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on 10 July 2011
"The Crusade", a classic Doctor Who adventure from Season 2 of the First Doctor, is a magnificent historical adventure like "The Aztecs", "The Romans" or "Marco Polo". Only 2 of the 4 episodes survived on film, so it's well worth reading the novel especially since already the audio recordings of the missing episodes made me aware of the excellent dialogues David Whitaker wrote. As a work of literature, one wouldn't think "Doctor Who and the Crusaders" belonged to a children's TV series. This new edition features a new introduction, new afterword, cover artwork which looks old-fashioned in a good way with the golden logo, in other words: it's just what I wanted instead of a battered old second-hand copy. I hope there's going to be more like this especially from the Lost Episodes years.
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VINE VOICEon 20 October 2013
This was always one of my very favourite of the novelisations of Doctor Who TV stories. Originally penned in 1965 by its TV author, also the very first script editor on the programme, it was reissued in paperback as one of the first Target novelisations in 1973. It is a beautifully and lyrically written enhancement of the TV script; sections of the book have imprinted themselves in my memory ever since I first read it at the age of 10, and still come across as fresh and compelling now 36 years later. The dialogue and action are Shakespearean in their feel and intensity, and quite horrific and chilling in places. The story is really a great piece of literature in its own right, not just as a Doctor Who novel. The Doctor himself comes across as much more calm and wise and less irascible than his TV persona, while Ian and Barbara are deeply in love with one another. There is a great prologue, written from scratch for the novelisation, where the Doctor and his companions discuss the nature of their attempted interventions in history. Great stuff from start to finish. 5/5
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on 15 July 2011
In the early development of the world's longest running Sci-fi tv series the producers set out to educate as well as entertain. So every so often the monsters and alien planets made way for a purely Terran historic story that usually involved the Doctor and crew getting separated from the Tardis early on, followed by a tricky entanglement in established history. The BBC excelled at this sort of thing. Unfortunately most kids preferred the weird worlds, ray guns and Daleks to Marco Polo, The Aztecs and massacred Huguenots. Schooling was for weekdays. Saturdays were for dreaming. I'll admit that I didn't see the original broadcast of The Crusade but I did have problems as an 8 or 9 year old with David Whitaker's novelisation of his own script. I made several attempts to start this one before abandoning it, but eventually I persevered, got into it and indeed enjoyed it. Perhaps it was the weighty prologue that balked me... I don't know. More likely is that it was just slightly ahead of my years. Even today the long conversation the Doctor has,(not present in the original script) trying to get to grips with the immutability of time is still pretty hard going and not a little confusing with its rock climbing analogies accompanied by Clive of India, Rasputin, Kennedy, Lincoln, Hitler and Napoleon. I'm still confused how it all ties in with how certain Earth history can't be changed due to what is right and wrong, and how it all ties in with wondering what would happen in a situation where two historic figures opposed each other, both for their own right reasons.
As a whole though I can look at the book today as something quite brilliant. In the entire Target range I don't think there is another title that expands the script so much. Whitaker does a great job of bringing Richard the Lionheart, Saladin and a host of supporting characters to life, with enough tangled scheming, adventure, richness of description and sparky dialogue to keep any student of history with a yearning for adventure happy. Perhaps there are a scene or two which are a little too protracted but I think it just underlines how much Whitaker was enjoying the chance to explore the subject matter. Half of the episode are still lost, episode one having been found in 1999, so reading this is a great way of filling that season 2 gap.
This new edition includes an introduction by Charlie Higson, original artwork, a feature on author David Whitaker and between the lines article about the script to novelisation process.
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on 2 April 2015
As this is an incomplete story in the BBC archives, it's one of the few times any of the old Target range will ever come in handy now. Like in the old days, it's a way of re visiting a story from the shows history, and as it's written by David Whitaker, scenes, and dialogue are expanded upon, giving a fuller story rich with content.
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on 21 July 2012
Okay, I admit it. As a boy I was never really a fan of the purely historical 'Doctor Who' stories. Monsters and spaceships and gothic spookiness were more my scene. But somehow this book won me over. Perhaps it was David Whitaker's beautiful writing, his wonderful characterisations or simply the engaging plotline. Or maybe it was the fact that it had Tom Baker on the cover (yes, our local lending library had that odd White Lion hardback edition). Whatever it was, this was one historical that drew me in and I borrowed this book from the library time after time. Truly a book to be savoured.
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on 5 September 2014
Originally this was one of the earliest Doctor Who stories to be published, long before the Target series of novelisations. It is written by the programme's first script editor who also wrote the very first Doctor Who book, `Doctor Who In An Exciting Adventure With The Daleks'. Unlike his Dalek novelisation, which was radically reworked from the screen version, `The Crusaders' is far less of a re-imagining. There is a certain amount of improvised added content that takes place before the events on screen but this doesn't really have a great deal to do with the plot and does feel a little unnecessary apart from to introduce the characters to the reader in the current book. After that, although there are more alterations than the norm in the Target novelisations, it doesn't vary in any important way to the onscreen version. Some characters receive a somewhat larger roles whilst others are reduced.

`The Crusades', even allowing for the two missing episodes, was never a particularly inspiring Doctor Who story. The novel does little to alter this. Unlike similar `historicals' from the era of the First Doctor, this feels like it is missing a monster. This is mainly due to a lack of a decent major villain such as possessed by `The Aztecs' or `Marco Polo', for example. El Akir seemed a bit of a non-entity in the televised version and the efforts in this novelisation to create a more memorable villainous character feel a bit forced and stereotypical.

The role of the Doctor is also severely limited within this story. The novelisation seems to over emphasise the almost pointlessness of the Doctor being involved in the story.

Opposed to this though is that this is a strong story for Ian and Barbara with the novelisation focussing on them even more than the television version. This book should have more appeal to those who are particular fans of these two companions.

Although the novel has its moments it is nowhere near as good as Whitaker's `In An Exciting Adventure With The Daleks'. Even so it is well worth reading due the loss of two of the television episodes.
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on 21 September 2011
A surprisingly well written book,it has a lot of adult themes running through it.Memory has not dissapointed me in the thirty years since I last read it.
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on 25 April 2014
Brought back memories of reading the Target paperback in the 70s. Wonder how much it will cost to re-buy Kindle versions of these stories!
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on 2 October 2015
A great present for my grandsons.
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