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on 16 May 2013
This story reminds me of the William Hartnell historicals with no monsters. Jon Pertwee takes Jo Grant and Liz Shaw on a trip in the TARDIS but they arrive in Russia a few weeks before the revolution is due to start. The TARDIS is taken and the Doctor and his companions get dragged into politics and Jo Grant makes a new friend, Rasputin.

A Marvelous read.
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on 24 November 2001
This book, with its bleak evocation of pre-revolutionary Russia, conclusively demonstrates that the decision to drop purely historical stories from the TV series was a lamentably short-sighted one. Pertwee would certainly have lapped them up! I certainly had no difficulty whatsoever picturing him enacting the scenes in 'The Wages of Sin'. The Doctor's hair's-breadth escape from the train was particularly exciting, I thought, and typical of the third Doctor. Where the other characters were concerned, Prince Felix and Rasputin provided an extended helping of nail-biting tension where Felix is attempting to administer a fatal dose to the mad monk. I was a trifle disappointed that we didn't meet Czar Nicky at all: it might have been interesting to have his point of view to contrast with that of Alexandra, piously attempting to conceal her fancy for a bit of rough beneath a veneer of saintly good works. Jo Grant and Liz Shaw rubbed along together rather uneasily; perhaps it might have been better to include one or the other, or even neither, for their contribution to the plot was rather marginal. The best character of all was the engaging Kit Powell, who played the role of the Doctor's companion far more effectively than either of the two women. I was really concerned in case he got himself wasted somewhere along the way! Perhaps the Doctor didn't manage to 'drop him off at Whitehall' quite immediately?
I hope I can safely leave that little hint with David A. McIntee.
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on 27 November 2013
The Wages of Sin is a Past Doctor Adventure written by my favourite Doctor Who author David McIntee, and features my favourite classic Doctor, the 3rd. Needless to say I was looking forward to this novel, despite its historical nature.

The story of The Wages of Sin revolves around Russia in the days preceding Rasputin's murder, with the Doctor and his companions caught up in things whilst trying to get the TARDIS back. As with most historical pieces the story is already written to some extent, and as such you know what's coming next. McIntee does manage to make it exciting and nerve wracking to the end however, with a Rasputin who refuses to die.

The Doctor is the 3rd, and McIntee does a good job of recreating him on the page, including a Bondesque martial arts fight on the top of a moving train. The companions are Jo Grant and Liz Shaw, which is nice to see them meet, but not really required for the story. I've always enjoyed McIntee's brand of fan wankery in the past but this one is bordering Gary Russell territory. That said both companions are done well, in what little time they do have on the page.

Historical pieces are always hard to judge in terms of other characters as the vast majority are real life people and The Wages of Sin is no exception. Initially there seems like a lot of characters to keep track of, but once the story starts flowing it becomes easy to know who is who. I do like the fact that Rasputin is portrayed as a good guy in essence. So little is known of him, other than reports by people who disliked him, that he may well have simply been misunderstood. The non-historical Kit Powell is a nice "male" companion for the Doctor who I'd like to see more of as the 3rd Doctor didn't really have any male companions outside UNIT.

The Wages of Sin isn't quite as impressive as McIntee's previous works in the range, but nonetheless still manages to entertain throughout. Well worth a read.
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on 7 February 2000
If you're a fan of Jon Pertwee's Doctor and are sick and tired of watching that old worn out video of The Daemons, then look no further than David A McIntee's novel.
With a style and panache which matches those frilly shirts and velvet smoking jackets of the early Seventies Who period, the author has managed to capture the essence of Pertwee's era and coupled it with the brooding sense of menace which must have surrounded 1916 Russia.
The Doctor, Jo and Liz Shaw take off for the Time Lord's first jaunt in his newly repaired TARDIS and find themselves stuck in a country on the brink of revolution.
Unfortunately for them, not only does Rasputin take a shine to Jo, but the trio end up embroiled in his murder while hunting for their stolen police box.
Is this the best of the BBC's new Doctor Who adventures?
Well, good luck in finding a better one. A must for enthusiasts everywhere.
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David A Mcintee's prose veers oddly from book to book, between supremely readable to overly clunky. Fortunately he's back with the former style here.

The third doctor and jo take liz shaw on a long promised tardis trip. They plan to head to tunguska in 1908 so she can see exactly what hit it, but instead end up in a pre revolution moscow and get to meet rasputin.

An interesting historical with a well rendered setting. And it fits the era perfectly. Who else but the third doctor would chase someone along the roof of a train in the middle of the russian winter?

A strong ending reminds us that the doctor isn't quite human and has to preserve the web of time, and this is spot on characterisation. A very good read.
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on 12 December 2000
The Wages of Sin is an aimless narrative of loose ends. McIntee could have tried something daring here but instead decides to primarily concentrate on toning down Rasputin's excesses to very little purpose or effect. Infact McIntee would have us believe that the mad monk is just misunderstood and that he actually shares much in common with the Doctor. Hmmm - I think not. The Doctor, Jo and Liz are entirely incidental to the plot and are poorly served here. The best thing about the book is the well realised cold funereal atmosphere as Russia waits for revolution. All in all a moderate read that is neither exciting or involving.
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on 28 April 2003
I've just finished this book and, like all the best Doctor Who historical stories, this whetted my appetite to find out more about the period it was set in.
Rasputin, known widely as The Mad Monk, was neither mad nor a monk, and the author does a good job of making his readers reassess what propoganda and Hollywood has fed us over the years.
Pertwee's Doctor is captured perfectly, and its nice to see Liz Shaw get a spin in the TARDIS at last.
Highly recommended.
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on 26 January 1999
This is a very thought-provoking book from one of the masters of Doctor Who fiction, David A. McIntee. Having cut his teeth in the world of the New Adventures, and produced the first (and so far only) Doctor-less novel in the new BBC range, he now unites two companions we only wish could have met on screen, Professor Elizabeth Shaw and Jo Grant, alongside their Doctor. Liz gets to travel somewhere in the TARDIS at long last, although with typical navigation from the Doctor, having only just regained his memory of time-travel, they end up a few hundred miles, and just short of a decade off-course, in Russia towards the end of 1916. Deep in the grip of the Great War, Russia's public are concerned about the Tsarina's attachment to a holy man, known as Grigory Rasputin. Like Titanic, we all know how the story is going to end, but the journey makes this book so much better. Having the travellers trapped while around them the situation comes to a head, and knowing they cannot change events, no matter how much they disagree with them, helps build the tension. David manages to show both sides of Rasputin, once said to be the most evil man in the world, and really makes you think about how things might have been different had he lived. I highly recommend this book to anyone with even a passing interest in Doctor Who, and real fans will find this a good example of the heights to which the BBC range can reach.
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on 23 July 2000
David A. McIntee tries so hard to write good Who, yet time and time again he fails. This is another example of failure. The story is dull. The characters are dull. The overall tone is dull.
I mean, it's not bad in theory. The Doctor and two very good companions (ie Liz and Jo) go to Russia before the revolution and get tangled up in a plot to kill Rasputin, with whom Jo has fallen into acquaintance. Meanwhile the TARDIS is stolen, the Doctor can save Rasputin but doesn't, yadda yadda yadda. But in practice, it just doesn't work.
A good book needs colour, a good plot, strong characters and vitality, but sadly this book fails to deliver any of them.
Sorry, David. Next time, maybe?
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