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on 23 February 2013
The second of the New Adventures to feature archaeologist Bernice `Benny' Summerfield as main protagonist, is a somewhat torpid affair; ostensibly a murder mystery surrounding the disappearance of a sacred relic, it never really takes off, and even the few action scenes fail to spark in any meaningful way. Arguably the best thing about this novel is the introduction of Doctor-substitute, Time-Lord Irving Braxatiel; an enigmatic figure who seems set to be a recurring mentor for our heroine. Hopefully, this was a bit of an off-day for Justin Richards, as he is usually a much more entertaining writer, however before we get to the next Richards effort, The Medusa Effect (New Adventures) Matthew Jones' Beyond the Sun (New Adventures) has the chance to really launch Benny's profile as a great sci-fi character in her own right.

Audio CD: ***Rough and ready early BF offering:
In recent years, particularly regarding their flagship Doctor Who monthly series, Big Finish have become the gold standard for audio Sci-fi and fantasy full-cast dramas. However, as this early Bernice Summerfield offering demonstrates - it was not always thus. It's far from being terrible, but the production values are basic, the voice cast unilaterally RP-speaking white luvvies, and the story itself rather dull. The latter is not down to the producers of course, but the choice of a mediocre spin-off novel for a full-cast audio drama, was possibly an unwise one.
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VINE VOICEon 6 August 2004
Benny's second solo New Adventure is a fairly average run-around concerning a bogus historical artefact. The plot is well paced, with a lot of plot-twists, but the actual story is fairly uninteresting, as Benny finds herself between two equally underhand factions involved in the political skulduggery, and the open ending is a twist too far. Readable, but nothing spectacular.
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