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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

on 25 February 2004
A welcome return to form by this author, after the flawed, unsatisfying 8th Doctor novel The Domino Effect. Empire of Death is that rarity among the BBC's past Doctor novels - a book that matches or betters the stories amidst which it is set. A gripping yarn in its own right, this novel achieves the all too rare feat in print of giving neglected companion Nyssa some depth and personality. Empire of Death also neatly captures the essence of the 5th Doctor, as played on screen by Peter Davison. I won't spoil the story itself by giving away too many details, but it's a moving and thoughtful tale about Victorian attitudes to the death and the afterlife. There are some harrowing moments, but don't let them put you off. The 5th Doctor has been the worst served by BBC Books' output up to now - Empire of Death escapes the same fate with ease. Highly recommended!
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VINE VOICEon 17 March 2004
It's a case of third time lucky as David Bishop finally delivers a quality BBC Doctor Who novel. For the most part this is an effective supernatural adventure, as the 5th Doctor and Nyssa attempt to find out what lies submerged beneath a flooded valley. The involvment of Queen Victoria requires a high suspension of disbelief, but the supporting characters are well drawn and believable. The novel slightly goes off the boil in the last moments, when it turns into a series of rather predictable action set-pieces as the expense of developing the revealed inhabitants of the 'afterlife', but all in all this is an enjoyable read.
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on 21 March 2004
David Bishop captures both the feel of mid-Victorian Britain and the essence of the Fifth Doctor in Empire of Death. At times the first half of the book moves at a sedate pace, punctuated by the odd burst of action, but it picks up in the latter part.
Where this book does score highly is in its treatment of the 5th Doctor and companion Nyssa. The Doctor's portrayal is one of the more accurate ones in tune with Peter Davison's tenure as the Time Lord; he is often at the scene of the action, but more often as an observer than an active participant. Nyssa's character receives some much needed attention and depth; as this is the first novel to feature her as a sole companion, she is not overshadowed by the presence of Tegan. The author deals sympathetically with the Trakenite's feelings about the loss of her family, home world and her TARDIS friends, something most screen and book writers have left alone.
There are some plot holes that irritate, and minor characters who do not convince, and these are the only reasons why I don't allow Empire of Death a 5-star rating.
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