THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
NOVEL "THE KING'S
DRAGON" AND THE
TV EPISODE "THE
OFFICIAL BBC HARDBACK
RELEASED IN JULY 2010.
dig in 1936 unearths relics of another time, And – as the Doctor, Amy and Rory realise – another planet. But if ADVENTURESS Enola Porter has really found evidence of an alien civilisation, how come she isn't famous? Why hasN'T Rory ever heard of her? Added to that, since Amy’s been with him for a while now, why does she think
the Doctor is from Mars?
As the ancient space ship reactivates, the Doctor discovers that nothing and no one can be trusted. The things that seem most real could be fabrications – and very deadly indeed. Who can the Doctor believe when no one is what they seem? And how can he defeat an enemy who can bend matter itself to their will? For the Doctor, Amy and Rory – and all of humanity – the buried secrets of the past are a threat to the present...
Gary Russell has been writing Who for something like twenty years now. Any-one would think that he’d be running low on ideas. Not a bit of it. The Glamour Chase is full of intriguing concepts, some of them pretty bizarre.
The blurb is surprisingly misleading; although everything mentioned happens in the book, the description leads one to expect some kind of time-altering threat to history. In fact, this story involves the Earth being caught up in a feud between two alien species - the peaceful Weave, and the warlike Tahnn. The Tahnn are fairly dull - your usual storm trooper-style invasion force, picking fights across the Galaxy. The Weave are rather more interesting - a civilisation of shapeshifters made of wool. Yes - you read that right. Although there’s an obligatory bit of technobabble to make it clear that it isn’t actually wool, but some complex cellular web that looks like wool, for all intents and purposes the Weave are a race of fairytale creatures who can magically knit themselves into different shapes. They’re unusual in other ways too - they’re interlinked, with each other and their spacecraft, and they have numbers instead of names. Even this is given a little twist, as the numbers don’t follow an ordinal pattern, but the intrinsic pattern of nature known as the Fibonacci Sequence. These peculiar details give the Weave the feel of something far more alien than the usual run-of-the-mill spacemen.
It’s 1936. With the Weave ship buried underneath a village, and boisterous, jolly spiffing archaeologist Enola Porter (the sort of character who might appear in a PG Wodehouse story) is about to dig it up. So there’s a hint of peril to the timeline on the face of it, as surely the discovery of alien life in 1936 would have terrible consequences for established history. In the event, this is neatly brushed aside, as the focus here is more on the characters than the plot-driven. 6011, the Weave girl who lost the Doctor so very long ago. Oliver Marks, so terribly affected by the merciless attack of the Tahnn. Old John, who turns out to be far older than anyone could have realised. Most of the characters could have benefited from a more in-depth examination, but the length of the novel precludes that. Nonetheless, they’re all affecting, and are linked by the disruption to their lives caused by the ongoing feud between Weave and Tahnn. What the story is really about is the affect of war on the lives of everyday folk, exploring this through some of the most peculiar of events.
The regulars are each well-portrayed. Amy gets abducted, while the Doctor goes around being terribly Doctorish. It’s Rory who comes off best here though, his character being explored in greater depth than in any other novel to date. We get an inkling of how and why he became a nurse, the true depth of his feelings for Amy and his respect for the Doctor, and we match the Doctor’s growing appreciation of him. And quite right too, as we, from our post-Big Bang viewpoint know that he’s the unsung hero of Series 5. It’s a fine example of the way this book focuses on the importance of good characterisation. All that stuff with the reality-altering Glamour, the magical recombination of the Weave and the monstrous nature of the Tahnn’s secret weapon are fun and intriguing. Yet it’s in the quiet moments where we see Rory’s compassion for those suffering that this novel really succeeds.
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.
As the Doctor is attempting to get the TARDIS to Rio here, it is likely that this novel takes place shortly before the television episode The Hungry Earth, in which the travellers have missed it again.
The prologue of this novel depicts a visit to the planet of the Weave by an earlier incarnation of the Doctor. The eleventh Doctor recalls the encounter, but cannot recall in which incarnation, saying that it was “five or eight faces back.”
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