The Doctor has been put on trial by his own people, accused
of their greatest crime: interfering with the affairs of other
planets. But before he is sent into exile, the Time Lords
have a task for him. From the trenches of the Great War to
the terrors of the French Revolution, the Doctor finds his
life threatened at every turn. Will he survive to serve his
sentence, or will this adventure prove to be his Waterloo...?
wondered why the Second Doctor depicted in The
Two Doctors was working for the Time Lords,
even though his people didn't capture him until his final
story, The War Games? Ever wondered why his hair looked
greyer in The Two Doctors, or why he referred to himself
as being "a bit of an exile these days"? Ever wondered how,
in the The Five Doctors, he managed to remember Jamie
being returned to his own time in The War Games, even
though the Doctor was supposedly regenerated and exiled to
Earth immediately thereafter?
In 1995, Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping's Doctor
Who: The Discontinuity Guide postulated "Season 6B": the
idea that, in between his trial and his enforced regeneration,
the Second Doctor experienced a further series of adventures.
Indeed, the Doctor Who comic strips in issues 916-936
of TV Comic explicitly support this notion, by featuring
a post-trial Second Doctor, exiled on Earth but not yet attached
to UNIT. A short section of Terrance Dicks' 1999 novel Players
witnessed the first validation of this theory in a piece of
licensed Who prose fiction. Here, the Second Doctor's
sentence was postponed by the Celestial Intervention Agency,
who had a mission for him...
Game shows us more of this era. In this book, the author
states that what we saw on screen at the end of The War
Games was not the whole truth, but was "re-edited for
the public record". This novel has the Doctor being sentenced
to death until the CIA intercedes. Presumably the scene in
which the Doctor is offered a chance to choose his new appearance
takes place much later, after the CIA has grown tired of keeping
him on a leash, or he has rebelled and tried to escape his
servitude. The line spoken by the First Time Lord: "The time
has come for you to change your appearance and begin your
exile," could also take place at this point, or even later,
after the Doctor has been forced aboard his TARDIS at the
end of The Night Walkers (TV Comic issues 934-936).
novel's conclusion leads directly into the Second Doctor's
participation in The Two Doctors. Personally, I would
have preferred the latter adventure to have taken place towards
the end of "Season 6B", rather than at its beginning, given
the Doctor and Jamie's visibly older appearance. Instead,
Dicks attributes the Time Lord's grey hair to the gruelling
nature of his first assignment.
addition to referencing The War Games (his fourth novel
to do so) and The Two Doctors, Dicks also ties in characters,
creatures and events from The Eight Doctors, Players
(surprise, surprise - the eternal Players are attempting to
meddle in Earth's history for the third time), State of
Decay, The Five Doctors (including a reprise of
the infamous "not the mind probe" line) and The End of
the World (the Doctor pockets some psychic paper).
psychic paper bit is nice, but it does raise the question
of why the Doctor never used it again until his ninth incarnation.
It would have come in useful during numerous stories in which
he required a pass or papers, including Spearhead
from Space and The
Curse of Fenric.
Maybe he mislaid it for a few centuries.
Other shows that are alluded to include Sharpe, Terminator
2 and Bob the Builder. Can the Doctor fix it? Yes,
aside from all these pleasing (or otherwise) inter-textual
references, is the book any good? Well, Dicks' writing is
as readable as it ever has been. The plot flags a little in
the middle, but soon picks up thanks to several surprising
twists towards the end. A new companion who is foisted upon
the Doctor, a Time Lady called Serena, works rather well.
Following The War Games, Timewyrm: Exodus, Players,
this is yet another addition to a long line of warfare-related
stories by this author. However, he makes inventive use of
the real-life characters (in this case Napoleon Bonaparte
and the Duke of Wellington) and enlightens us as to their
fascinating histories, just as he did with Winston Churchill
and Kim Philby in Players and Endgame respectively.
are a few editorial blunders, as we have come to expect from
Dicks. He writes "hung" when he means "hanged", "dammed" when
he means "damned", and "affect" when he means "effect". Serena
remains ignorant as to who Hitler is, despite having heard
his name earlier in the book.
clearly not without its faults, this novel is very engaging,
especially if you're game for a nostalgic wallow in Doctor
this item online
compare prices online so you get the cheapest
deal! Click on the logo of the desired store
below to purchase this item.
All prices correct at time of going to press.