This is a sweeping story that really does set the Who Universe canon on its head. It really does provoke the mind in to seeing the benevolent Time Lords of Old as something driven to near madness by the necessities and rigours of a Total Time War. In this you see how truly a maverick the Doctor is trying to `think` his way out of situations, rather than just pulling out the D-MAT Gun and vanishing away the problems as he sees them (please don`t bug me about the D-MAT Gun being restricted data in the Matrix only accessed by K9, and Rodan under hypnosis, in the Invasion of Time; I know that as well as everyone).
Saying that story is not the easiest to read and at first I thought the writers were trying to compress Milton`s Paradise Lost in to prose form rather than tell a tale of the Fendahl of Sol Five in Mutters Spiral. So a word of advise stick with it, as it is hard going and you have to skip over the continual attempts by the authors to impress you with their cleverness. Yes, it is a very cerebral book where the writers have clearly work shopped the whole concept of Galifrey and it`s peoples, and by extension what happens to a society when it is faced with the twin evils of near unlimited power and an almost as ruthless enemy to fight against. So smaller concerns like others that might inhabit the Universe alongside Galifrey take second, third, fourth and fifth place in a list of priorities, if they are considered at all.
All Who Fans know about the Fendahl - the Gestalt horror, an all consuming destroyer of Worlds, that popped up on Earth and was defeated by the Fourth Doctor. But consider if it was used as a weapon and what sort of war would required that kind of ordinance. This book asks that question and describes the lengths to which it could be achieved, and in the attempt to tell that story is so `other worldly` it is sometimes a strain on the imagination to envisage.
So Marks Out of Ten for cleverness, is a full 10. For writing a barely scraped 7, as the book is a switch back ride back and fore between concurrent story lines in support of the central narrative, but it all turns out alright in the end. For imagination, an easy 10, as it is certainly excellent in terms of sheer inventiveness and use of current Cosmological concepts of reality.
Not a bad story at all but not the best read because of the over complication of the plot drivers and characters.