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Customer Review

on 17 October 2002
I was expecting to hate this book, but to my surprise it's rather good. It's written in the style of a historical text, and replete with background material and non-linear narrative, but shockingly easy to read for all that. Admittedly, it does strain credibility that such a detailed account of the lives of a bunch of eighteenth-century prostitutes would be possible, or that quite so many of them would be literate, but it's not all that glaring.
The story finds the Doctor and the prostitutes trying to save the world from some mysterious carnivourous apes. But the real story here is to introduce Sabbath, who is being set up to be a recurring foe for future stories. He gets a good introduction, and is established - just about - as a being close to the Doctor's level without him actually having to do much. Still, he's a good character and it's a disappointment as he fades out towards the end.
The Master is also in this book, and seems to hint that he'll be back too. Lawrence Miles writes a great Master, but overall I'm not convinced that it's possible to salvage the character after twenty of years of appearing in generally pretty awful stories. We'll see.
If this book has a flaw, it's the climax, or lack thereof. After 280-odd pages of tiny letters, you might expect more than the Doctor waving his - well, I won't give the ending away. The end is better than it was in Interference (Mile's previous book), but there's no getting away from it being an anticlimax.
But, if you're willing to view this as Chapter 1 of the next stage of the Doctor's adventures, it really is quite excellent.
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