(ISBN 0-426-20368-2)






 A coach crashes on


 killed. The bodies

 carry no i.d.; they

 are wearing similar

 clothes. And each

 has a suitcase full

 of banknotes.


 In the darkening and

 doomed world known

 to its inhabitants as

 Tir na n-Óg, humans

 defend the walls of

 their citadel against

 mythical beasts and



 The TARDIS’ link with

 the Eye of Harmony is

 becoming ever more

 tenuous and is in need

 of repair. But INSTEAD,

 IT TAKES the Doctor

 and Ace to a village

 in rural Wales, and a

 gateway to another



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Cat's Cradle:

Witch Mark

JUNE 1992






At first, Cat’s Cradle: Witch Mark doesn’t look even remotely like Doctor Who. The first three or four chapters never seem to end, although that’s only a concern for those with the willpower to get past the horrifc eighteen-page prologue. However, once I’d forced myself to read as far as about page fifty, much to my surprise, I found myself enjoying this unique venture.


Andrew Hunt’s novel begins as a quite literally fantastic story, consciously written (just look

at the plagiarised chapter names!) in the style of JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and CS Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. The events described here are incredible, even for Doctor Who, and some of them (for instance, the Doctor and Ace being in both Tir na n-Óg and in Wales simultaneously) still defy explanation at the story’s end.


Nevertheless, much of the substance is compelling – two American boys finding an injured Centaur and calling good old local bobby Constable Hughes, who then comes along and burns the poor creature to death; Bathsheba, the tragic girl from Tir na n-Óg with a withered arm, who has lost all her family to “demon” attacks and wants nothing more than to find her God, Goibhnie, who appears to have abandoned her people; Inspector Stevens, the 1992 British Fox Mulder; Old Davey, the old Welsh drunk, who has an uncanny link to the creature Herne from Tir na n-Óg, who lives his life like Benjamin Button. There is enough going on to entertain, though often just a little bit too much to quite keep track of.


As a series, Doctor Who has a format stronger than any other. A story can be set in the past, the present, or the future and anywhere in the universe (or any other universe, for that matter). However, in all its time on television the realms of fantasy were rarely explored, and so Hunt at least scores some points for being willing to push the envelope with this effort. The way I look at it though, he was onto a lose-lose situation with this novel as if he offered a science-fiction explanation for events, it would negate their magic and mystery. But then if he didn’t provide a scientific explanation for events, it’s not really a Doctor Who story is it? “Science, not sorcery Miss Hawthorne...”


Ultimately, Hunt opted for the former option, revealing Goibhnie, the ‘God’ of Tir na n-Óg,

to be an amoral alien scientist who created Tir na n-Óg as an experiment, its mythological creatures deliberately created by genetically experimenting with life forms from Earth. He and the Doctor talk things out, Goibhnie decides to give Tir na n-Óg its sun back and let his experiment continue indefinitely, leaving the whole ending to the story feeling astoundingly anti-climatic.



But wait! With about

three pages left, the

author remembers

that he has to not

only conclude the

Cat’s Cradle trilogy,

but actually explain

what it actually was (beyond a suspicious silver cat appearing briefly in all three novels). The last few pages of the book explain that after the damage it sustained back in Cats Cradle: Time’s Crucible, the TARDIS healed itself somehow using a mysterious cat’s powers, and that’s all we get. I find this bizarre, particularly as all three books in this trilogy (particularly the first two) were quite capable of standing on their own two feet. This ill-defined, story arc feels nothing but contrived; more of a hindrance than a selling point.


On balance though, there is more to like about Witch Mark than not. Whilst it doesn’t come close to the standard of Exodus, Revelation or Warhead, it is an enjoyable enough frolic with an ambience that is certainly all its own.


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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