THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
DAY" AND "TRANSIT."
OFFICIAL VIRGIN 'NEW
RELEASED IN OCTOBER
On a planet called
Heaven, all hell is
The Doctor comes TO
HEAVEN on a trivial
mission – to find a
book, or so he says –
and Ace, wandering
alone in the city,
with a charismatic
Traveller called Jan.
But the Doctor is
to the romance. JUST
What is he trying to
prevent? Is The TIME
LORD planning some
more deadly game
connected with the
causing the military
forces of Heaven such
Love and War
Love and War is really something. Paul Cornell (Timewyrm: Revelation) has done
a masterful job of crafting a traditional and engaging ‘future history’ story, whilst at the same time introducing an interesting new companion and detailing the dramatic breakdown of the Doctor’s relationship with his old one.
The whole affair has a climactic feel to it, and justifiably so, being the book that concludes the whole ‘Ace’ story arc begun way back in Dragonfire. After all that they’ve been through together - Daleks, Cybermen, Fenric, the Timewyrm et al – to see the Doctor and Ace part ways on such bad terms is exceedingly painful and tragic, especially as the book is written from a relatively objective stance, presenting both characters’ viewpoints. The Doctor did what he had to do to save the human race, but in doing so, he used Ace’s new lover, Jan,
as a weapon to destroy the Hoothi, killing him in the process.
In itself, this makes for a phenomenal ending to the book, however I feel that it would have been even more satisfying had the shock ending to Nightshade been built upon. At the end of the previous novel, the selfish seventh Doctor virtually kidnapped Ace, stealing her away from her lover, Robin, forever. Although that act pales in comparison to what he does here, surely more could have been made of the incident? If nothing else, it would have illustrated the gradual breakdown in trust and friendship between the Doctor and his companion.
“Professor” Bernice Summerfield’s introduction is flawless, however; a much-needed breath of fresh air. After thirty years’ worth of companions, to create a new and unique character is quite a task, but in Benny, Cornell creates a woman unlike any that the Doctor has travelled with before. She’s a brilliant archaeologist who faked her qualifications. She’s an orphan of the Dalek war. She‘s horrendously neurotic, keeping a diary which she constantly rewrites. She regularly gets pissed and fights with Travellers who think she’s “insane”. At one point, she even seems to have a romantic interest in the Time Lord! In short, she’s riveting.
Another impressive aspect of
this novel is the future which
Cornell describes in such fine
detail. The picture painted is
one very much in line with the
future depicted in Frontier in
Space on television, though it
is deftly tied into that seen in
Colony in Space as well. The
recent Dalek war is over, and
Heaven is a beautiful world where both Humans and Draconians can bury their fallen and where both races can now live in peace. The Daleks don’t feature but their presence is felt throughout, reminding the reader that it isn’t just the Doctor versus the Daleks - occasionally, when their paths cross, he may be able to stop their plans, but on the whole the Daleks are an unstoppable force of destruction that leave a trail of death behind them. Love and War shows us the human consequences of the evil of the Daleks - the death of Benny’s mother
at their hands, the military experiments done on Jan to help fight the Daleks…
Furthermore, Cornell makes some bold statements about the Doctor’s past, both of which
I think are intriguing character developments. Firstly, after leaving Metabelis 3 at the end of Planet of the Spiders, Cornell posits that the third Doctor spent ten long, subjective years
in the TARDIS slowly dying from radiation poisoning before landing on Earth to regenerate. Secondly, it is suggested that the sixth Doctor might have sacrificed himself to become the seventh – “Time’s Champion”. Whether these inferences should be taken at face value is open to interpretation as they are revealed to Ace in a dream, where the Doctor is talking to the personification of Death. Nevertheless, true or false, they certainly heighten the aura of torment that seems to surround this particular incarnation.
Altogether then, Love and War comes highly recommended. Cornell’s world-building is exceptional, his plot is gripping and his characterisation is positively peerless. This is a novel with everything; a novel that well and truly marks the end of the spoon-playing clown and sees the beginning of the dark Doctor, of “Time’s Champion”…
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.
Love and War posits that the third Doctor spent ten subjective years alone in the Time Vortex in Planet of
the Spiders before finally reaching Earth and regenerating. It also heavily implies that the sixth Doctor (“the colourful jester”) willingly sacrificed himself to become the seventh (“Time’s Champion”). This would initially seem to be at odds with how the sixth Doctor’s demise is depicted in the later novels Time’s Champion and Spiral Scratch, however we are never likely to find out what went through the sixth Doctor’s mind when he finally succumbed to his death throes.
This novel also marks the first use of the Doctor’s ‘Oncoming Storm’ soubriquet, which is used here by the Draconians.
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