#DoctorWho #TenLittleAliens Mini Spoiler-Free Book Review
Stephen Coles is an ex contributor to a magazine about Agatha Christie stories, and his writing show's this. It often feels like a cross between the pseudo-scientific romps of the Doctor and the ever twisting and turning tales of a good old fashioned murder mystery.
My experience with the original Doctor in the TV series is limited, but Coles does an excellent job of representing this Doctor as I would expect; old and slightly frail, a little pompous and intelligent in a calculating consulting detective kind of way. The companions in this story, Ben and Polly, are also represented well, Ben feeling like a kind of old time London cockney version of the 10th Doctor's Mickey, and Polly a colourful, miniskirt wearing 60s kind of hipster.
In the story, the Tardis takes the trio in to the middle of what is supposed to be a training exercise for a post Earth militia, currently in an ongoing war with a force known as the Schirr who are in turn collaborating with the evil and mysterious masters known as the Morpheians. Of course, the Doctor knows better than to attribute the strange goings on that occur down to magic, and contemplates these mysteries from the off.
The military crew all feel believable, all with their own place in the story and enough of a history to make them feel real. The descriptions of settings are suitably creepy in a world overtaken by a glowing weed, much like I imagine the weed from War Of The Worlds to be.
There are scenes of grotesque violence in the book, and for a Doctor Who novel I felt these were particular adult themes, some points making me feel quite sick. The crew begin to fall ill and the description of the symptoms can be quite graphic. The story takes a number of twists and turns, and about 4 chapters from the end, using a headband style device, the crew with the added extras of Ben, Polly and the Doctor are able to share in real-time their own vision and perspective on events. At this point the book requires you to do some legwork, shifting around the chapter dependent on who's perspective you need or want to see next. This is a really interesting way of vamping up the pressure, and I found myself utterly gripped.
The book ends in a typically neat Doctor Who fashion, but not without some well included plot twists first! In all I was greatly impressed by this book. It was scary, similar to perhaps the Star Wars novel Red Harvest, believable and interesting, making the entire story gripping, tense and engaging.
A definite must for Sci-Fi and Doctor Who fans.