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Doctor Who: Devil In The Smoke Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged

4.1 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD: 2 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Physical Audio; WW edition (7 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1471333930
  • ISBN-13: 978-1471333934
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 13.2 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 589,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Dan Starkey... does an excellent job with the variety of characters at play here... Blending Victorian intrigue, Holmesian sleuthing and sci-fi humour to produce a first-rate little yarn... long-term Who writer Justin Richards brings the entire cast to life with his loving attention to characterisation" (huntspost.co.uk)

"Dan Starkey displays a fantastic vocal range to imbue the story with a whole gamut of characters... the action sequences are well-paced and the dialogue bounces between the characters at a sensible speed" (scifibulletin.com)

Book Description

Dan Starkey reads Justin Richards' thrilling adventure featuring Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax the Sontaran.

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Customer Reviews

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Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
First things first: despite the prominent use of the Doctor Who logo, the good Doctor is nowhere to be found in this 2-CD audio adventure, which is another excursion into the extended NuWhoniverse. Instead, we're treated to an adventure with the Paternoster Gang, the Silurian Great Detective Madame Vastra, her human maid and girlfriend Jenny and the Sontaran nurse Strax (who first appeared in the series six episode a Good Man Goes to War) involving a corpse found in a snowman by two workhouse children, a sinister industrialist and a deadly smoke. It's a rather enjoyable diversion with some nice touches, much comic mileage from the warlike Strax's desire for bloodshed and a pointless but glorious death and even a cliffhanger at the end of disc one, but it never quite makes the leap from rather good to really good. Justin Richards does a nice job of pastiching Victorian detective literature without getting too lost in past literary styles for a modern audience, though he's clearly having more fun writing for Strax than he is for his nominal heroine. Dan Starkey played Strax in the series and his reprised performance here is a joy to listen to, but his reading is particularly good all round, handling the other characters with considerable skill, even managing to convincingly voice the female characters without slipping into caricature. All in all it's an enjoyable case, but one that doesn't manage to leave you champing at the bit to hear of more of the characters' adventures.
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I picked up this book to read following a viewing of the doctor who Christmas special a couple of years ago. Whilst the doctor is not feathered in this book, his companions Vastra, Jenny and the amazing Straxx are and they set out on a case of who done it!! It's a simple fun adventure and not to be taken seriously at all! Enjoy it if you can :)
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This story is a taste of what a Doctor Who spin-off would be like if it concentrated around the characters Jenny, Strax and Madame Vastra. The television series has solidly established these characters so the basis of having a story solely concerning them isn't much of a stretch. Justin Richards does a fine job of capturing their on-screen personas, especially that of Strax. You can almost hear Dan Starkey delivering the lines (no doubt that is why he was chosen to do the audio). This does mean, however, that Madame Vastra and Jenny are a little overshadowed at times.

It's a fair story, hinting quite cleverly but deceptively at events surrounding the recent Christmas special. This is not an actual prequel to those events though but a story in its own right. Some of it is a little bit immature for adult readers and it feels that this is a story orientated more at a younger audience. The other main protagonist is a young boy with a slightly Dickensian skew. His character is a little two dimensional but it is probably apt for this particular type of short story. There isn't much substance to the actual plot but there doesn't really need to be. The Paternoster gang are strong enough characters, especially Strax, to carry the narrative. Aside from the dialogue the writing is also quite basic and lacking in depth. Even so, the chapter title descriptions are a wonderful touch that somehow echo the style of stories published episodically in Victorian newspapers.

The antagonist(s) are an interesting idea but, metaphorically as well as physically, they lack substance and the text really reveals very little about what exactly it is.

For a Doctor Who based story that doesn't actually feature the Doctor this does in fact work quite well. It is another example (just like the recent episode `The Crimson Horror') that shows the potential for these characters to carry off a TV spin off on their own.
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Ever since Madame Vastra, the Victorian Silurian Adventuress and her side-kick maid Jenny Flint burst onto our TV screens in the Doctor Who adventure 'A Good Man Goes to War' there has been a demand for the further adventures of this fantastic character.

There have been TV 'teasers', 'Minisodes' and of course the excellent 2012 Christmas special... but 'The Devil in the Smoke' gives fans their first real look at Vastra and her 'Paternoster Gang' fighting crime, aliens, evil and all manner of bizarre events in the London of the late 19th Century...

The story intself is very sound with many interesting concepts and ideas. The aliens themselves are fascinating creatures that could be explored further in any Doctor Who medium, the plotline is simple, but the characterisation that Justin Richards pours into the main protagonists makes up for any lack of depth.

This is really a novella and not a full blown novel so something has to be sacraficed, but it dosen't detract from any enjoyment of the tale...

Dan Starkey who plays the Sontaran Strax in the TV stories, gives listerners a lively rendition of the adventure, doing pasable impressions of Vastra and Jenny as well as the minor characters... but of course he excells at being 'Strax' who has some of the best lines in the whole thing!

Issued as a prequel to the Doctor Who Christmas 2012 episode 'The Snowmen', 'The Devil in the Smoke' works extremely well, although I had the feeling that perhaps it is intended mainly for younger fans as the full relationship between Jenny and Vastra is never mentioned, Vastra's taste for blood and raw flesh is also left out and any violence is kept to a minimum. However there is a great little scene describing Strax washing up...
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