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Doctor Who: The Roundheads Mass Market Paperback – 24 Nov 1997

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Books; paperback / softback edition (24 Nov. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0563405767
  • ISBN-13: 978-0563405764
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 10.8 x 18.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 834,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mark Gatiss. You may know the name from somewhere, but you'd be hard-pressed to recognise the face.
As many Who fans will already know, Gatiss already has a cult following in the UK as one quarter of The League of Gentlemen, the BBC's bizarre comedy series.
However, the New Adventures series allows Mark to explore his real passion - Dr Who.
The Roundheads is certainly an entertaining read, with Polly and Ben getting to prove they're not really just the cheeky London characters we all came to know and love in the TV series.
What's also pleasing to note is that the author manages to capture not only the period well, but also Patrick Troughton's 'cosmic hobo' character.
A big thumbs up then, but keep both careers going Mark - as good as your Who novels are, we simply can't live without your pals in Royston Vasey just yet...
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By Keen Reader TOP 50 REVIEWER on 13 Mar. 2015
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is an original Doctor Who novel, which was first published in 1997. In 2015, eight original Doctor Who novels have been released as the ‘History Collection’, a series of novels featuring different Doctors and their companions in historical storylines.

This story features the Second Doctor, as played by Patrick Troughton. In this story, he is travelling with Polly, Ben and Jamie, so the story is set somewhere between the tv stories ‘The Highlanders’ when Jamie joins the Tardis crew, and ‘The Faceless Ones’ when Ben and Polly leave.

The Tardis has landed, and the Doctor and his friends have stepped out into what Ben realises is London, but it takes them a while longer to work out when they have arrived. In fact it is 1648, and London is a dangerous place for strangers. Cromwell’s forces have defeated the King’s armies, and King Charles I is held prisoner. But Cromwell has more planned yet. As if that wasn’t enough, before long the Doctor and Jamie get taken prisoner, Ben finds himself all at sea, and Polly gets mixed up with desperate Cavaliers and fiendish plots.

This is a wonderful historical Doctor Who novel. The author has very skilfully blended history with the Doctor and his friends, and given the reader a totally satisfactory result. I loved that historical figures were so perfectly portrayed – Cromwell, King Charles, Cromwell’s spymaster Thurloe, Richard Cromwell. We even get to see Colonel Pride and Lord Grey of Groby, and ‘Pride’s Purge’ of the Parliament. The fictional characters, including the odoriferous Nate Scrope, and William Kemp and his family, are very realistically drawn and inserted into the historical background. There is a lot of emotion in this book, and the prologue, read again after reading the story through, really makes you realise the ultimate pathos of travelling with the Doctor. A terrific read, and a really great novel from Mark Gatiss.
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By Paul Tapner TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 Aug. 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mark Gatiss indulges his passion for times past once again by sending the second doctor and companions back to the days of oliver cromwell. And what a superb read he produces as a result. Convincingly recreating all the main characters on the page and giving each of them enough to do, the plot never feels drawn out or padded - as many long tv stories did at the time - and it'll teach you a lot about history. I wasn't aware of the story of cromwell's son before this. But I am now. A great read.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Classic Doctor Who (First and Second Doctor's mainly) didn't just used to be about alien planets and invasions of Earth. The Doctor and his companions would find themselves back in Earth's history, exploring key events. The Roundheads is one of those historical novels, starring the 2nd Doctor, Ben, Polly and Jamie and set in the back drop of the English Civil War. I'll be honest and say that most historical Doctor Who episdoes bore me, I just don't find them interesting, and given they are few and far between once Jon Pertwee took on the role, I can't see that I am the only one. Sadly The Roundheads did very little to change my view. The first 100 odd pages were a struggle to say the least, but once Mark Gatiss got the plot in place it wasn't a bad story.

My issues didn't end there though, a lot of the characters actions just didn't make sense. The Doctor and Jamie are imprisoned as spies, yet they get let out on a whim. Richard Cromwell finds a book which tells the future, yet does nothing with it. Sal Winter trusts Ben totally after one boozy night in Amsterdam. I could go on. The Roundheads also suffers from some lazy writing techniques and plot devices. Why does the Doctor need a book about the English Civil Wars? He hasn't before and he hasn't since. You may be able to overlook it if the book had a purpose but that story line just fizzled out. Nearly all the characters are stereotypical, there are two which aren't but the rest you never feel anything for.

