighth Doctor mixes with some humorous characters. For the first three parts it's actually quite good, with the normal sort of Doctor Who story unfolding, as he fights against evil and tyranny. But in the third part it suffers from a problem suffered occasionally by Who - not knowing how to finish. The ending has a great big deus ex machina where things are resolved all too easily out of nowhere. But apart from that it's a decent adventure with some decent acting from the three principles, especially McGann who does well as the darker Doctor, and Conrad Westmaas has some juicy moments as the confused C'Rizz.

In all 4 stars. OK, but not right up there with the best.
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VINE VOICEon 11 November 2004
The eighth doctor seemed to have lost his way in the last season of audios from Big Finish. The stories on the whole were sloppy and failed to engage the listener. The overall feeling ever since 'Zagreus' has been that the authors have become too clever for their own good, this is Doctor Who not George Orwell...
Faith Stealer feels more traditional, and this is a good step. The story is solid as conatins some interesting concepts taking place as it does in a settlement in which hundreds of religion compete for converts. Aside from a few poorly written attempts at humour (the cult who consider accidents to be lucky...) this is a good solid story.
If you were put off by the last season give this a shot. Or if you're new to Big Finish get a copy of Storm Warning and start from the beginning of the Paul McGann seasons...
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on 7 April 2006
Faith Stealer is one of the 'Divergent Universe' story arc. Over the years, that saga has had alot of critisisme for being ultimately boring and hard to follow. Faith Stealer is deffinately one of the better ones though.
Faith Stealer deals with the interesting issue of a place with over 47 different religions. The Doctor and co. arrive there just in time to be caught up in a vast conversion to one religion. Then things begin to happen. The deaths begin to occure, the possesions begin to happen and C'rizz is caught up right in the middle of it.
Though obvious what is causing this, Faith Stealer proves to be an ultimately interesting serial from start to finish.
If there was one bit of criticisme about this serial then it must be the ending. It all seemed to happen too quick. This serial is four parts long, but could have easily been five.
Even though, this is still one of the greatest Big Finish serials to date. I also recomend Terror Firma for any Dalek and 8th Doctor fans (like me) out there.
For any Cyberman and 8th Doctor fans (like me), I recomend Sword of Orion.
So please... have a little faith for Faith Stealer.
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on 28 June 2007
"When the Doctor, Charley and C'rizz find their journey through the Interzone interrupted by a nightmarish vision, they are surprised to find the Kro'ka offering the perfect solution...

"The Multihaven - a vast array of religions and faiths housed in one harmonious community - appears to offer the perfect sanctuary in which to convalesce. But under the guidance of the charismatic Laan Carder, one religion seems to be gathering disciples at an alarming rate...

"With the Doctor and Charley catching glimpses of an old friend and C'rizz on the receiving end of some unorthodox religious practices, their belief, hope and faith are about to be tested to the limit."

"Faith Stealer", by Graham Duff, gets Big Finish Production's second, more successful Divergent Universe season off to an enjoyable start with a mildly satirical take on religion and the dangers of cultism.

"Faith Stealer" is not anti-religion: in a way, it pays homage to multiculturalism and the diversity of faith. It is only the fast-growing cult, the Church of Lucidity, with its quest for the total conversion of every inhabitant of the Multihaven and a sinister force at its helm that is preying on the faith of its disciples, that threatens the unique character of the Multihaven and eventually destroys it, along with several of its citizens. The religions portrayed in Faith Stealer are imaginative, including the religion of the Bakoans, who worship a never-ending hymn, and the Church of Serendipity, who worship accidents (introducing welcome moments of comedy into the story). The cult, meanwhile, is well-portrayed, with its dangerously sincere leader Laan Carder (Christian Rodska) and his faithful initiate Jebdal (Helen Kirkpatrick) leading the fold with cries of "So Much Lucidity"! Duff also takes a poke at ineffectual leadership with the character of the Bordinan (Tessa Shaw), a likeable but weak adjudicator who dithers until the last and therefore fails to act to save her unique domain of the Multihaven until it is too late. Regulars Paul McGann, India Fisher and Conrad Westmaas do a decent job with the material, with Westmaas' character C'rizz finally getting something interesting to do after a predictable first outing two subsequent cases of under-exposure.

The ending, which I shan't reveal here, is a bit of a cop-out, but along the way "Faith Stealer" does a decent job of mixing satire with drama and incident, and deserves considerable recognition for its imaginative premise.
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VINE VOICEon 26 December 2004
This is the first story in what we are now told will be the 3rd and final season of 8th Doctor audio's by Big Finish, and continues with the (rather boring) quest of the Doctor, Charley and C'rizz through the mysterious interzones to find the missing TARDIS. Beyond this rambling backstory the main thrust of this adventure concerns the Multihaven - a settlement where the multiplicity of different faiths is celebrated, but the mysterious cult leader Laan Carder is rapidly converting all to his own religion...
The story deals with some interesting issues of blind faith, with some clever plays on people being literally 'converted' after 'seeing the light', and it hits all the right dramatic notes, but ultimately it turns out to be a fairly predictable Doctor Who romp, with a poorly explained parasitic evil alien being revealed as the menace. On the positive side new (ish) companion C'rizz gets a fairly healthy amount of action for once, with the murder of his girlfriend back in his introductory story finally being addressed (better late than never), though the fact that he is himself a monk is never really addressed, which for a play about religion is odd.
Well performed, with some nice underlying ideas, but ultimately a fairly standard adventure.
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