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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 14 June 2013
"I'm the Doctor. But you can all call me "the Doctor" ...

A new Doctor Who adventure is always approached with some excitement, and a little trepidation. This one, which features the Cybermen (best villains ever) promises much.

In a quiet village under the shadow of the castle, people are dying - of a plague, or so they think. And others, who have been taken by the Plague Warriors, are found with limbs and organs torn from them. When the mysterious Doctor arrives in their midst, they are surprised but soon accept his offer of help. But what the Doctor finds does not make him happy - for there is evidence of others being there who have anything but the best of intentions for the population.

This is a good Doctor Who story; fairly standard fare, no surprises, and that's not a bad thing - a good Cybermen story with plenty of action, lots of Doctor witticisms and a story that would translate well onto the small screen - that's what the diehard Doctor Who fans like me always enjoy. Great stuff.
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on 6 May 2013
The Cybermen often seem to work better when they're an insidious menace rather than invading the Earth with armies and space armadas, and for much of this story the Cybermen remain an eerie, disturbing threat in the background. Richards utilises them brilliantly, bringing them fully into the story with perfect timing. True, there are certainly similarities with `The Next Doctor' and `Closing Time' (Cybermen do tend to accidently crash their ships a fair bit) and there is a lot of heavy borrowing from the classic `Tomb of the Cybermen', but that is not necessarily a bad thing (a repeat of Cybermen slowly breaking through the membrane that covers their tombs is still effective and enjoyable). Occasionally the Cybermen are portrayed a little too much like zombies. However, this is easily done due to the similarities between the two and it does allow for some quite memorable and effective scenes.

It seems reasonable to assume that this book takes place, at least for the Doctor, sometime between `The Angels take Manhattan' and `The Bells of St. John', so there is no Clara. The companion role is fulfilled by Olga who, as an older, more mature `companion', seems to work quite well with the often childish attributes of the Eleventh Doctor. The Doctor himself is portrayed a little generically at times and one of the Doctor's other incarnations could easily have fitted into various scenes. This is often the more toned down and contemplative version of the Eleventh Doctor rather than `the mad a man with a box' act.
The book is quite light on other characters, many just making up the numbers, and most aren't particularly memorable. Humans augmented by cyber technology aren't that original now and this story offers no expansion of or different insight into such things. There are some good, almost Asimov-like moments of self-realisation though.

The vague love story forms a fairly indistinctive sub plot. Although it adds a bit of depth to the characters and their community it also feels a little superfluous.

The general plot itself lacks some originality but this is a solid Cybermen romp with said monsters doing what they do best. Richards delivers a tried and tested formula but does it exceptionally well. Many of the best Cybermen elements from across the show's history are present and Cybermen catch phrase type lines from both the Troughton and the modern era are included. This book is an ideal celebration of the Cybermen during the fiftieth anniversary.
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An original Doctor Who novel. Telling an all new story for the character which never appeared previously in any other format.

It features the Eleventh Doctor. Travelling on his own.

It runs for two hundred and fifty four pages. It's divided into a prologue and then eighteen chapters.

It is suitable reading for all ages. Although there are some scenes of Cyberman style horror which can be a little gruesome.

As ever with this range the lead character is perfectly written, with dialogue you can imagine having come straight off the show.

Set in nineteeth century middle Europe, it sees the village of Klimtenburg having problems. People are dying from a strange plague. And the dead are coming out of their graves.

Local tales speak of the deadly 'Plague Warriors.' An old enemy of the Doctor's is about to wake up...

These books can't do anything to alter the status quo of the show or amend what has come before. The writers have to work with set rules, so it's always a case of what they can do to make the book memorable.

For the first third, this is really good at doing that. With an interesting setting. Adding some good depth to the supporting characters. Some really good scary and creepy moments. And an atmosphere that is positively gothic.

It also helps that it's almost entirely seen from the point of view of the supporting cast rather than the Doctor, which helps to keep him mysterious.

Beyond that first third, though, as things become apparent as to what's going on, it does start to get a bit more familiar. So what comes next isn't quite as involving as the first third. But it's still very good. Managing set pieces the tv show would struggle to mount. Putting in plot surprises at just the right points. And managing still to elicit emotional responses about the supporting characters.

