When Honoré and Emily find themselves outside the imposing
tower-block headquarters of Dragon Industry, both sense something
is wrong. There are ghosts in the building. Images and echoes
of all times pervade its structure. What is behind this massive
contradiction in time, and can the travellers figure it out
before they become trapped themselves...?
read this novella more than a year after its publication.
However, even if I'd picked it up immediately upon its release,
I reckon I would still have had trouble remembering how the
previous book in the series, The
(published December 2004) left off. Four months is too long
to wait for a cliffhanger to be resolved.
to worry, though. Even though Severed ended with the
claim that the story would be continued in this book, the
connection is tenuous. The devil-worshipping cult, which I
thought had not yet been thoroughly dealt with, is only alluded
to in the satanic shape of the Dragon Industry logo. In fact,
there's only one direct connection with the previous novella,
and that is explained sufficiently well within the context
of this book. In short, you don't need to have read The
Severed Man (but it helps).
time-bending shenanigans as convoluted as we have ever seen
in this series, including this novella's predecessor, Iain
McLaughlin and Claire Bartlett have turned in one of the most
readable Time Hunter tomes to date. Several dialogue-only
sections are a little hard to follow to begin with, as they
contain no directions, apart from the dialogue itself, as
to which of the (disembodied) characters is speaking. However,
even these segments become clear in time as individual characters
begin to stand out.
think it helps that I am a Sapphire & Steel fan, as
there are a lot of similar elements (no pun intended) here.
Ghosts; rooms that switch between time zones, so that they
are cobweb-strewn one minute and pristinely spotless the next;
a room isolated by an unnatural darkness; a darkness that
moves with intelligent purpose; the sacrifice of someone's
timeline... this is all textbook Sapphire & Steel stuff.
Still, I suppose it makes a change from Honoré and Emily being
stand-ins for the Doctor and his companions! The authors should
consider submitting proposals for Big Finish's Sapphire
above might sound like a criticism, but it isn't as far as
I am concerned. I can't get enough Sapphire & Steel,
especially now that the first Big Finish series has come to
an end, so any echoes of it are more than welcome.
Apart from some strange and inconsistent hyphen usage (for
example, in this series it's important to decide whether or
not you're going to hyphenate the term time-snake/time snake)
I enjoyed this book.