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Doctor Who: Option Lock Paperback – 2 Feb 1998
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On contemporary Earth, the Doctor and Sam discover an ancient secret society is trying to start a nuclear war. An optical mystery compounds their confusion and the mysterious US-owned Station Nine brings further problems for them to resolve.
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After a confusing start, the novel then does get better. The Doctor and Sam are made welcome at the manor house under the flimsiest of cover and spend the next few chapters investigating the ruins, some spooky painting and something called the Philosophers Stone. It soon becomes clear that all is not as it seems and one by one the plot threads do sink into place and the final half of the book is exciting and interesting. The fact it took so long to reach this excitement rather ruined the book for me.
This is a fairly standard Doctor Who adventure which will please the majority of people but be forgotten within a month.
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Frankly, although I like James Bond, the middle section of this book was boring to me. I kept thinking of stories like "Independence Day" where the suspence was kept to the breaking point without bogging down the story. If this is all accurate (and I suspect it is), I know more about the responses of the US Government to a nuclear strike than I ever wanted to. I suppose all that detail was necessary to the plot to explane why the LOTM was doing what he was doing. But, oh it was boring! Not enough Doctor in it.
That's another thing - the character of the Doctor was wrong. I can see a trend here - the authors of some of these books seem to see Sam as an Ace-wannabe that is growing into a Mad Max kind of woman. Strong, tough but can still be female and break down in tears. Humm - maybe, but it isn't quite right yet. Not a book I'll be likely to read again.
This visual flavour makes the story feel more like the book version of a multi-million-dollar film that's already been shot rather than an adventure that's written specifically for the book format. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing at times and to the author's credit, it's done very well here. The visual nature of the prose leaves the reader with several of the pivotal scenes etched into the mind. It has a very large and cinematic feel to it that can be quite enjoyable if one is in the mood for that. The plot is not actually overly complicated, yet the action moves forward fast enough to keep things enjoyable.
In short, this is a fairly good, fast-paced, solid action-adventure. It's quite entertaining and if you're looking for something that's light but not at all bad, this is probably one of the early BBC books that you should look into.