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Audio Book Review
“The lie betrays life. The truth defies death.” The Veritas are an ancient force for justice. For centuries they have pursued criminals across the universe, showing them no mercy. Now they have come to Earth, and found the worst law-breaker of all - Sarah Jane Smith. Why are creatures made of living flame rampaging through a shopping mall? Who is the mysterious magician Clyde and Sky must overcome? And why does the entire crisis seem to revolve around Rani’s mother Gita? Sarah Jane’s past has finally caught up with her, and she finds herself on trial for her life. It’s judgement day...
Narrating this exclusive audio book, Anjli Mohindra shows more vocal dexterity than Daniel Anthony does when reading Children of Steel. She is entirely convincing as Gita Chandra, and does a fairly good Clyde Langer too.
Gita plays a significant role in this story, which follows up on the events of the two Androvax television serials, Prisoner of the Judoon and The Vault of Secrets, paying particular attention to the wiping of Gita’s memory in the latter storyline. Author Scott Gray also explores what it is to be Sarah Jane Smith, her outlook and responsibilities, throwing in flashbacks to her student days and her time with UNIT.
It is unusual for these audio spin-offs to pick up plot strands from the television series, but it is most welcome, especially since the show and its star are sadly no longer with us. Maybe future releases (if there are to be any) could tie up a couple of loose ends from Series 5 that demand closure: the identity of the mysterious Shopkeeper (who, at the end of the serial Sky, told Sarah Jane that she would find out all about him very soon) and the fate of the homeless Ellie from The Curse of Clyde Langer. Indeed, perhaps the three unmade scripts from Series 5 could be adapted into talking books. How about it, BBC?
Gray also gives a prominent role to series newcomer Sky Smith, in terms of both her ingenuous personality and her electrical abilities. Both of this year’s audio authors make use of Sky’s special powers.
In view of its in-depth examination of the character and motivation of Sarah Jane Smith, and the workings of the series itself, I have little hesitation in finding Judgement Day guilty... of being the best Sarah Jane talking book I have yet heard.