The multiverse is breaking up. The Doctor takes dangerous
steps to find his way back to the "real" universe, and he
almost destroys the TARDIS in the process. When he is rescued
from the dawn of creation, the Doctor agrees to return the
favour by investigating the mysterious Timeless organisation
and a man who has been literally getting away with murder...
Timeless is a curious beast. It answers a lot of questions
(at last) about the identity and aims of Sabbath's employers,
and thus provides some closure, but it still leaves a lot
of issues unresolved. It brings the character of Trix (a stowaway
who has been loitering around inside the TARDIS, assuming
various different names, for several books now) into the fore
as a proper companion, though the author skips over the process
by which she was formally introduced to the rest of the crew.
with Justin Richards' Time Zero, which kicked off this
whole parallel timelines arc, there has apparently been a
considerable passage of time for the TARDIS crew. As a regular
reader of the series I find this constructed "gap" at once
frustrating and intriguing - I do find that it reminds me
of the real-life gaps that used to occur between seasons of
the television series.
obligingly, Stephen Cole commences his book with a witty and
inventive "story so far" sequence, which is extremely useful
considering how long we have been expected to follow the current
story arc. He acknowledges our long-suffering search for answers
by having Trix perform an impersonation of Sabbath for the
purposes of a video diary: "Working as I am for unspecified
higher powers, the nature of my misguided plans remains frustratingly
obscure, ha ha!" Wonderful stuff! The plot is a complex one,
not always told in a linear direction, so the author also
includes a handy council of war at the halfway point, during
which the TARDIS team discuss what they have learned so far.
telling of his story is also aided by some very well drawn
characters. These include Trix herself, a master (or should
that be mistress?) of disguise, who has an agenda of her own.
Her methods happen to coincide with the types of tasks the
Doctor has in mind for her, although she does provoke feelings
of jealousy in fellow traveller Anji. Among the cast of characters
that Cole has created is a fascinating little alien girl called
Chloe, whose surprising origins I had better not mention.
He also well and truly gets into the mind of a thoroughly
twisted individual called Daniel Basalt.
I do have one major reservation, though, and that regards
the depiction of the Doctor. He seems uncharacteristically
brutal at times, even if the objects of his wrath are reprehensible
novel ends well, however, with moving scenes of resolution
for several of the protagonists. Reading this book is time
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