Top positive review
It's not quite back to business as usual just yet.
on 26 January 2001
Colin Brake's Escape Velocity is the final book in the current arc, and reunites the Doctor with both his TARDIS and his travelling companion Fitz. It also sees the introduction of new companion Anji Kapoor.
The story sees two business tycoon rivals, engaging in a space race to be the first privately funded man in space. They are both being aided by the mysterious aliens the Kulan, who have their own reasons for wanting to get into space. Into this, Dave Young and Anji Kapoor become involved when they see a mysterious man gunned down - a man who appears to have two hearts. A news report of this incident catches the eye of the recently returned from the events of the Ancestor Cell, Fitz Kreiner who heads out to meet them in the hope that the man they saw was not the Doctor. But the mysterious man left a package, which Dave wants to deliver. When he is kidnapped as a result of this package, there is only one man that Fitz can think of to help Anji to find her boyfriend. That man is the Doctor, but will the Doctor be able to help after a century trapped on Earth?
Escape Velocity is a good end to the arc that began with The Burning. It doesn't tie up all of the loose ends that stem from The Ancestor Cell, but it does succeed in restoring some of the fundamental elements of Doctor Who to the series. The Doctor is himself once again, even if he still doesn't have his memory restored totally, he has companions once more and of course the TARDIS has been restored. The moment when the Doctor realises the true nature of what the strange box he has been carrying since the Burning is magical.
New companion Anji is a promising addition to the TARDIS crew and she has an impressive debut performance. Fitz's return is also welcome. Brake has managed to re introduce him well, reminding the reader of who he was in terms of his background in the 1960's and highlight his worries about himself and the Doctor. The Kulan are an interesting alien race, although some of them are disappointingly motivated by the desire for conquest for the sake of it though.
Brake's writing style is good. He succeeds in telling the story at a good pace, and ensures that it is a very readable book. There are some familiar plot elements contained within the book, some of which were used in Father Time, but the story itself is appealing and a good end to this series. It sets up some elements which will form the basis of future novels, such as Fitz's disturbing memory problems regarding recent events and the Doctor's recovering memory. The final paragraph of the book is a very nice touch. It echoes back to the end of the very first episode of Doctor Who, and indicates perhaps that there is a new chapter of the Doctor's lives about to begin.
Overall, Escape Velocity is a good, well written novel, with some exciting action scenes and a fairly good plot. The characterisation of the Doctor is good, and it's good to see him back with his companions and off to new adventures in time and space.