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An original Doctor Who novel, presenting an all new story not depicted before in any other format.

It features the Tenth Doctor, travelling on his own without a permanent companion.

It runs for for two hundred and thirty seven pages. It's divided into twenty four chapters plus a prologue.

The Doctor is perfectly characterised and you can easily imagine David Tennant saying all the dialogue.

It's also perfectly suitable for readers of all ages.

The story sees a British girl called June encounter the Doctor whilst she's on holiday in Athens. Whilst he's encountered his old enemies the Slitheen, who are attempting to blow up an ancient monument. June and the Doctor are forced to travel back into the distant past to investigate what the aliens are up to. Which turns out to be running tours for aliens. But people are getting hurt as a result. As is the web of time. Can June and the Doctor put things to rights?

This has an excellent first third. The settings do come vividly to life. June is a fairly ordinary person. But that also makes her quite a strong character, so she's a good foil for the Doctor. And since a lot of the action is seen through her eyes that makes it for an interestinly differet look at the Doctor.

It does though sag somewhat in the middle with little action, lots of characters with made up names, and there's so much going on that that it simply doesn't grab as much as it did earlier.

Everything does come together well enough in the final third, though. Allowing for a few nice suprises at the end and a decent finale.

If the middle section of the book was as strong as what comes before and after this would rate four stars. But whilst it's not the best in the range it is still a slightly above average entry, and worth a look.
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on 11 May 2016
Considering the impact archaic and classical Hellenic culture has had upon the course of world history and the inspiration it provides for monsters/aliens in Doctor Who (minotaurs in particular), the Doctor doesn’t seem to visits this extensive and varied period very often. Onscreen there really only is ‘The Myth Makers’ even though several stories have extensively pillaged Greek mythology. Therefore this novel instantly has some appeal.

An alien attack upon the Acropolis in the modern day sends the Doctor back to the Mediterranean world of 1500BC. Once there he discovers a flourishing holiday resort run by the ever viciously entrepreneurial Slitheen. Aliens from around the cosmos come to watch humans slaughter each other in a form of gladiatorial combat in between touring the local sights as you average tourist might do.

It is an entertaining setup where in a reversal of the real world it is the various aliens that become the inspiration for mythical creatures. It also puts forward a science fiction reason for the eruption of Thera (although I was under the impression this happened in the 1600s BC from dendrochronology and volcanic residue in the ice sheets of Greenland – it’s a debatable subject).

The Second, Third, Fourth and Eleventh Doctors all faced some form of minotaur onscreen but it is only the Tenth in this novel that actually engages in the Minoan ‘sport’ of bull leaping which is believed to be the inspiration for the minotaur legend.

As this is a novel from the period when the Tenth Doctor travels alone, June fulfils the role of temporary companion for this adventure. In some ways she is quite a typical modern companion and, thus, nothing particularly original. But she is well characterised and comes over as believable and instantly likeable. It is very easy to see why the Doctor enlists her. She is also a classicist and thus a journey to the ancient Greek world is an ideal time trip for her.

Much of the novel comes from June’s perspective and she is more of the main character than the Doctor. This works quite well and makes this one of those stories where we only see the Doctor through the filter of a companion.

June’s perspective on the modern day tourists in Athens and towards the alien tourists invites comparison. It suggests that there is a view upon the sustainability of modern tourism within the story, but if there is it is buried fairly well beneath all the running around and action.

However, one of the greatest strengths of this novel is that it actually makes the Slitheen (who I personally believe to be one of the worst Doctor Who monsters) far more credible and not utterly irritating. Thankfully there are no ridiculous skin suits or fart jokes.
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on 9 May 2009
Simon Guerrier's latest original Doctor Who novel sees the Timelord travelling alone once more; however it isn't long before he picks up a new companion in the form of Classics student June.
The story opens in modern-day Athens, where June arrives at the Acropolis where she has a holiday job, just in time to help a beleaguered Doctor prevent an alien attempt to blow the ancient monument up. It isn't made clear why they should want to do this until the end of the book, but it provides an excuse for The Doctor to join forces with June and whisk her off to Ancient Greece, where he promptly goes into a trance-like state. While he temporarily recovers in order to save June from being mauled by a lioness, The Timelord continues to remain cataleptic, while June is taken-in by some locals and makes a shocking discovery once she reaches their home...
Yes, the nefarious Slitheen family have made a welcome return; posing as gods and acting as inter-galactic travel agents, the family are once more out to expolit and hunt; their two favourite pursuits. The travellers quickly get caught-up in events, and are soon fighting for their lives in the gladiatorial arena. However, this murderous scheme is just the tip of the iceberg and the family have an even more devious plan in mind; one that will test The Doctor and June to their very limits...

Guerrier's prose is always engaging and never strays too far into technobabble. His version of The Tenth Doctor marries well with David Tennant's excitable yet damaged television portrayal, and he clearly had fun with the never far from comic Slitheen family. Student 'June' sometimes feels like a bit of a rent-a-companion, but until the TV series casts a more permanent associate for The Doctor, it doesn't matter too much. Overall this is another smashing entry in the BBC Books strand; light, accessible, occasionally informative and always fun.
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on 9 August 2009
I know these books are really aimed at teenagers but at 27 I always get them the day they come out & this one didnt disappoint. They can often be harder to get into when they are the Dr on his own as you have to warm to the new "assistant" for the book, but this is a great read for fans of all ages.
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One of the best Tenth Doctor novels, for sure. The Doctor and surprised new companion June get diverted from a trip back to Ancient Athens and bump into a family of Slitheen who are out to make some money from changing Earth's history.

The Slitheen here are more sinister than their TV representation, with the emphasis on their greed and hunting, and their menacing claws. There are no human body suits and giveaway farting, but that doesn't prevent the occasional more comic moment. The writing of the Doctor's character suits David Tennant's portrayal nicely, though sadly one book is not long enough to give the companion June anything more than a one-dimensional character.

It's tightly written, pausing only briefly for the occasional moral moment but otherwise sticking firmly to the action. There are plenty of twists and turns at the end that might get a little confusing for younger kids, but overall this is one of the most accomplished Doctor Who novels of the last few years.
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on 11 June 2012
The setting and characters in the book are fabulous - modern and ancient Greece lifestyle, attitude and activities are nicely summarised. The characters, both friendly and enemy, human and alien, are fleshed out nicely and feel more real and less stereotyped than other books in the series,which makes more interesting reading, especially when an on/off love story develops. The thing that let it down for me was the extreme nature and scale of the events which just seem so outlandish that they felt ridiculous, especially the mile long ladder and the Doctor's gymnastics. The battles were daft too - they stop and start at will. Original, but not the best in the series so far.
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on 8 February 2011
I am 12 and i am ahugefan of dr who. thibnk this is the best book so far with the dr who books and cant wait to read another
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on 22 May 2015
still in pile waiting to be read
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