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VINE VOICEon 3 February 2006
This is my first dip into the Ninth Doctor books and it feels very much more like a TV tie in than the books we had while the series wasnt on TV. The books seem to have gone for a vaguely novella style as while the page count is the norm the font is quite large. Justin Richards has gone for a fairly action orientated book which means as soon as the location and characters are introduced its straight into the action.
An alien SOS signal draws the TARDIS to an isolated village and naval base in Russia. Mysterious deaths have occurred which have drawn the attention of the military who join up with The Doctor and co. The tension is soon raised as the obligatory monsters arrive resulting in more deaths as the bodycount rises. The problems of the book arrive as we get into the second half as it tends to get samey as characters are chased by 'blobs' for the most part. But if you plough through the second half in a single sitting this isnt much of a problem.
This is my first taste of this Doctor in print and this medium suits him well. The lonely survivor of the time war who doesn't let people get close to him fits in well amoungst the isolated community and scientists. Rose is shown to be quite brave and a good amount of action and characterisation however Capatain Jack stands out the most. He's given a good bit of depth considering his character is 90% actors charisma. He manages to hold the majority of the action when The Doctor gets on with investigating.
To sum up its a fairly light book that you'll whizz through in a few sittings. Nice characterisation and a good bit of action, although it does get samey. I'd have preferred a bit more oomph and bite which would have raised the book above 'standard'. Although as it reads it is a good solid little read.
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on 20 September 2005
The Deviant Strain, while not in my opinon the best of the current series of books, nevertheless provides a top read for fans of the new series, with perhaps the best balancing of the trio usage. Top form here is the newbie Jack, who demonstates brilliantly the changes that are turning him from the ruggish rogue of 'The Empty Child' to the heroic soldier of 'Parting of the Ways'.
The secondary characters are also made by Richards to be entertaining and also somewhat creepy, excellently capturing the mood he is trying to establish - this is a darker tale, yet feels completely different to any of the episodes that have gone before, mainly due to the perfect choice to have an adventure set outside London in the present day.
While this isn't quite as good as his first book for the Ninth Doctor, Justin Richards still manages to create a spooky atmosphere fitting of such a tale, complete with some shocking twists. If 'The Unquiet Dead' was your favourite episode in the new series, you'll be right at home with this.
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VINE VOICEon 27 September 2005
The fourth 9th Doctor novel finds the Doctor, Rose and Jack battling alien 'blobs' in an abandoned Russian submarine base. The setting is reasonably interesting, with the Russian military taking the more familiar UNIT role, and Richards keeps the plot moving quickly, but this is a rather generic Doctor Who story, replicating many of the standard scenarios from the old series (and with a story concerned with a crashed alien spaceship, alien matter taking over various humans, and an isolated snowy setting there's more than a whiff of John Carpenter's The Thing about it). The Deviant Strain is competently written, but a very formulaic 'traditional' Who adventure. Younger readers, and those new to Doctor Who will love it, but long-term fans will find this a little too familiar...
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on 22 July 2008
The Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack land in the near future Russia were a remote village seems to be in danger. Over the years people have gone missing never to be found and now the number of incidents has increased. With a set of standing stones as the only mysterious thing The Doctor must uncover the truth behind the disappearance before things get worse. That's easier said than done when you come under attack from blue glowy slug things!

'The Deviant Strain' is an uncomplicated, but fun, thriller in the Dr Who cannon. There is no particular character development, but what you do get is a fun B Movie type adventure that feels a little like 'The Thing'. The aliens on offer are interesting and the various side characters have you wanting them to survive. For fans of the recent shows this is the knockabout adventure they are used to. Older fans may find it too simple and generic to be anything more than slightly entertaining. Overall, a quick read that is fun enough whilst it lasts.
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on 12 September 2005
In an out-of-the-way village / facility / community in a forgotten part of Russia, a small group of people struggle to survive against the hostile elements and something hidden, something even more hostile. An abandoned dock holds decommissioned nuclear submarines and something other, something old and alive. Soon after the arrival of the Doctor and his friends, nightmarish creatures begin to roam the area, leeching away the life force of the humans unlucky enough to get in their way.
This is Justin Richards' second novel to feature the Ninth Doctor and Rose, now joined by Captain Jack. As before, he has cleverly captured the characters and mode of speech of the actors without simply repeating televised dialogue.
I must admit that I am not a big fan of the Doctor Who original fiction, although I am a life-long fan of the TV series. Not for the first time with these novels, I found that the original suspense of wondering what is behind the events is not translated into excitement once the threat is revealed and being dealt with. Nevertheless, Richards is adept at keeping the tension level high, putting characters into danger from which not all of them will escape, but I felt that there was too much running around.
In short, a good evening's read, but not something that will stay with the reader forever.
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Another prose adventure for the ninth doctor who, along with rose tyler and captain jack. Like all of these, this runs to a little over two hundred and fifty pages, and has fairly large print, and all ages can read and enjoy it.

