The Novrosk Peninsula: the Soviet naval base has been abandoned,
its nuclear submarines rusting, rotting, forgotten. Until
the Russian Special Forces arrive and discover that the Doctor
and his companions are there too. But there is something else
in Novrosk. Something that predates even the stone circle
on the cliff top. Something that is at last waking, hunting,
is evident from the character dynamics of the TARDIS crew
that they experience several adventures together between the
television episodes The
Doctor Dances and Boom
Town. At the end of The Doctor Dances,
the Doctor still doesn't entirely trust his new companion
Captain Jack, yet during Boom Town the travellers are
very much at ease in each others' company. This provides an
ideal gap that is aching to be filled by the second batch
of three Ninth Doctor novels, of which The Deviant Strain
is the first.
the book begins, the Doctor is still rather tetchy with Jack,
who does himself no favours by taking the liberty of answering
a distress signal received by the TARDIS. As in The Empty
Child/The Doctor Dances, his actions precipitate a disaster,
but once again he redeems himself. Strangely, though, despite
the presence of Captain Jack being used as a selling point
on the back cover blurb, the likeness of actor John Barrowman
does not appear on any of the covers in this batch of books.
its disused submarines and legends of Vourdulak, life-sucking
vampires from Russian folklore, there's a distinctly X-Files
flavour to the novel's opening chapters. However, the initial
intrigue ultimately gives way to a standard Who formula,
with a base besieged by blobby creatures that are not dissimilar
to the Rutans.
unlike the author's previous book, The
Clockwise Man, which picked up during its final
50 pages or so, the plot to this one runs out of steam about
two-thirds of the way through, and the rest of the narrative
involves a tiresome pattern of entrapment and escape from
the monsters and villains.
if you're missing the all-too short-lived Christopher Eccleston
Doctor, and/or you're hungry for the next series of the television
show, this novel should help to tide you over.
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