When the TARDIS lands in London, 2006, Ian and Barbara are
eager to explore their future. But they have arrived in the
middle of a war - a war that has left London in ruins. His
friends mistaken for vagrants, the Doctor is press-ganged
into helping the military refine its ultimate weapon. The
British Army has discovered time travel, and the consequences
are already devastating...
the moment the TARDIS touches down in the abandoned Canary
Wharf tube station of a ruined London, this parallel world
story grips the reader's attention. What has caused history
to change so drastically, even though the Doctor claimed it
was impossible to alter history in The
Aztecs? Why do duplicates of experimental time
travellers keep materialising?
After a while, however, the narrative strays over that fine
between "intriguing" and "confusing". Complex theories about
alternate branches of time are offered to explain the temporal
duplications. Science teacher Ian Chesterton finds these difficult
to grasp, so what hope does the reader have? Though these
theories coincidentally provide us with a get-out from the
Blinovitch Limitation Effect witnessed in Mawdryn Undead
(because the doubles aren't from the exact same timeline),
the reason why all the duplicates converge upon a single branch
of time could have been explained more clearly.
ALERT: the idea that the TARDIS acts as a lodestone appears
at first glance not to hold water, because at least two other
timelines are known to have an Ian and therefore a TARDIS
in them. However, I reckon the fact that Bamford sends the
TARDIS back in time to 1972, so that the Ship is at both ends
of the time corridor acting as a doubly powerful lodestone,
is what makes that particular branch of time so attractive.)
Nevertheless, author Simon Guerrier makes good use of his
cast of characters: the morally aloof Doctor, the heroic Ian,
the compassionate Barbara, and in particular Susan, who is
by disconcerting turns patronising yet immature. He sows the
seeds for Ian and Barbara's romantic involvement in David
A McIntee's The
Eleventh Tiger and The Face of the Enemy,
and provides the Doctor with motivation for leaving his granddaughter
behind at the end of The
Dalek Invasion of Earth (this book appears
to be set between Planet
of Giants and Dalek Invasion).
author also plays fast and loose with series continuity with
sneaky references to the repercussions of adventures the Doctor
hasn't even experienced yet.
some temporal confusion, this book is an impressive debut
novel and well worth your time.
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