A slightly above average entry in the range, then. And as a result, worth a look.
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on 22 February 2015
I found plenty to like in this one, although a couple of areas grated a little too.
The best part were the locations. It took me right back to the days of pseudo-medieval Dungeons and Dragons, with a small village, tavern, ruined church with intact tower, creepy graveyard, and via a muddy track out of the village, an impregnable castle, and below the whole lot a network of tunnels! There is also the alien parts - a mad scientist laboratory and a crashed spaceship. There is plenty of running around exploring the locations too. The characters are few, well defined and hard to confuse, with links and back stories when pressed, and there is humour and romance among them as well as action.
The downside was the aliens - no surprise that they are cybermen, but they are dull and seemingly impossible to defeat so encounters with them are inevitably deadly with little pleasure. There were also a couple of instances where a fight is ruined by bad choreography, such as where a plodding cyberman has rocks thrown at him as he lumbers down a narrow corridor, as the heroes dig their way through a rockpile. The scene takes ages with lots of rocks being thrown yet in reality (!) should only have taken a couple of seconds and a couple of rocks. It smacked of bad writing and was impossible to visualise which was frustrating.
Overall, I did enjoy it for its positives but it could be improved.
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on 20 June 2016
This is a Cyberman story and it turns out to be a bloody good one, serving the creatures well. It has an atmospheric setting, in a tiny German village two or three centuries ago, where rain and thunderstorms are perpetual and the village is afflicted by a plague (actually radiation poisoning).

The book isn't fault free. A lot of the characters are very bland and two dimensional, and they all seem far too trusting and accepting. Most of them simply struggled to seem 'real'. The Watchman and his machinations added a layer of additional intrigue to the story, but its implications and aftermath seemed muted and unconvincing.

Nevertheless, the Cybermen were particularly effective in this novel, powerful and relentless, with something of their early body horror restored. The Doctor is also well written, his actions and dialogue clearly expressing Matt Smith's take on the role.

Overall, a triumph, though the secondary characters and plot do detract.
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on 17 April 2013
Justin is very good at capturing the relevant Doctor's character in all the books he has written for the series, and this is no different. Matt Smith's Doctor leaps off the page in every scene he's in, with only the rare occasion where it seems reminiscent of the Tom Baker from the Douglas Adams years.

The story is a simple affair which sees the Doctor curing an apparent plague and fighting off a group of crashed Cybermen. Some scenes of the frozen Cybermen were very much in the vein of Tomb of the Cybermen, and worked well in the context of this story. The atmosphere is created well, and the cast of characters are fine if a little dull. I liked Olga, though. I could see her as a possible tv companion with some fleshing out.

If you like reading the Doctor's adventures, then this shouldn't disappoint you.
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VINE VOICEon 27 February 2014
Justin Richards perfectly captures the eleventh Doctor in this story, Plague of the Cybermen. He also knows his classic Doctor Who, reprising the Patrick Troughton Doctor Who story, Tomb of the Cybermen. The story tells of a spaceship crashing into the outskirts of a small village, leaving a terrible radiation leak which stops things from growing. The Doctor and Olga, a school teacher from the village, investigate and the Doctor discovers that the spaceship is a colony ship carrying Cybermen as its cargo. To save the village, the Doctor enlists help...
The story is fast-pacing and worthy to be included amongst some of the other great novels released by BBC Books and Virgin Publishing.
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on 20 September 2014
action packed
what an adventure for the doctor who. In my opinion the cybermen is the one that I fear the most not the darkles or the weeping angles. What a blast. Sometimes I wonder how the doctor defeats these cybermen. When you look see them(cybermen) in front of you you're dead. They don't care who you are. Cybermen just say "Delete!" and you know that you're dead. Luckily there not even real. But I have to say the doctor who is as good as the Sherlock series. Just amazing!
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on 7 June 2016
I really liked this book because it has more steel then the film, and it accepted me in the book not to go and read another book because the beginning it makes you go straight into the book.
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on 17 April 2015
When I first picked this book up I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I was actually pleasantly surprised, I think this is a fantastic book with a great story which I did find to be quite dark for Doctor Who. I won't go into too much detail as I don't want to spoil it but it puts a very twisted spin on the whole 'humans augment themselves with technology' story that we have come to expect from the Cybermen. Overall I thought it was a fantastic book and a great read.
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