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on 18 September 2001
If you liked Paul Magrs' 3rd Doctor novel 'Verdigris', you'll love this.
If you're the sort who can talk about contradictions in Dalek history for seven hours or until someone bludgeons you to death with your own duffel coat, then let's be honest, you probably won't.
Yes, the author takes the startlingly original stance that Reagan and Thatcher's politics might have been a bit, you know, evil. But if you grew up exposed to the (mostly Left wing) 80s/90s British media then you'll probably be surprised at how little he actually touches upon it. He confines it to the narrative rather than place words in the characters mouths, and it really isn't jarring. The ending has been mentioned negatively in several reviews, but I personally believe that if you complain about the ending(s) you've missed the point, just a tad.
Overall, this book shines with love for it's subject matter, even after spending 280 pages subverting and poking fun at 'Dr Who?' it was never cruel, and managed to turn out a Second Doctor passage that in a few sentences was more genuinely touching than many of the 'serious' 'Dr Who?' novels I've read.
And let's be honest. Anyone who can attempt to raise Vince to a canonical character gets my lifelong repect and admiration.
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on 20 June 2000
What a wonderful book from Mr Stone. Great fun all the way through, I honestly couldn't put it down.
This is how multi-doctor stories should work - subtly and without the usual shoving together for a half-hearted plot (or, in the case of BBC books first release 'The Eight Doctors', no plot at all).
If you've been put off the Past Doctor BBC books by the atrocities such as 'Divided Loyalties' then give it another go with Heart of TARDIS. The Past Doctor books certainly seem to be coming out of the quality rut they've been stuck in the the last year or so...'Heart of TARDIS' and before that 'Verdigris' and 'Tomb of Valdemar'...it's a good time to be reading Who.
btw, to the Guy who doesn't know why it's called HoT....hint - try thinking about what happens at the climax of the book. ;-)
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on 9 June 2014
Heart of TARDIS is a Past Doctor Adventure by David Stone and features the 2nd and 4th Doctors and sounds very intriguing. It doesn’t really live up to its promise though.

The plot of Heart of TARDIS isn’t easy to make out. You have the 2nd Doctor, Jamie and Victoria trapped in some city which doesn’t seem real and where people are being murdered and the 4th Doctor and Romana investigating and odd kidnapping of the Brigadier. The events are obviously linked but it isn’t clear how. On one hand this is irritating, but on the other it keeps things moving. Sadly things fall apart at around the two thirds mark, with Stone introducing lots of plots devices just to push the plot forward, and others added for no reason.

Whilst the story is mostly interesting and entertaining, Stone’s writing style comes across as pretentious and condescending. Long words are used for no real reason and it’s never fun having to look up what words mean continually. Stone also sees fit to explain everything, and add knowing insights or attempts at humour into other bits when neither are really needed.

Both the 2nd and the 4th Doctors are done really well with probably the best portrayal of the 2nd in the range since Steve Lyons. Companion wise Stone has done quite well as Victoria, Jamie and Romana are true to their TV personas. Victoria gets a fair bit of time, but all we learn is she likes women to cover up, Jamie is often forgotten about whilst Romana does the bulk of the work whilst the 4th Doctor faffs. It’s not perfect, but neither is it worth marking down for. Honorary mention goes to the Brigadier, who like Jamie isn’t in it enough. All other characters are annoying as hell however with Crowley and Delbane being the worst offenders. I find this sort of subterfuge very irritating as it just seems lazy.

I found Heart of TARDIS great fun in places, but annoying as hell in others. I had to look up words in the dictionary, and re-read entire paragraphs neither or which I really want to be doing when reading a novel. Stone basically tried far too hard, and the result is a mess with the odd little nugget of greatness. One for fans only I think.
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on 24 August 2000
Seeing the Second Doctor in Middle America opens possibilities that are nearly endless. The pairing of the Second and Fourth Doctors is a great combination even though they never meet in this book, and given the plot, don't really need to either. Reading the synopsis of this book will get any Who fan excited, but unfortunately here the fantastic ideas fall by the wayside of either hurried writing, poor editing, or a lack of sound exposition. Honestly, there are about seven or eight stories happening at once and not enough time is given to any of them. I'll be the first to admit that some Doctor Who episodes and adventure books have baffled me, but a second round with the material usually clears up previous confusion. If you are puzzled with this book, you are not alone. The end goes at a mile a minute, giving no time to explain what is happening, where it's happening, and to whom it's happening. In the prelude, Stone reinforces his affinity for stopping prose in climatic midstream for the sake of dramatic zest. Unfortunately, he does it so often and so inappropriately that it totally loses its affect and more often than not perplexes and frustrates the reader. This book goes everywhere all at once and it's regrettable that the reader can't come along.
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on 4 September 2012
Seeing pictures of the second and fourth Doctors on the cover of "Heart of Tardis" I was thinking wow another cross-over story... but I was so wrong. The book itself doesn't help by having incredibly small printing which makes it extremely difficult to read and after a few pages I thought is this really a Dr Who story?, who are these other people and how are they involved? what is this story about? I tried to read on a few pages and hoped the story would make more sense, but quickly got fed up and stopped reading it. There are lots of Dr Who books out there and this is the worst I've ever read.
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on 9 September 2000
This is the worst Past Doctor book that I have read since Virgin introduced the novelisations.
You would imagine that an author writing a tie-in novel for a cult 70s series would know better than to run down another cult 70s series since the audiences may well overlap. This mickey-taking would be excusable if the end result were amusing as intended, but the attempted jokes fall flat, one after the other. I could also do without having the author's political opinions rammed down my throat at regular intervals. Again, this would be acceptable if the plot of the novel were in any way politics-related, but it isn't. The author simply takes the opportunity now and then to randomly throw in an overt and pointless political attack. And while the annoyance factor is high, the plot falls below expectations aswell, rambling around in a lost way, making little sense until the author attempts to drag it all together rapidly at the end, but leaves plot holes behind. There is some decent characterisation here of the Doctors and their various companions, but it's not worth buying the book for that alone.
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on 22 October 2010
It may seem a slightly odd question to pose with regard to the author of a Dr Who novel but I found the characterisation of the second Doctor in particular so poor that I do genuinely wonder if Mr Stone ever bothered to watch any of the readily available episodes (or even read a Target novelisation or two). As noted elsewhere, the continual political ramblings add nothing other than annoyance value and when it is the second doctor spouting political invective and using a phrase like "kicking against the p***ks" it is clear that authentic characterisation was not going to get in the way of the story. Now, this wouldn't be so bad if the story had the depth, complexity and interest suggested by the brief synopsis on the back cover but the plot, quite frankly, is a mess, making little sense even after multiple reads. So, are there any redeeming features? No. Avoid like the plague.
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on 12 June 2000
Well now, what can we say?
This book appears to have been written by at least two different Mr Stone's and neither of themn has the slightest idea what the other is writing about.
The story meanders through a succession of late 70's jokes before coming to a halt.
I had to read the ending twice because I thought I had missed something. The sign of either hurried writing or poor editing.
For what it's worth it still makes no sense at all, but them I'm nonplussed as to why it's called Heart Of Tardis.
Needed another edit.
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