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on 27 April 2017
Prompt delivery quality goods
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on 8 August 2015
Item received promptly and safely. Thank you.
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on 3 July 2013
This story is very cleverly written and really portrays the Doctor and Clara's relationship brilliantly.

I would recommend this book to any Who fan new or old!
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on 18 April 2013
Oh dear. I really am so disappointed with this book. It started off with so much promise. Faces of the dead appearing out of the fog, rain drops on windows and coffee stains on desks. Sounds suitably spooky, and it is.

Then it all goes terribly wrong.

A trip through a "wormhole" to another planet and disaster. Up to this point I was just able cope with Donbavand's take on the eleventh Doctor. Some aspects were spot on. But it just got too much. This wasn't Matt Smith's Doctor, but a clown with no sign of a serious, intelligent side.

Then to top it all we're introduce to some new characters. Meet Wobblebottom and Flip Flop! Just two of a group of clowns now saving the survivors of their planet from the effects of the Shroud. Absolute drivel!

With Wobblebottom, Flip Flop and a hundred other clowns, the Doctor and Clara return to Earth through the "wormhole" riding in a very small clown car. Apparently clown cars are based on Timelord technology and are the only other dimensionally transcendental objects in the universe. Kill me now!

Whoever allowed this travesty of a Doctor Who story to be published, well, they should be sacked immediately.

What promised to be the most original and spooky story of the three new releases turned out to be the worst. A book to be ashamed of. Avoid at all costs.
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on 7 May 2013
This started out so promisingly. It is the day after the JFK killing and people are seeing the faces and hearing the voices of dead friends and family.....and then the faces scream!!!!!

This is the first book in the Doctor Who range to feature new assistant Clara and for the most part the author gets the characters spot on.

But then.........it's almost as if the author gave up being bothered half way through the story. The second half is extremely disappointing.

A poor end to what could have been a very good story.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 10 July 2013
23 November 1963, and PC Reg Cranfield is on duty at Totter's Lane when he sees a face that he should not be able to see. Then, on the same day, the Doctor and Clara arrive in Dallas, Texas to find that President J F Kennedy has been slain. Mae Callon, working on the Morning News issue also sees a familiar face from the past. What could these things have in common, and why does the Doctor see a threat nobody else can recognise?

This had the promise of a great story; with a spooky premise, and mysterious happenings set in a world that is relatable, Earth in 1963. But it all went rapidly downhill from there unfortunately.
There's an awful lot of this:
"Flash!"
And this:
"Bang!"
And characters called Flip Flop and Wobblebottom (!).
And the Doctor seems to be on some sort of permanent manic high which becomes rather wearing very quickly.

All in all, a vast disappointment of a Doctor Who novel.
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on 22 July 2013
Across humanity's (documented) history there are a handful of periods of trauma that seeming consume the planet's hope, engaging desperation and pushing it to the edge of perilous impetuousness. The murder, or, as some historians speculate, summary execution of American President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy on the 22 November 1963 could be seen as one of those moments. A keystone in a country's and world's history from which all is measured, like hammering an infinitely high wood stake into the earth on that date and then attaching an endless piece of string to it for every life, every action and every consequence to be stretched through and attached to.

Utilising this cataclysmic event as the narrative cornerstone, Tommy Donbavand's debut DOCTOR WHO novel, SHROUD OF SORROW examines how fear, anguish and loss of love & friendship can be depressingly harmful for some but for others it can be nourishment upon which they can thrive like a bacterium or microscopic parasite.

"The Shroud will feast."

Released in two formats, printed novel and audiobook (from BBC BOOKS and AUDIOGO respectively), DOCTOR WHO - SHROUD OF SORROW is a haunting, taut and, at times, chilling adventure for the impish Eleventh Doctor and his TARDIS ("...a weary pensioner...") travelling companion, Clara Oswald as they encounter a new lifeform entity, Shroud, that not even the Time Lord is certain he can stop from their consumption of humanity. How can you kill a non-physical conceit that stretches itself across the universe like a intergaltic tapeworm, digesting sadness and grief?