The Roundheads isn't a bad book by any means, once you get through the beginning the rest is actually a fairly interesting story. it also does stick pretty closely to the historical stories of it's era so if you like that sort of thing then it would be your kind of book. Sadly I didn't find much to get excited about.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x95ec15a0) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ce0afe4) out of 5 stars Doctor Who rules, Mark Gatiss rules...period! 3 May 2002
By G. Van Der Bent - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Doctor Who always appealed to me the most as a sci-fi/ horror hybrid, I never cared that much for the so-called 'history' adventures, of which there were a lot, especially in the early years.
Gatiss' ROUNDHEADS is a welcome exception. Here in Europe this writer is known foremost for his British tv comedyseries, I read somewhere he is also a big Doctor Who fan. This novel, for me, proves that.
There's a big passion evident in Gatiss' writing. He makes the world of Doctor Who (and history!) come to live, and he just draws you in it.
ROUNDHEADS is very conservative in it's set-up (and it's execution) but come and think of it, that's why I like it so much. It's about the Doctor (in his second incarnation) and his companions who wind up in England at the time of Cromwell and the roundheads. They get mixed up in a plot to help the captured king escape and also, when a history book from the future is misplaced and falls into the wrong hands, they'll have to set history back on it's proper course.
I won't spoil anymore for you, but rest assured, there's plenty of adventures en even some bloody, gruesome stuff, which I, as a horror buff just love! THIS IS GREAT STUFF! ...
GO GET IT!
I since have bought all of Mark Gatiss other Who books. Can't wait to read those also!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c3b3054) out of 5 stars Entertaining historic novel featuring the Second Doctor 25 Sept. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Author Mark Gatiss does an excellent job of portraying the Second Doctor and his companions during the English civil wars. Fine details of the period are well presented however some knowledge of this part of history might be beneficial. Between Ben joining a pirate ship and the twisting plot, the book was a joy to read!
HASH(0x9c3b3228) out of 5 stars If nobody writes it down, is it still history? 2 Dec. 2007
By Michael Battaglia - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
These days when the show does historical adventures, there tends to be some kind of science-fictional element to it, probably to pacify the people who come in expecting their SF shows to have some actual science-fiction. And while we'll probably never see it again, there is something to be said for the "pure" historicals, where the cast isn't facing some kind of bizarre alien menace or whatnot in Merry Olde England and merely has to try and navigate court intrigue or cultural misunderstandings or just try to stay alive when everyone else is trying to kill them. Plus, it's a good way to see how much the writers did their research. Here, the TARDIS, in tempermental fashion, dumps the crew in London just after the Civil War (English, that is, for the Yanks) when the Roundheads have just won and are in the process of cleaning up. Deposed King Charles is safely in lock-up but Royalist elements are plotting to get him out before someone takes his head off. And into this blunders the Doctor and his friends. Gatiss would eventually write one of the pseudo-historicals for the new series (the one with Charles Dickens and the zombies, which would be an awesome name for a band) so it's clearly an interest of his. That in mind he seems to be keeping the details right, with plenty of local color, even when it doesn't seem that relevant to the plot. After a somewhat clunky start where he has to separate the TARDIS crew (the Doctor suggests they all split up and explore, even though that has never led to anything but trouble) but once things get moving, he keeps them moving. The Doctor and Jamie get captured, Ben gets mugged and shoved onto a ship, and Polly almost commits treason out of time. Gatiss juggles all of this well, with a small supporting cast who are all conspiring in one form or another and what he ends up with is a pleasantly entertaining read that manages to retain the historical feel without seeming too contrived. Even Ben's plot, separated from everyone else for quite a while, not only eventually connects with the main plot but remains fun due to the presence of a rather vibrant crippled captain, and their high-seas adventures are a nice contrast to all the sitting around in jail cells everyone else does. It can be properly classified as a "romp" without any hint of irony and while it's none too deep, the Doctor is characterized well (giddy and bumbling only until he needs to be clever again, he also gets in a good line about alternate histories), the scenery is interesting. You may not like this if have a inherent distaste for those types of historical stories but if you can conceive of the show as something other than space stations and aliens, this might be worth a look.
HASH(0x9c3b3858) out of 5 stars Fun historical for all the TARDIS crew 20 Oct. 2000
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In England in 1648, the four members of the TARDIS crew split up to explore whatever takes their fancy. Inevitably they find themselves drawn into events around a plan to rescue King Charles from prison.
In this book, Mark Gatiss takes the opportunity to explore the characters, especially Ben and Polly. Ben was established as a sailor in his first appearance, but this book is his first real opportunity to demonstrate his nautical skills after he is pressganged into serving on a ship. Polly gets romantically entangled with a Royalist conspirator, although she doesn't learn this at first. And the Doctor and Jamie are imprisoned in the Tower of London (being Scottish, Jamie's supposed allegiances make him an enemy of the Lord Protector).
Mark Gatiss is a good writer. He paces things well, and understands foreshadowing. He is also fairly humorous (as one would hope, based on 'The League of Gentlemen' TV series which he is one of the writer/actors in) but not overbearingly so.
Even if you are not a fan of the Doctor's historical adventures, you may still enjoy this one.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c3b387c) out of 5 stars Pass on this one. 20 Feb. 2005
By Henry - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a standard historical adventure in British history. Unfortunately, it is not very exciting. The history is interesting, and the travails of Ben and Polly are okay. However, there are no plot twists. And the Doctor has very little "screen time." Most of the adventure is with Ben and Polly, who are plain, wood-cut characters. Gatiss also seemed to include lots of filler to get the necessary 280 pages for BBC Books publishing requirements. The Doctor tries to get out of a guarded room for several pages, only to re-enter the room and be ushered away by an antagonist. I don't recommend this one--don't waste your time.
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