Deceit (New Doctor Who Adventures) Paperback – 15 Apr 1993
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Features the Doctor from the BBC TV series "Doctor Who". In the aftermath of the Dalek Wars, Earth's Office of External Operations is trying to extend its influence. The TARDIS has been unstable for a long time and now the Doctor and Bernice have run into Earth's External Operations unit.
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Top Customer Reviews
Since departing the TARDIS with extreme animosity after the death of her lover Jan on the planet 'Heaven', caused in Ace's opinion by the actions of The Doctor, Ace has joined an elite fighting force in which she can utilise her considerable skill at handling explosives. The force's latest mission brings her back into contact with her ex-companions on the troubled planet 'Arcadia'.
Darvill-Evans has produced an inconsistent novel; part sci-fi encrusted nonsense, part thought-provoking nonsense and the former is in the ascendence. The problem really lies with the fact that 'Deceit' seems to have no purpose, our heroes meander through yet another mysterious set of circumstances and bicker along the way. That really is all there is to it.
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However, once you get over the fact that the story is pretty standard, and that the TARDIS doesn't even make it to the planet Arcadia until page 100, and that the Doctor and his two companions are separated for the entire book until the very last minute...well, you begin to appreciate in retrospect just why the NAs were so good.
"Deceit" takes place in roughly the year 2453, three calendar years after the seminal "Love & War". Within "Deceit"'s 300-odd pages, we see clearly the entire vision of future history, as the NA universe understands it. All the tiny little hints and elements carefully placed during the first two years of the NA's publication, come to fruition here. A textbook-style appendix, if you read it, makes things even more clear. A lot of thought went into planning the NAs and turning them into a coherent universe of novels, rather than just a random set of monthly TV tie-in publications. This is, to be honest, a stunning feat.
"Deceit"'s internal pacing is what turns the book into an also-ran. The Doctor should ideally be the star of "Doctor Who", but in "Deceit" he doesn't have a line of dialogue until page 81. There are no scenes told from his standpoint, and the way we see him through other characters' eyes is far from flattering. The return of Ace, absent for the previous three books, is more disturbing than rousing. Benny, as ever, is all over the map. One particular supporting characters are dragged across an entire book with nothing to say, and then, when it's all over, her fate is left rather up in the air. Yes. Thank you.
But, turning again to the Darvill-Evans afterword, even here you can see that the author learned from his own mistakes, and fewer and fewer books after "Deceit" would make them. "Deceit" may not bear re-reading, but its impact on the next 5 years of "Doctor Who" books was very positive indeed
The book begins slowly, and the quiet opening sections had me fooled into thinking this was going to be an absolutely brilliant story. There are nice quiet little character moments that hint at a story written with a lot of care. There are instances of surreal insanity that actually work. Several plot lines are developed at once, and each one manages to be both interesting and engaging. Parts of the narrative seem slightly confusing at first glance, but careful reading reveals a fairly complicated story apparently being built up.
A large and pointless action/battle sequence at about the halfway mark signals the beginning of the book's dive into tedium. It's dull, it's overly macho, it seems unending, and, unfortunately, it sets the tone for the rest. At some point along the line, everything that had been carefully developed was thrown aside in favor of senseless and dull action scenes. Writing a captivating battle sequence takes a lot of skill; one can't simply have a list of things that exploded and expect the audience to stay interested. Regrettably, PDE's writing simply isn't up to the level needed to keep the reader's attention.
While the beginning of the book showed promise, this isn't a New Adventure that I can recommend. It has several good moments in it though, and if you skip ahead during the gunfights, then the book may just be about worth it. However, reading DECEIT in its entirety will almost make you forget about the good stuff that was buried in among the nonsense. Read it to see what happens to Ace, but don't be afraid to skip ahead during the fights; you won't be missing out on anything.
The book is a full length novel, but feels like a role playing game, with all the extra layers that a Game Master likes to splash on. An alien planet, twisted plots, mysteries within mysteries and a backwards civilization. What ARE they trying to do on Arcadia? Why collect the minds of the people? Why would Earth send along a Dalek Hunter called Daak, with his chain saw swords, if there were no Daleks? Why did the Doctor show up and why won't he listen to Ace? It never seems to be completely explained and in the end there is a feeling of emptiness.
I'm not sure, but I don't think Doctor Who works as a full length novel. It gives you too much time to start to nitpick at the details and flaws.
This book is a bit of a worry. It's purpose appears to simply be to return Ace to the TARDIS crew and to tell a mildly Dalek-related story (odd, since Virgin didn't have the rights to use the Daleks in their books...). It also features Absolom Daak, a charcter from the Doctor Who comic series, who is a Dalek Killer!
Despite all these Dalek-related issues, the story has little to do with them. Instead we are served up what amounts to a generic Who opponent, who is defeated in a generic Who way.
A lack of true creativity dooms this book to being, at best, a second-string novel in the long line.
The other problem with this novel is it's vagueness. The Doctor et al land on your typical generic planet, with typical generic people. Nothing about the setting is terribly interesting. While it does turn out there's something significant about this, it doesn't really make this a very gripping read. The reuse of the maze scene from "Horns of Nimon" is a bad idea.