However, whilst not `designed' as a physical creature, the Shroud is similar to SERIES 1's Reapers (FATHER'S DAY), both feeding on human inconsistency; the former on what you could define as `death shadow' and the latter on `time shadow'. Interestingly, the Shroud is very much an adult-biased TORCHWOOD concept (or even one that could be related to THE X-FILES drama series) but as the novel takes a sideward jaunt through a DOCTOR WHO - PLANET OF THE DEAD-styled 'wormhole' (to planet Semtis) and introduces - somewhat self-indulgently, it would seem if you visit the author's website - two clown's (Flip-Flop and Wobblebottom) the whole novel is watered-down to a pre-teen THE SARAH-JANE ADVENTURES concept. And that's a shame.

It's a novel of two halves, a haunting Earth-based mystery and a comic Semtis-based romp, and it is former that the author should have been encouraged to develop and emphasis with, retaining that latch of `real life' that Russell T Davies employed and accommodated in the NEW SERIES. Disembodied visitations from the dead in the form of `morphing' coffee cup stains or coagulating fog, haunting their relatives and feeding of the resultant latent psychic energy, and even the Doctor is not immune to the Shroud. But, from all of his personal losses over the last 50-years of documented travels, who does the Doctor feel most regret for? Adric? Katarina? The Brigadier?

Read by Frances Barber, AUDIOGO's six-disc audiobook is highly entertaining and effective, especially tempering the overtly comic tone - yes, I could say `clownish' - of the novel's second half with a sense of dramatic urgency that chills you to the bone and this is accentuated by a turbulent, foreboding minimalistic incidental music that is, unfortunately, too underplayed.

Overall, if it had been little more refrained in its humorous content and had been securely planted in Earth reality then DOCTOR WHO - SHROUD OF SORROW would have been truly terrifying novel, only punctuated by the lightness of the Eleventh Doctor's mercurial comic-timing along with his dimensionally copiously challenged jacket pockets and his see-right-through-him impersonation of a moustached former colleague, ....well, that's a spoiler.
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on 15 January 2014
Wow.

I want to post the blurb here, first of all.

"23 November, 1963

It is the day after John F. Kennedy's assassination - and the faces of the dead are everywhere. PC Reg Cranfield sees his late father in the mists along Totter's Lane. Reporter Mae Callon sees her grandmother in a coffee stain on her desk. FBI Special Agent Warren Skeet finds his long-dead partner staring back at him from raindrops on a window pane.
Then the faces begin to talk, and scream... and push through into our world.

As the alien Shroud begins to feast on the grief of a world in mourning, can the Doctor dig deep enough into his own sorrow to save mankind?"

You'd think that this is a relatively serious book, wouldn't you? One with quite a mature tone - after all, it does have a rather mature theme (death and the stages of grief), so you'd expect it to be a generally mature book, right?

And... well, I suppose it is in places. But in other places, it's the exact opposite. The tone is as malleable and inconsistent... clay in water? Does that analogy work? Probably not. But the point stands - the tone of this novel is ridiculous. You've some very serious moments on one end of the scale, such as the introductory scene for FBI Agent Warren Skeet (this scene fleshes out his backstory, and depicts the death of his former partner) but on the other side of things you have Wobblebottom.

Yeah, you read that right. Wobblebottom.
You see, around halfway through the novel the Doctor, Clara, Warren Skeet and Mae (another new character) travel to the previous world which the Shroud had attacked, and they find the remains of the civilization. In what should have been a very complex and intelligent segment of the novel, the Doctor & co find a group of crazed tribes, each defined by a separate feeling - different emotions took over after their grief was removed, and so they become Tremblers (fear) or Ragers (rage) or Wanters (averis). That's a pretty bold and interesting concept, I think, which should have been explored much more fully, and with a great deal more intelligence - instead we're soon introduced to Wobblebottom and Flip flop, leaders of the Circus resistance.
It's... it's a nice idea, that a Circus is trying to give people back their emotions through happiness... but it doesn't work, not in this scenario. It just undercuts everything that had been built up already. Not that much had, admittedly - the tone was always going to be an issue, what with the way the Doctor has been characterised in this novel. It's as though all the whimsy, all the jesting, all the not-at-all-serious-and-sometimes-borderline-irritating aspects of the Eleventh Doctor have been distilled and put into this (it really is a pastiche, the sort of thing you find in juvenile fan fiction. The Doctor even calls the TARDIS "sexy". Twice. Like... what?). It's a terribly misjudged piece of writing, one that doesn't deserve to be likened to Matt Smith's brilliant portrayal.

