A maths nerd, a weird webzine publisher and the Brigadier
find themselves helping the Seventh Doctor and Ace to solve
the puzzle of a crop circle in the Kentish countryside. Only
it's not a circle but a series of square-sided shapes, and
it's filled with ice. And it seems to be causing time anomalies...
is not the first time that Lloyd Rose has written about the
Seventh Doctor. This incarnation made a brief appearance in
one of the Eighth Doctor's dreams in Rose's debut Doctor
Who novel, The City of the Dead.
is clear that the author has great affection for the Sylvester
McCoy era, alluding to several previous adventures. As in
Battlefield, the Brigadier makes an appearance, though
he could have been put to better use. The Doctor keeps an
invader at bay by drawing a circle, thus offering a pseudo-scientific
explanation for the power of a similar chalk circle in Battlefield.
There are several references to Remembrance of the Daleks,
especially the Doctor's destruction of Skaro, though Rose
seems to think that the Time Lord destroyed the planet in
1963, thereby altering history (whereas most fans infer from
the line, "Entering Skaro time zone," that the Hand of Omega
travelled forwards in time to complete its task).
author's fondness for the Seventh Doctor extends beyond the
TV series and into the era of the New Adventures novels.
The book is steeped in the mythology of The New Adventures,
paying several visits to the Doctor's house on Allen Road
and clothing the Time Lord in his elegant white suit (though
this novel is set long before David A. McIntee's White
Darkness, when the Time Lord started wearing the outfit
on a regular basis).
plot itself bears a passing resemblance to Ben Aaronovitch's
Transit. Webzine publisher Adrian Molecross has tracked
and correlated the Doctor's involvement with the planet Earth
over the years, much as Kadiatu Lethbridge-Stewart does in
Transit. In Rose's book, a creature composed of mathematical
equations breaks through into our universe, in much the same
way that a being from a world of software computations does
in Aaronovitch's novel.
idiosyncratic style remains ever present, uniting a delusional
mathematician with a paranormal webmaster. Molecross's unfortunate
loss of a hand leads to some moments that are at once gruesome
and blackly comical. The villain of the piece, Brett, is a
truly nasty piece of work: unhinged and brutally sadistic.
This being the work of an American author, a few Americanisms
inevitably slip in, including some errant spellings. For example,
"draught" is spelt "draft", and not for the first time in
a Who book. It appears as though someone has at least
attempted to weed out such US spellings, but unfortunately
they went too far when they changed "meters" to "metres" on
page 259 - Rose really does mean "meters".
its faults, this is a very involving book that is full of
memorable characters and situations.
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