Top positive review
Lots of fun and good use of the Judoon
on 20 July 2016
This isn’t a novel that out and out focuses on the Judoon as a species. Although there is a squadron of Judoon in it, behaving to remit and performing much as they did in ‘Smith and Jones’, this is more of a story of an individual Judoon Commander, Rok Ma, who ostensibly ends up being one of the Doctor’s companions.
The story is set in a busy spaceport which is experiencing many of the sort of problems that a modern day airport does: delays, refurbishments, missing luggage, etc. It also has to contend with the city of New Memphis’ two lead crime lords, Uncle and the Widow, and the nefarious schemes either might be running through the spaceport. As these crime lords struggle for supremacy the Doctor becomes involved in one of their schemes.
This is a novel from the period where the Tenth Doctor is travelling alone in the programme. This novel gives him two ‘honorary’ companions to assist him. The young Nikki is an endearing and likeable character but she is very much modern companion material. It feels slightly as if she has been included and characterised this way as almost a safeguard in case some of the audience expect that type of character.
However, it is Rok Ma that really sells the novel. As a ‘companion’ to the Doctor, even if it is for just the one story/novel, he is quite original and radically different. The Doctor has had companions before that aren’t human (or look like humans), but they have, with the exception of K-9 and Kamelion, been outside of the programme itself. It’s a shame considering modern effects that the programme doesn’t try an alien looking companion.
Rok Ma slowly emerges as an individual rather than just a generic Judoon stereotype. In some ways his treatment is similar to that of Captain Tybo from the Sarah Jane Adventures story ‘Prisoner of the Judoon’.
He also works really well with the Doctor. There are the initial teething problems between them but they work through their differences for the common good and learn something from each other. Admittedly it does follow the clichéd pattern of a lot of cop team up movies, but it does it well with a good sense of fun. The Judoon Commander’s relationship with Nikki is also thoroughly enjoyable and has a pleasant outcome.
The twists in the plot are reasonably predictable but it is these relationships that give the novel sparkle. It’s a fun read and a good development of an onscreen alien.