The other issue is a gratuitous overuse of continuity. And I mean that quite seriously - continuity is great, but this is too much. Way, way too much. A couple of examples -
> The policeman at Totter's Lane. (He's totally superfluous to the plot, sadly)
> 23 pages in, and we have a reference to Astrid. Seriously?
> The Fast Return switch is introduced in the most poorly written way ("What's that?" "Oh, it's the Fast Return switch") simply so it can be used as a plot device in a few pages time. (And it barely makes sense there either)

Given that the final confrontation is, essentially, a huge continuity fest (flashbacks from painful moments in the Doctor's lives) I would've expected all those little things to have been cut right down. They do get very, very distracting, and can bring you right out of it. Especially when it's wrong, for goodness' sake! (Admittedly, the larger moments - flashbacks and a joke sequence - do work very well, but they feel cheapened by all the other, prior references)

So... eh. This book was not a good one, to be honest. I'm not sure I'd reccomend it for anything beyond completion's sake, unless you enjoy that more whimsical tone of story. Certainly one to avoid if you're expecting a serious novel, in the vein of prior stories (I was actually expecting this to be sort of similar to Vampire Science, but... it couldn't be further removed from it)

2/10
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 11 March 2015
An original Doctor Who novel. Telling an all new adventure for the Eleventh Doctor and Clara that hasn't appeared before in any other medium.

It runs for two hundred and fifty three pages. There are sixteen chapters. Plus some shorter interlude ones.

The book is suitable for readers of all ages. As usual with this range the lead characters are pefectly written with dialogue that you can imagine them saying on tv. Which isn't bad given that this one came out before we'd seen much of Clara.

The story sees people across the world, in 1963, see visions of dead loved ones. Who prey on any guilts they might have about them. In a very extreme manner.

The shroud are breaking through into this world. Can the Doctor stop them? After all, he carries a lot of grief himself...

This follows a familiar narrative structure for this range, as it introduces the threat via what happens to supporting characters. Some of whom then get involved with the Doctor in trying to save the day.

The historical setting is well done. The alien threat of the story is a unique and intersting idea. And the writing does have aome good things to say about grief.

It all zips along nicely enough, at a good pace with some readable prose. There is one very good bit of humour as the result of something the Doctor tries.

But be aware that there is a tonal shift in the final quarter, in how some deal with the threat. Which actually does make sense if you let it sink in, but it contains humour of a kind that makes it a shift that may not work at all for many.

So this might be a love or hate it book. If it does work for you, though, then it's a four star read. Another capable time passer of a book in a range that is good at producing those.
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I reviewed this book as part of the Tommy V Cancer blog tour. When I signed up to take part, there were quite a few books that caught my eye, but I settled on this one for my review (and bought a couple more for later!) I’ve not read a Doctor Who book before, though I do have Time Lord Fairy Tales sat on my TBR.

On his website, Tommy says he’s a huge fan of Doctor Who, and this is really apparent in his writing. While you might think it’s easy to write about an established character – in this case the Doctor as played by Matt Smith – as the reader already knows what they look and sound like, I think it’s a lot harder. There’s an expectation to live up to and unlike a character that has only been written about, everyone has a similar if not identical idea of a TV character.

Donbavand captures the essence of the Eleventh Doctor perfectly. I could picture Matt Smith saying the lines and it all sounded like just the kind of weird and wonderful things he’d say. He got Clara spot on as well, and I could tell because I disliked her in the book as much as I do in the TV show – something about her just irritates me!

The story itself is a really interesting one, as the Earth is invaded by the Shroud, an alien that feeds on grief. It took a lot of twists and turns. Each time I thought they’d solved it and I knew where it was going, something new would crop up and leave me wondering again. It did get a little ridiculous towards the end, but it was all good fun and I loved the way everything came together.

This is definitely one for the hardcore Doctor Who fans. There’s a wonderful moment with flashbacks of the Doctors past, and as someone who’s only watched the modern episodes (Ninth Doctor onwards) I didn’t know who all of them were, but there was an Amy Pond moment that gave me all the feels. I’m told it’s full of references and I know I probably only understand half of them, but those I got I really enjoyed.

As my first time reading a Doctor Who book, I think I picked a great one, and I’d definitely be interested in picking some more up now. I’d love to see another from Tommy Donbavand too, as his passion for the character really shines through in the writing.
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