(ISBN 1-903654-49-1)





 1400 BC: Egypt is in

 mourning. Pharaoh,

 the great God-King, is

 dead. The future of

 the Two Kingdoms of

 Egypt is shrouded in

 uncertainty as the

 Council of Priests

 debates the claim to

 the throne of

 Pharaoh's only heir.


 Out in the deserts

 around Thebes,

 Egypt's capital, a

 warlord chief is

 assembling an army

 of mercenaries,

 waiting for just the

 right moment to

 strike at Egypt's



 But not all of Egypt's

 enemies are outside

 the city. What is the

 secret of the strange

 box discovered in the



 When the TARDIS

 arrives nearby, it

 has apparently been

 hi-jacked... by the



 PREVIOUS                                                                                  NEXT



The Eye of

the Scorpion








With “The Eye of the Scorpion”, Iain McLaughlin has penned a wonderfully traditional pseudo-historical adventure which I enjoyed immensely. Following on from the events of the much maligned “Red Dawn”, this four-part story sees the TARDIS land at a place in Earth’s history that the show has never really explored before. Well, unless you count William

Hartnell being chased around by Daleks and the Meddling Monk…


Egypt, 1400 BC


And though McLaughlin’s story is much more adult than the aforementioned sections of “The Daleks’ Master Plan” were, it is still tremendous fun. The story sees Doctor and Peri rescue Erimem, the uncrowned Pharaoh, from the clutches of the warlord Yannis. Strangely, the Doctor knows that history never recorded a Pharaoh by the name of Erimem, and with assassins, warlords and even the High Priest Horemshep (superbly played by Stephen Perring) all conspiring against her, we are led to assume the worst; that this young, bright and likeable woman dies before becoming Pharaoh.


In terms of pace and style, this story has a very similar feel to “The Aztecs”, “Marco Polo”, and other classic historical stories. The Doctor is even absent from the second episode,

well and truly evoking memories of the days when the all-year-round filming schedule meant that the Doctor and his companions would often be written out for an episode or so that the actors could go on holiday! Peter Davison’s absence allows Nicola Bryant to enjoy her best audio story thus far as Peri. She is expertly used by the writer who caters to all her strengths; her resilience, her humour, her spirit… even her attractiveness.


However, “The Eye of the Scorpion” does set itself apart from the Hartnell historicals in that

it does not shy away from the more sordid side of history. When the topless concubines showed up I was immediately reminded of John Peel’s “Timewyrm: Genesys” novel. Sadly, on audio it is just as frustrating as it is in print...


Big Finish have really created the feel of ancient Egypt well. Everything from the sound of Peri falling off a chariot at high speed to David Darlington’s quite excellent score is perfect for the story. Erimem’s voice, however, takes a bit of getting used to. The TARDIS’s telepathic circuits translating for her (just as they must have done for Adric, Nyssa, etc.) makes it sound like she is speaking BBC English, which comes off as a bit odd. For example, when we hear Germans or Russians in Doctor Who they speak English but at

least retain some part of their native inflection… but not Erimem.


The fate of Erimem is ultimately very satisfying. She is such a strong character and works so well alongside both the Doctor and Peri that I really did not want her to be killed off. Not only does she not die, she leaves in the TARDIS at the end, the Doctor promising to drop her

and her cat off at a University somewhere! I smell a new a companion…


The only real gripe I have with this story is the alien menace. It is passable, but frankly McLaughlin’s story works well enough on its own without the need for the customary bit of science fiction. All things considered though, “The Eye of the Scorpion” is a one hundred per cent improvement on “Red Dawn”, and now with Caroline Morris’ Erimem thrown into the

mix the future for this particular offshoot of stories looks much more promising than it did last May!


Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006


E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

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