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VINE VOICEon 6 December 2013
What with all that post-anniversary comedown, some new Doctor Who was sorely needed to ease the pain. A brand new Fourth Doctor novella from A.L. Kennedy, you say? That'll do nicely! Especially following on from some brand new Tom in The Day of the Doctor...

Over 2013 I've got used to a new e-book coming out every month, so it's nice to continue this tradition with the new Time Trips series. They're a bit longer (and a bit cheaper) than their predecessors and seem to feature Doctors in random order (presumably as chosen by the authors).

The Death Pit is set at a Scottish hotel in the '70s and concerns dissatisfied 24-year-old Junior Day Receptionist (or, as she points out, Only Day Receptionist) Bryony Mailer, "possibly the most inquisitive human alive on Earth at that time". It's not a very nice hotel, mainly frequented by boring golfers and their bored wives, but it still seems odd that people are disappearing from the golf course never to be seen again. There are other oddities too - the elderly hotel owner is never seen, and there's something a bit unusual about her twin grandchildren. Then a stranger, a particularly strange stranger, turns up...

I detected a distinct Douglas Adams-esque flavour to the writing at times ("He was flailing about in the pit like someone who had just found out a great deal of new and unpleasant information about life..."), which makes it seem very fitting that one of the characters is actually called David Agnew (a pseudonym used at various times in Doctor Who, including famously by Adams and others on "City of Death").The Fourth Doctor is travelling solo post-Deadly Assassin, and seems to be on the lookout for a new companion, at least if his many approving thoughts (we spend quite a lot of time in the Doctor's head here)about Bryony are anything to go by.

I enjoyed this story, although I did get a bit confused towards the end, and was left wondering about certain characters. Possibly that's a failing on my part, though. All in all, a good read which is certainly worth the price tag. I look forward to the rest of the series.
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on 5 December 2013
It feels a bit like an early Christmas present to have a new Fourth Doctor novel released right after Tom Baker's triumphant surprise return as the Doctor in the fiftieth anniversary episode.

This isn't a full novel, however, but the start to a new series of novellas after the completion of the recent fiftieth anniversary series which featured a different incarnation of the Doctor, counting upwards, each month. Hopefully this new series will follow a similar format even though it has begun with the Fourth Doctor. These new novellas look as if they might be pushing twice as long as the previous series, at least this one is. This should allow a bit more space for character development. This seems to be the case with Bryony and Putta in this story at least.

Set in a quaint golf and country club in Scotland (I wonder why the Fourth Doctor isn't wearing his hat and scarf from `Terror of the Zygons') it feels quintessentially British. There is certainly a touch of PG Wodehouse to it which lends itself wonderfully to the more light-hearted aspects of the Fourth Doctor. Despite the danger of some monster lurking beneath the bunkers and gruesomely picking off golfers there is something quite quirky and gently humoured to this story.

Even though this is a Fourth Doctor story and set in 1978 (whilst Tom Baker was playing the Doctor in real life) this has much more of the feel of modern Doctor Who. This is a story that could easily fit into the forty-five minute format. Although the Fourth Doctor is characterised well enough, it is easy to his role being fulfilled by the Tenth or Eleventh Doctor. There is also a preoccupation with what makes a viable companion. Bryony is obviously the companion material in the story and it seems as if the Doctor is assessing her potential. This is an idea more familiar in the twenty-first century Doctor Who television and books.

One of the major antagonists is named David Agnew, a popular pseudonym used by the BBC for several programmes (`City of Death' probably being the most popular Doctor Who story to bear this alias for Douglas Adams). I'm not sure quite why it is used here though.

Following the trend of the other Doctor Who novellas released this year this is a light-hearted entertaining bit of fun for children and adults alike. It's a promising start to a new series.
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on 2 September 2014
Full of the wit and warmth which permeates all of AL Kennedy's fiction, this installment in the travels of The Doctor brings a timely health warning to golf nuts everywhere. Stick to the fairways and light rough and stay away from the bunkers. Punctuated with Kennedy's signature downbeat view of life's trivia...and there's not much more trivial than golf....the unlikely setting provides a wonderful backdrop to this little gem of a story, full of mischief, aliens and dead bodies and disappearing high handicappers.
Yes, I guess being dealt the fatal blow just off the 13th green might be considered a very significant handicap, all things considered. A small delight....
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on 19 January 2014
Kicking off a new season of e-books representing each Doctor monthly, these stories are written with much longer pages in mind than the 50th anniversary outputs that were released through out last year. Death Pit stars the 4th incarnation as played by the eponymous Tom Baker travelling alone and gets embroiled in an alien invasion set amongst a golfing estate which is bizarre to say the least. Its a slow build up which I find messed about to much with detail and not enough action but its a comfy read. Will be looking to te others in this range to see who writes the best adventure.
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on 3 July 2016
The fourth Doctor teams up with the receptionist at Fetch's Hotel, in 1978, to defeat the baddie. Thought more would be made of the strange twins, but still thought it was a fun read.
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on 8 December 2013
A small dose of seventies who. Captures the wit of the fourth Doctor very well. My only complaint would be that the story doesn't so much end as just stop. Needs a follow up.
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on 6 February 2014
An enjoyable story involving the Fourth Doctor unfortunately slightly spoiled by some American spelling which rather irritated me. Still overall an enjoyable read.
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on 23 December 2013
Strong characterisation of the Fourth Doctor and a fun read too. Recommended! Apparently I have to write eight more words...
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on 11 December 2013
First in a new series of doctor who e books and not a promising one, the doctor is nothing like Tom baker and the plot is quite dull.
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