After the suspension of the tv show of Doctor Who in 1989, Virgin Publishing started working with authors to produce a series of New Adventures, which were published from 1991. This is the first of the New Adventure range, and is itself the first of a linked series of four novels featuring the Timewyrm theme.
The story picks up right after the end of the last tv story, Survival. A Prologue has the destruction of a spaceship and the survival of a dangerous passenger. The narrative shifts to Ancient Mesopotamia, where Gilgamesh the mighty King of Uruk is spying on his neighbour and enemy, Kish. Here he meets a mysterious woman who he takes to be the personification of the goddess Ishtar. Meanwhile, the Doctor and Ace are in the Tardis, where the Doctor has rather inconsiderately managed to wipe Ace’s memory in his attempt to declutter his own mind. After sorting that out, the time travellers are rather surprised to receive a warning from one of the Doctor’s other selves about the Timewyrm. The Doctor knows he must investigate.
This is a great start to the New Adventures. It is a story which would always have been beyond being shown on the small screen at the time, yet it takes the Doctor and Ace and places them in a situation where they are still utterly familiar to the reader (remember, at the time these “new” adventures were a wholly new experience for Doctor Who fans). The story is, as advertised, broader and deeper than the stories we had been used to. The author, an authoritative writer on Doctor Who, has taken the Doctor and his companion and placed them in an environment where aliens meet history and where the Doctor must use all his skills to safeguard the future of humanity. Even better, at the end of this story he knows that he still has to fight the menace of the Timewyrm – on to the second New Adventure, Timewyrm: Exodus by Terrance Dicks.
The 'New Adventures' series of books were never officially declared as 'canon' to Doctor Who. That is to say, they were never officially a sequel to the TV series which had finished with the story 'Survival'. However, most fans see the books as just that, and they can be read as such with ease.
Like the series they are based on, the books are a bit hit and miss. A good book often following a bad, although it should perhaps be mentioned that there are only a very few real 'stinkers' in this series. The early books often had plots originally destined for the TV series itself and the cancellation of the show was instrumental in the books being written (it was felt the scripts should not go to waste).
As the New Adventures series progressed the writers let their lead characters develop. There is a sense of change from the old to the new that can be seen when these books are read retrospectively after seeing the new Doctor Who productions from Russell T Davies. Naturally, it helps to be familiar with the 7th Doctor stories as these books are written for the McCoy era fans. Many of the writers of these books have since gone on to write for the new TV shows or have written for Torchwood. Other writers had already been involved with the TV series, and Genesys writer John Peel is a name familiar to all Doctor Who fans.
If you are planning to read them all you should be aware that when the characters are allowed to develop this often involves a certain amount of snogging (and sometimes more, although nothing too graphic), and the entire series suffers from certain writers trying to get their favourite bands mentioned in the plots (this happened a lot until there was a bit of a fan backlash about it).
Timeworm: Genesys is the first of the New Adventure books and as such it is a good place for prospective readers to start. Set in ancient Mesopotamia, the book is basically about the awakening of an entity that the Chronovores call the Timewyrm (Chronovores live in the time vortex). A shape changing creature with the power to contol everything within her grasp, the Timewyrm has crashed on Earth and her power is growing as she consumes the minds of the humans around her. The Doctor and Ace get a message from the fourth Doctor warning them to do something about it. But in tackling the Timewyrm, the Doctor has given her access to the one thing she needs most to escape her confinement and conquer the universe... the TARDIS.
An interesting start to the series, with a lot of the novel devoted to setting up the Timewyrm monster for the next 3 books in the series. It's very readable - an easy style. There's lots of Time Lord shenanigans going on but the 7th Doctor's voice comes across with clarity. A bit more could have been done with Ace - her relationship with the Doctor has taken a small backwards step here. The plot itself moves along at breakneck speed and is very enjoyable. Looking forward to book 2...
There are a few new adventures ive read before, and i have to admit some of them have been a bit of a let down, but with the timewyrm series, this is not so. a story that does not stop for breath from the word go is a hard type of story to find, but here are a series of four books that all do that easily!
but timewyrm genisys...well, the characters of the doctor and Ace are quite well done, but i feel that after the ending of survival that the start of this story isnt very much of a lead on, however, it is a good sotry anyway and this can be forgiven, cuz the whole story is good. with good storng characters and good pace. better than a lot of the later new adventures. but ive come to expect no less from a writer as good as John Peel, having read his brilliant novelisations of power and evil of the daleks. this is a great story and the timewyrm is a good and totally evil character! cool stuff!
I first read this when I was 12, and I loved it. The plot is a re-telling of the epic of Gilgamesh and Enkidu from Ancient Messopatamia, involving the Doctor and Ace and an Alien the locals believe to be Ishtar. This is a great story woven together by a master, the late John Peel.