An old World War II bomb explodes in a disused London Underground
station. The devastation releases strange and hostile subhuman
creatures that crave anything containing sugar. Honoré Lechasseur
and Emily Blandish are contacted by an eccentric poet who
believes the monsters may be after him...
I was a little disappointed to find that, following the detonation
of the bomb, this story has little to do with the London Underground
or its disused stations, subjects that fascinate me. I had
been hoping for something along the lines (no pun intended)
of Neverwhere or the Doctor Who story The
Web of Fear.
As it happens, Stefan Petrucha (who is perhaps best known
for his writing on Topps' X-Files comic) gives us a
murder mystery of sorts, and a pretty engaging one at that.
Honoré and Emily know perfectly well that the subterranean
creatures are doing the killing, but the mystery is: who is
directing these hitherto mindless beasts?
Without giving too much away, the culprit that is ultimately
revealed brings to mind the demon-summoning Master in the
Who serial The Daemons. As you may or may not
be aware, Telos Publishing plans to use some of the abandoned
ideas from its defunct range of Who novellas within
the Time Hunter series. Such stories will probably
have to be restricted to an Earth setting, as this one is,
but then the vast majority of Doctor Who adventures
are Earthbound anyway, so that needn't be too much of a restriction.
I'm not sure whether or not this particular tale is a recycled
Who story, but the villain of the piece is certainly
very much a Master to Lechasseur's Doctor.
strangeness of the monsters and the eccentricities of the
poet Randolph Crest keep the reader engaged throughout the
narrative. However, some scenes seem to have been cut or glossed
over to keep the book to its 100-page duration, and I question
the author's choices regarding some of them. For instance,
I would have liked to see more of the Subterraneans' initial
emergence into the outside world, instead of this just being
presented as a done deal. Similarly, more could have been
made of the dramatic and comic potential of Crest's discovery
of Emily breaking and entering into his property - as it is,
this provides an exciting chapter ending but comes to little
The Tunnel at the End of the Light is well worth traversing.