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Doctor Who: Sands of Time
on 11 May 2014
Justin Richards is an accomplished writer of Doctor Who novels; his works are always detailed in their continuity of the Doctor’s travels, well characterised, even when writing of established characters such as the well-known companions, and his stories are always interesting enough to exist outside of the Doctor Who realm as great novels themselves. This book was originally published in 1996, and has been republished in 2014 as part of the Monsters Collection of books.
In the great 1975 story Pyramids of Mars, the audience was introduced to Professor Marcus Scarman, an Egyptologist who in 1911 finds a pyramid inscribed with the Eye of Horus; but the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith are involved in that story, which involves the resurrection of the Osiran Sutekh who had been defeated and imprisoned centuries earlier by the Osirans.
The cover of this book, Sands of Time, features one of the servitor robots wrapped in mummy-like wrappings which were featured heavily in the Pyramids of Mars story, so the reader, if he/she is aware of the earlier story, knows that this is likely to feature the Osirans once again. A story heavily drenched in Egyptology, archaeology and mysteries of the desert and sky. And we are not disappointed. The Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan land in a museum in 1896 and Nyssa disappears. But before that happens, the reader has been introduced to several inexplicable times and events – Egypt c. 5000 BC, Giza in Egypt 1896, Oxfordshire 1926 and London 1965. What could all these seemingly unrelated events and timeframes possibly have in common; and how could they be related to what has befallen Nyssa? Well, that’s the beauty of this story – even the Doctor is baffled to start with, as it seems that he and his companions may have arrived in the middle of their own story. Unravelling it all, and finding out what other Earth-threatening mysteries still remain for the Doctor to resolve, forms the narrative of this story. It is very timeline intensive, as people, events and timelines cross all over the place, so the reader must kept their wits about them. But at the end, we are satisfied that, once again the Doctor has put all things right in the universe for another day; and he, Nyssa and Tegan depart in the Tardis once more. And on Earth a new member joins the Royal Society in London; Professor Marcus Scarman.