THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE AFTER THE
AUDIO BOOK "THE
HOUNDS OF ARTEMIS" AND DIRECTLY PRIOR
TO THE THE TV EPISODE
"THE TIME OF ANGELS."
OFFICIAL BBC HARDBACK
RELEASED IN APRIL 2010.
Long ago, in the Arctic wastes, an alien army landed. now the army is ready to attack.
New York – one of the greatest cities on 21st century Earth... But what's going on in the Museum? And is that really a Woolly Mammoth rampaging down Broadway?
An ordinary day becomes a time of terror, as Ice Age creatures come back to life, and the Doctor and Amy meet a new and deadly enemy.
CAN THE DOCTOR AND AMY free New York from the Forgotten Army?
Third in this first batch of eleventh Doctor novels is Brian Minchin’s The Forgotten Army, which comes sporting a very fetching cover featuring a rampaging mammoth. I’m always a sucker for a prehistoric beastie, so the fact that a mammoth - albeit a highly atypical one - features heavily in this story means that I’m bound to enjoy it. The set-up, with the Doctor and Amy arriving in New York just in time to get involved with the events at the city’s Natural History Museum. Poor palaeontologist Sam has to deal with his new woolly exhibit coming to life and storming through the museum’s halls. It’s action-packed from the get-go, and it isn’t long before the Doctor is winding up the NYPD and riding on the back of the Pleistocene pachyderm.
Needless to say, the revivication of an extinct animal is only part of a much wider plot. It soon becomes clear that the entire strange chain of events witnessed here is part of a massive plot to invade the Earth by aliens called the Vykoids, who are intent on enslaving as many humans as they can capture and shipping them off to their asteroidal dung mines. Sadly, once the main thrust of the plot gets going, things rather fall apart; the Vykoids are simply far to feeble an enemy to get worked up about. Only about an inch high, looking like angry little troll dolls, they are far to ridiculous to ever feel threatening. Their leader is called Erik, for heaven’s sake - surely the most unthreatening sounding name for a military leader other than Kenneth.
Fair enough, this adventure is written in a comedic style, but a sense of threat is vital if this kind of story is going to work. The Vykoids refuse to kill even a single person, lest a valuable slave be wasted. Even their use of clever temporal technology is wasted; rather than using their super-speed to gain any true advantage, they spend most of their time using it to play practical jokes. The comedy needs to work alongside the plot, not in place of it. In any case, even in a children’s book, which this very much is, the comedy needs to be funny. Aside from a great line that describes the Vykoid leader as resembling Wayne Rooney, I can’t remember any parts that actually made me laugh, regardless of how many mammoth farts were thrown in.
Minchin’s grasp of the characters is fine, and Amy in particular gets plenty to do, especially while the Doctor is captive and she joins forces with a well-meaning but ineffectual cop. Sadly, the fine action-packed opening, the well-drawn if simplistic characters and the mighty mammoth go pretty much wasted in a rather throwaway read.
Copyright © Daniel Tessier 2010
Daniel Tessier has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
This novel has been placed directly prior to The Time of Angels as at the end of the story the Doctor mentions visiting the Delirium Archive, which is where we first see the Doctor and Amy in The Time of Angels. It follows then that many of the audio books featuring the Doctor and Amy must be set earlier, despite being released later.
Amy mentions Nile penguins when in the museum, which the Doctor claims are mythical, or the echo of a memory. Nile penguins exist in the impossible world seen in The Big Bang - they are glimpsed in the museum as young Amelia looks for the Pandorica. Seemingly, Amy’s timelines are overlapping a little here.
Thanks to Craig Land
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