(ISBN 0-426-20357-7)







 The pursuit of the

 Timewyrm leads the

 Doctor and Ace to

 London, 1951, and the

 Festival of Britain –

 a celebration of the

 achievements of this

 small country, this

 insignificant corner

 of the Thousand Year



 Someone has been

 interfering with the

 time lines, and in

 order to investigate,

 the Doctor travels

 further back in time

 to the very dawn of

 the Nazi evil. In the

 heart of the Germany

 of the Third Reich, he

 finds that this little

 band of thugs and

 misfits did not take

 over half the world



 TIME must be restored

 to its proper course,

 and in his attempt to

 repair the time lines,

 the Doctor faces the

 most terrible CHOICE

 he has ever known...


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After reading Timewyrm: Exodus, I find it hard to believe that the Terrance Dicks that wrote it is the same man that penned most of Doctor Who’s fêted Target novelisations. That’s not to say that this novel isn’t impressive; quite the opposite, in fact. The second of Virgin’s New Adventures is a brave and audaciously adult novel - not in the sexual way that Timewyrm: Genesys often was; more in terms of its extraordinarily dark subject matter.


“Full-length science fiction novels;

stories too broad and too deep for the small screen…”


This novel certainly lives up to its tag line. Dicks’ novel sweeps across four time periods, taking us from Britain to Munich to Nüremberg to Drachensberg to Aachen. Each setting; each time is described in great detail, written with what appears to be a deep historical knowledge of the period, as opposed to what the author has gleaned from a skim of The Boys’ Book of World War II. Notable historical villains such as Goering, Himmler, and even Hitler are brought to life vividly, right down to their incessant paranoia and loathing of each other. This is a novel that’s been masterfully written.


When the TARDIS lands in 1951 to find Britain occupied by the Nazis, the opening chapters frighteningly describe what so easily could have been; what has now, somehow, become a reality. From the start we are aware that the Timewyrm is trapped inside the head of Adolf Hitler, quite powerless, which means that someone else must have been altering history – but whom? In order to find out, the Doctor and Ace are put through a series of provocative misadventures, initially involving English Nazi thug Lieutenant Hemmings and his Freikorps. My favourite scene in the book sees the Doctor impersonating a murdered Nazi official, and making a horrifyingly good job of it – the Doctor speaking fluent German and ranting like a Nazi is an astoundingly disturbing image.



Far more disturbing though

is Dicks’ having the Doctor

befriend Hitler. Fleeing from

1951, the Doctor and Ace

head for 1923 Munich and

the Beer Hall Putsch where

they first meet the young and

broken Hitler. Attempting to patch up the web of time, the Doctor tells him to believe in himself and that one day he will rule all of Germany. The Doctor and Ace then fast-forward to a Nüremberg Rally in 1939, where they are reunited

with the now-Führer who is delighted to see them again. In this time zone, the Timewyrm is causing Hitler to suffer with bouts of destructive madness, which the Doctor tries to help him control, for the proverbial “greater good”. Reading about the Doctor mingling with Hitler and his cronies and having him act like one of them really gets under your skin, which is one of things that makes this novel work so very well. I was constantly questioning the lengths that the Doctor will go to, creating an aura of danger around him that I find very compelling.


Of course, it shouldn’t seem so utterly repugnant that the Doctor has to befriend Hitler in order to set history right – how many supervillains across time and space has the Doctor pretended to befriend for the greater good? I guess that this one is just too close to home.


Whilst in 1939, the Doctor finds out that a mysterious and deformed old man, Kriegslieter, is pulling the strings behind the SS, using a castle in Drachensberg as a base. The name is a dead giveaway – it’s German for “War Chief”, the rogue Time Lord last seen being gunned down by the War Lords in The War Games. Timewyrm: Exodus reveals that the War Chief survived the shooting, but was so badly injured that his regeneration was aborted partway through, leaving him horrifically deformed – something that he blames the Doctor for. Dicks has really impressed me with how he portrays this character here. In his first appearance

the War Chief was little more than a moustache-twirling heel with an unusually significant lineage. Here, Dicks give him a tragic back-story that really engages the reader’s sympathy – it seems that the triggering event that started the War Chief down his dark path was being framed by Cardinal Borusa, who felt threatened by his rapid ascension through the Time Lord hierarchy.


Dicks walks a similar – though infinitely more controversial - tightrope with his portrayal of Hitler. Dicks makes it clear that the Timewyrm is present in Hitler’s mind at the times when he “accomplished” the most, implying that the Timewyrm inside him was just as responsible for his atrocities as he was. Most will find this an abhorrent notion, but bearing in mind that this is fiction, not only does it work brilliantly, but it also builds up the evil of the Timewyrm without having her present for ninety-nine percent of the story.


The novel’s dénouement is a real thing of beauty, as the Doctor realises that in teaching  Hitler to control the Timewyrm, he gave him the means to win the war and alter history – it was nothing to do with the War Lords, whose deeds here are largely incidental. Of course, the Doctor is ultimately able to excise the Timewyrm from Hitler’s mind, just in time to get

him to halt his armies before Dunkirk, allowing the allies to escape and setting history back on its proper course.


All told Timewyrm: Exodus is a brutal powerhouse of a novel. It’s absolutely brilliant in every respect; not just a great Doctor Who novel but one of the greatest Doctor Who stories ever told.

he Red Button Now.

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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