An old well in a Derbyshire village seems like just a curiosity,
something to attract tourists intrigued by stories of lost
treasure, or visitors merely wanting to make a wish. But could
something alien and terrifying be lurking inside the well,
something utterly monstrous that causes nothing but death
and destruction? Who knows the real truth about the well?
Who wishes to unleash the hideous force it contains? What
terrible consequences will follow the search for the legendary
treasure hidden at the bottom? No one wants to believe the
Doctors warnings about the deadly horror lying in wait,
but soon theyll wish they had...
Jones fans rejoice! She may have left the Doctors side
sooner than expected at the end
of Series 3 (though she will be back for a few
episodes in Series 4 and in Torchwood), but shes
certainly making her presence felt in the book series. Thats
because from this year BBC Books is issuing an extra batch
of three hardback Doctor Who novels, bringing the annual
total up from six to nine.
Well is the first of the batch, and, like its predecessor
this present-day Earthbound tale taps into some primal fears.
Trevor Baxendale, the man who brought us the unnerving Eater
Fear of the Dark
skilfully weaves with archetypes such as a doomsaying tramp,
an ancient skeleton, a very unfortunate cat, a surly lord
of the manor and a couple of villagers from the Miss Hawthorne
school of eccentric but helpful old ladies. The Doctors
descent into the dark depths of the well, complete with assorted
creepy-crawlies and alien vines, truly made my skin crawl.
author further keeps us on tenterhooks by leaving certain
characters in the midst of a dramatic situation and then not
revisiting them until several chapters later. For instance,
we have to wait for more than 30 pages to learn the fate of
a possessed treasure-hunter, while the Doctor is left quite
literally hanging for a good 20 pages - though ultimately
the cliffhanging chapter ending in question is a bit cheeky
(it had me expecting an old enemy).
plot flounders a little towards the end of the book, so the
final few chapters are unfortunately not as riveting as the
earlier material. The characterisation of the Tenth Doctor
also fluctuates during the closing chapters, between atypically
impotent pacifism and callous disregard for the welfare of
Im nit-picking, Lee Bindings cover illustration
doesnt match the authors description of the well.
In the text, the construction lacks a roof and, for the most
part, a rope.
Im being harsh - well harsh. Overall, this is a well-written
book, and I wish Baxendale well with his next one!