Another visit to Peladon for the Doctor and the Ice Warriors,
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This review is from: Legacy (New Doctor Who Adventures) (Paperback)
The Doctor returns to Peladon and once more there are political problems threatening the participation of the planet in the Federation. The premise and setting of the novel is thus much like that we have already encountered in the two television stories. This means much of the same issues arise, especially the division between church and state. Although it is somewhat nostalgically enjoyable to revisit this society and its issues it does also mean that a lot of the same ground is re-covered and that there isn't much offered that is sufficiently new. The inclusion of the diadem and its huge power attempts to add a different dimension to the story but often the plot surrounding this seems a little disconnected from the political situation. This is a novel of two interrelated stories that don't always gel.
Of course you can't really have a Peladon story without the presence of the Ice Warriors. This portrayal of these iconic monsters is concerned with them being represented as a multi-layered society rather than generic, green, lumbering foes. Even so, only two Ice Warriors really have any character. Savaar is very successfully realised as a fully rounded individual. Even the suggested attraction to Benny is, despite expectations, actually believable. This is due to the strength of this character.
In fact, much of the story is carried by Savaar and Benny and the interaction between them. This is a very unlikeable portrayal of the Doctor, lacking any charm or charisma. He spends much of the time at the back of events and often comes across as too condescending when he does actually speak. There seems to be some pretence that he is cleverly planning things out but this really isn't realised by the narrative. It is the actions of Savaar and Benny that push things forward and bring things to a resolution.
Ace is basically superfluous to the story. It feels as she has only been included for the sake of it; because she is travelling in the Tardis at this time. Atissa, although well written, is much more psychotic than the previous high priests we have seen in the TV stories. This makes her a little less interesting as her motivations seem to come from religious insanity rather than firm political conviction. Both Hepesh and Ortron from the TV serials can be sympathised with; Atissa can't.
There are also a fair few other reasonably developed characters. None of which really stand out though. The inclusion of Alpha Centauri is probably one of the highlights and is written for perfectly. In the seventies I always wanted Alpha Centauri to be the Doctor's companion for a while so I'm easily pleased with his/her appearance. It is a very faithful portrayal.