The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe land in China, 1800. A supposedly
harmless relic called the spirit gate whisks Jamie and Zoe
through time and space. The Doctor follows them to England,
1900, where a bizarre murder soon takes place. The Time Lord
joins forces with Thomas Carnacki, an expert in all things
so the Doctor Who universe continues to expand to encompass
other mythologies. The same universe is already occupied by
Professor Quatermass (if the reference to "Bernard" in Remembrance
of the Daleks is to be believed), Sherlock Holmes and
Dr Watson (who appeared in the New Adventures, All-consuming
Fire and Happy Endings) and James Bond (who is
alluded to in the novel Bullet Time). Now Andrew Cartmel
has brought in the supernatural investigator Carnacki, a creation
of the early 20th century writer of weird fiction, William
If you're not familiar with Hodgson or Carnacki (I certainly
wasn't), then fear not, because a foreword by Mike Ashley
explains their backgrounds to the uninitiated. This volume
also includes an example of a Carnacki short story, the unnerving
"The Whistling Room". On the strength of this, I may well
seek out other examples of Hodgson's writing.
Doctor and Carnacki strike up a good working relationship.
The Time Lord holds great respect for the investigator, while,
unlike Sherlock Holmes, Carnacki is not too proud to welcome
the Doctor's assistance.
subtly sneaky second Doctor is well realised by the author,
although he does possess a couple of hi-tech gadgets that
seem better suited to later incarnations. One of these is
a huge screen that covers one entire wall of the TARDIS control
room, which the Doctor activates when his usual tiny monitor
ceases to function. However, perhaps the presence of this
wall screen explains why one of the control room's walls often
appeared to be completely flat during the 1960s television
episodes (in the real world, the reason was that it was actually
a photographic blow-up)!
Zoe also seems ever so slightly out of character, coming across
as rather more cynical than usual. Jamie is largely absent,
being written out presumably because the Doctor/Zoe/Carnacki
team is quite large enough for this book without him.
has crafted a creepy, mysterious and elaborate plot, with
shades of his telekinetic tale for Big Finish, Winter for
the Adept, thrown in. Full of memorable characters and
incidents, this is easily the most enjoyable novella in the
Telos range since Kim Newman's Time and Relative.