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Customer Review

VINE VOICEon 20 March 2004
Arguably the best thing that happened to Doctor Who after the original television series ended in the Eighties was Virgin's range of New Adventures, a set of novels that presented Doctor Who stories that were too large to ever appear on the telly. And in this excellent range, a number of excellent authors came to light. And arguably the best of these was the only female author, Kate Orman. Orman wrote Doctor Who that not only featured cool science fantasy ideas that transcended one time and place but she also took the opportunity to deconstruct the characters she was working with, especially the Doctor. And her prose was the kind that wouldn't let you put the book down.
When the licence for Who novels was reclaimed by the BBC, Kate and her husband Jon Blum became co-writers and produced a cracking trio of novels. This novella is their latest, but let's hope not their last, offering.
It's a pseudo-historical story of the kind Who revels in, marrying science-fantasy concepts of time sensitives and extra-dimensional entities with classical Greek mythology and elements of Greek history and traditional horror. The whole is a pleasingly edible feast of plot and character, with the beautiful, fragile relationship between the Doctor and Alcestis as teacher and pupil at its heart.
And as an easter egg for the long-time Who reader, here is the best resolution we'll probably get to something that happened to the Doctor in the BBC novel The Ancestor Cell.
If you've never read a novel by Orman and Blum, start here and then seek out their other stuff. It's a cut above almost all TV sci fi spinoffery.
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