Top positive review
One person found this helpful
on 28 April 2014
In 1977, the great Fourth Doctor and Leela story Robots of Death was based on board a huge Sandminer. On board are nine humans and numerous robots, ranging from `Dums' through `Vocs' and a `Super Voc' which controls the other robots. Robots are being utilised by this society to do work that humans cannot or will not do. But the robots are programmed to not be able to hurt humans - so when humans start getting killed, it can't be the robots - can it? By the time the Doctor and Leela leave on the Tardis only three humans are alive.
In this story, which picks up some years later, those three humans have moved on with their lives - Uvanov, Poul and Toos have found ways to cope with what happened, and as far as the inhabitants of Kaldor are concerned, the events on the Sandminer never happened. The Doctor and Leela arrive on Kaldor and find themselves in the middle of a very nasty and deadly political, economic and cultural disturbance. And could robots be involved?
This novel is particularly strong in its building of the world of Kaldor. In Robots of Death we saw a very small glimpse of the civilisation of humans and robots from Kaldor, and only a very small part of the sandmining operations, as all the action took place on the sandminder. In this novel, that aspect has been broadened to encompass a whole world, with all its ramifications for the civilisation as a whole which depends on the precious minerals being mined, and which utilises robots for many menial tasks. The jostlings for political power and money are a large part of this cut-throat world, and Chris Boucher has taken characters from the original story and built them into this world view very cleverly.
The Doctor and Leela are also very well written here. Leela has a pivotal role in this story and her character is very well brought out. It is, based on her actions and reactions, quite an early story in her travels with the Doctor and her first instinct remains to bring out her knife and sort people out fairly abruptly. The Doctor is his usual toothy-grinned self and there's a lot of wit written into his character. The author has done a great job capturing both of them in this novel.
If you are not familiar with the Robots of Death this story stands alone and you won't be lost. However, knowing the background of the Robots of Death story does definitely add a whole new dimension to this great novel.