Melvin Village, New Hampshire is in the throes of a harsh
winter. Army Captain Morgan Shaw and his squad discover that
members of a religious cult have mysteriously disappeared.
His brother, local cop Makenzie Shaw, is more concerned about
his town as the snow gets deeper. Have people died as a result
of the bitter cold, or is there a more sinister threat...?
fact (possibly): the Fourth Doctor and Leela were late entrants
into the world of original Who novels. They failed
to appear together in any of Virgin's Missing Adventures.
But since the launch of the BBC's range, they have more than
made up for lost time, appearing together with greater frequency
than any other Fourth Doctor/companion team - in five novels
said, I should also point out that the first half of the novel
doesn't feel much like a Who book at all. The Doctor
and Leela spend most of their time trudging through the snow,
while the majority of the action is divided between three
parties: Morgan Shaw's group of paranormal operatives, a variant
of UNIT called White Shadow; Makenzie Shaw and his adopted
family; and finally Curt Redecker, the drunkard ex-husband
of Makenzie's girlfriend.
begin with, the story is more The X-Files meets Fargo
- full of ironic connections and tragic outcomes. Redecker
is very much a man on the edge, struggling through the snow
to reach his daughter in time to give her a birthday present.
His desperation mounts until it becomes a life-threatening
situation, culminating in a gripping Tarantino-style Mexican
stand-off. Forward's off-beat writing style offers some bizarre
metaphors and similes, such as when he likens a covering of
snow to "a glove of white" or a car skidding on an icy road
to "a cow on ice-skates". The presence of two sardonic CIA
agents, Melody Quartararo and Parker Theroux, further emphasises
the X-Files angle; Melody and Parker show great potential
for a return appearance.
the middle of the book, a turning point is reached. There
is a perceptible shift in emphasis towards sci-fi, and the
narrative style becomes much more Who-ish. The Doctor
finally makes an impact on proceedings, while Leela finds
a kindred spirit in the form of Kristal, an empathic Native
American member of White Shadow.
nature of the threat to mankind is unfortunately (but coincidentally)
similar to the foe that appeared in Telos' recent Who
novella, Time and Relative. I also found that one of
the plot's loose ends was not resolved entirely to my satisfaction.
these minor problems, however, this book is a stylish and
intriguing combination of elements. It takes a little while
to get into, but you'll eventually get Forward's Drift.
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