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Doctor Who: The Crawling Terror (12th Doctor novel) Paperback – 20 Apr 2017
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An original novel featuring the Twelfth Doctor and Clara as played by Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman
About the Author
Mike Tucker is an author specialising in books for children and young adults, and has written several original ‘Doctor Who’ novels, a number of ‘Merlin’ novelisations, and original fiction for other shared universes. He has also written numerous factual books relating to film and television, including a history of the BBC’s Visual Effects Department, where he used to work.
Alongside his writing, Mike works as a Visual Effects Designer, and his company - The Model Unit - recently won a BAFTA Craft Award for its miniature effects work on the 50th anniversary ‘Doctor Who’ episode ‘The Day of the Doctor’
Top customer reviews
This story starts with a number of strange appearances of supersized insects and one very angry arachnid targetting people in a small village in Wiltshire. The Doctor and Clara arrive when the Tardis picks up some ley-line disturbances which the Doctor feels warrant investigation. (Clara is concerned the Doctor is becoming a hippie, but the Doctor assures her his tambourine solo was one of the highlights of Woodstock.) The story feels at first like it’s going to be a classic ‘giant insects terrorising small village’ story, but it soon takes a much, much darker turn. Because the beginning of this story started a long time ago, and the Doctor is going to find himself torn by the need to save this time, at the expense of lives in the past.
I really enjoyed this story; I felt throughout that there was a thread of the Third Doctor and Sarah Jane running through both the story, and the relationship between this Doctor and Clara. The UNIT-type involvement of the military in the story was very well done. The inhabitants of the terrorised village play small but important roles, and the alien nature of the ultimate threat that the Doctor faces was very well portrayed. Clara had a very active role in the story, which was good to see, and really showed her strength as a companion (again, I felt much like Sarah Jane often did). And the Doctor’s characterisation was very well captured. He was irascible and impatient with the military mind, as he always has been, and the ‘alien’ nature of the Doctor was well portrayed throughout. Definitely a strong Doctor Who story, and a great read.
The book runs for two hundred and fifty pages. It's divided into twenty chapters, plus a prologue and epilogue.
It's suitable for readers of all ages, although since the monsters of the story are giant insects, some moments might be a bit strong for younger readers or those who have a phobia for such things.
The characters are perfectly well written, with dialogue you can imagine the actors who play them saying on tv. Since this was written before the first Twelfth Doctor episode had even screened, that is a good compliment. It's early in this incarnations run in this story, thus he's like he was in those episodes. Abrasive and not too keen on the military.
The story sees the TARDIS drawn to the small British village of Ringstone. A seemingly ordinary place, with an old stone monument. And a science project going on nearby. But terror awaits the residents, when giant insects are spotted. Who turn out to be very dangerous to all life forms.
The village is steadily being cut off from the outside world. The answer might lie in the stones of the monument, and something that happened decades ago...
This uses the common Doctor Who plot of isolated community under siege. But what it does with the idea and the characters makes it work really well indeed. All the supporting cast of characters are pretty ordinary people, but they all have a lot of depth to them and are excellent three dimensional creations.
And it's also simply very well written. Very memorable set pieces and a plot that moves at just the right pace to keep you hooked. For the first third of the book, as the problems and danger take hold, this is a cracking good read and thoroughly gripping stuff. It shifts direction after that to give explanations and take the plot in a different direction as things have to be resolved. This isn't quite as good as what came before. But that's only a minor complaint, because this section does have some good ideas. Use the notion of time travel well. And everything works out nicely in a very good final quarter.
An above average entry in this range, and well worth a look.
There is a fantastic understanding of the characters and traits of both Clara Oswald and this incarnation of the Doctor that shines through in the writing; no matter the moment you can clearly picture and hear in your head these actor's play it out without any struggle, and that is where the novel works. It also builds a good atmosphere too for the most part, often getting an eerie element that although won't have you terrified out of your wits, will nonethless give you a slightly unsettling feeling during spider season.
Where I feel the story falls apart is in it's length as it feels the story would have been perfected in a shorter state, and the stretch means there is more explanations that I won't spoil, but stretched credulity to an almost camp aspect that ruins the atmosphere it has built thus far.
The structure also takes a little getting used to initially; almost every paragraph signals a switch in perspective of characters in the town dealing with this crisis, giving both Doctor and Clara perspectives but also civilians and military. This keeps it fresh and probably could have sustained the book without the extra plot developments.
That said, even with the odd lull, this book is still a worthwhile purchase and will get multiple readthroughs, making it a definite worthy purchase.
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