In this story a distress call brings the tardis to the frozen north of russia, in a small settlement by an old military base. something is killing the locals, causing them to age to death. can the doctor find what lurks beneath the sea?

a fascinating setting but the story never quite comes to life. the supporting characters all have their moments, but none really stand out that much, and the tardis crew all feel very muted. Despite a scary and suprising twist one hundred pages in, this turns into a very conventional tale of hidden alien objects and mad scientists and is all resolved in a rather hasty manner.

The afterword reveals the title came from a typeset used for the doctor who logo. This is not a bad book, but it feels overfamiliar and I think there's a better story to be made from that title
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 24 November 2013
This story features the Doctor, as played by Christopher Eccleston, with Captain Jack Harkness and Rose Tyler. Responding to a distress signal, the Tardis and its team find themselves in the Novrosk Peninsula in deep, dark Russia. There they meet up with a team of special soldiers under Colonel Levin, also under his own orders from the military hierarchy to investigate an energy spike before the Americans try to find out what's happening. But something may be waiting for them when they get there; is it the Vourdulak?

This is a great story; a great sci-fi/alien/monsters in the woods story, as well as a great Doctor Who story. The post-Cold War Russia environment is written very empathetically, yet I would imagine fairly accurately. Definitely recommended; the characterisations are all spot-on, there is plenty of action as well as great use of the three main characters and the episode's characters.
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on 25 July 2009
as i said befor i love the darker storys from doctor who old and new and this is a perfect book for that style its also very blood thirsty with most of the cast being killed off halfway trough the story wich gives it a cold feeling to it

a lot of the biggist complaints is picturing the 3 main charecters jack more than the doctor and rose the captain i feel is wrritten as a more serious tone because of the enviroment they are in the russians looked at jack as a captain so it stands to reason he sould act like one also what happend to that girl drove him to seriouslness too

the reason i gave it 3 stars is beacuase of the revelations of whats going on a spaceship what the hell it kinda took the sting away i mean that all these deaths and why becuase a ship needs power come on i prefer the original theroy if they stuck with that then the story would have been 4 stars but the actual wrap up kinda spoils it

but it dosent mean the book is awfull far from it its a great book i would love to see this as a tv story a 90 minute spechal same with many others i loved the final chapters as the imagery just jumps out at you

now on to the worst thing from the story the remotes when i first read the discription i thought awsome rutans as they look like jellyfish and they kill in a simeller way but when you find out what they are you feel let down just a tiny bit

theres other things to love too jack mouthing off at one of the soldgers is so jack giving a speech about life and death is one of the best screens from the book the whole screen in a submarine is awsome too

so yea dispite the awfull revelation the story is awsome so i would recomend it
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on 15 April 2013
The Novrosk Peninsula: the Soviet naval base has been abandoned, the nuclear submarines are rusting and rotting. Cold, isolated, forgotten. Until the Russian Special Forces arrive and discover that the Doctor and his companions are here too.

But there is something else in Novrosk. Something that predates even the stone circle on the cliff top. Something that is at last waking, hunting, killing. Can the Doctor and his friends stay alive long enough to learn the truth?

With time running out, they must discover who is really responsible for the Deviant Strain...

Featuring the Ninth Doctor as played by Christopher Eccleston, together with Rose and Captain Jack as played by Billie Piper and John Barrowman in the hit Doctor Who series from BBC Television.
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on 14 March 2009
A nice exciting adventure, with the plus point of being based in a new, exotic location of snow, ice and submarines - makes a change from London and Cardiff! The adventure is exciting enough with some hardcore monsters, some scary moments, plot surprises and some scenes that would definitely be edited heavily in a screen adaptation - notably where the zombies are being shot. The downside is the characters, names and choreography of action scenes get confusing because of lack of description, and I felt the death toll was quite high for a Doctor Who adventure. Rose and Jack come out really well though.
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