(ISBN 0-426-20387-9)







 The mid-25th century.

 The Dalek war is

 drawing to a close.

 Earth is trying to

 extend its influence

 over the GALACTIC

 corporations that

 have controlled

 human space since

 man first ventured

 to the stars.


 Agent Isabelle Defries

 leadS AN expedition.

 AmongST her barely-

 controllable squad

 is an explosives

 expert who calls

 herself Ace. Their

 destination: Arcadia.


 A non-technological

 paradise? A living

 laboratory for a

 experiment? Fuel for

 a super-being? Even

 when Ace and Benny

 discover the truth,

 the Doctor refuses

 to listen to them.


 Nothing is what it

 seems to be.


 PREVIOUS                                                                                  NEXT





APRIL 1993






Hot on the heels of a relatively short novel that seemed to take me an eternity trawl though, here the New Adventures return to form in explosive fashion with range editor Peter Darvill-Evans’ blockbuster, Deceit. Though this book is probably of sufficient weight to make it a lethal weapon if wielded with sufficient force, I was able to tear through it less than two days, which perhaps sums up my opinion of it better than anything else that I could offer.


Right from the start Deceit has a definite energy about it; a certain weight that is comparable to a television show’s season finale. We have a huge guest star - Abslom Daak, acclaimed Dalek killer of Doctor Who comic book fame. We have the story set in the aftermath of the second Dalek War, an era which following Love and War is becoming a familiar stomping ground for the seventh Doctor and his companions. The Butler Institute (from Cat’s Cradle: Warhead) returns in the form of the Spinward Corporation, the iniquitous company that is harvesting the brains of the Arcadians with a view to constructing a super-intelligence. The range’s editor even takes it upon himself to finally tie up the loose ends of the bewildering Cat’s Cradle saga, began way back in Marc Platt’s Cat’s Cradle: Time’s Crucible. Most importantly of all though, Darvill-Evans introduces us to an older, meaner Ace, now a three-year veteran of the Dalek War.



The resolution of the

Cat’s Cradle arc is

handled almost as

an aside early on in

the book. Apparently,

the Doctor’s actions in Love and War were deliberately engineered to force Ace out of the TARDIS because he had discovered that the TARDIS had become infected by a strange virus from Tir na n-Óg which he needed to cleanse by completely shutting it down – a very dangerous course of action, I understand. It’s an utterly contrived end to an utterly contrived and needless story arc, but it’s still an end – and now at least I understand the significance of those cats!


The meat of the novel is fairly average Who fodder on the face of it, yet I still found myself engrossed in the world that Darvill-Evans describes so vividly, and more importantly I was always one hundred per cent invested in all of his main characters. Lacuna and Britta, the

“villains” of the piece, are particularly alluring. A servant of Pool, the monstrous Lacuna puts a face on the Spinward Corporation and its heinous activities, whilst the very beautiful (and often very naked) Britta begins the story as more of a victim. However, as matters progress we learn that Britta enjoys her submissive role and the depraved acts that Lacuna has her perform. Indeed, the sexual relationship between these two female characters certainly pushes the envelope, even for the New Adventures. I’m not condemning it, mind; in fact I really enjoy the more adult aspects of the Virgin series. Deceit’s mild erotica is far from gratuitous, and for me at least seems to make the Whoniverse so much more credible.


Comic book anti-hero Abslom Daak is well-drawn here, shamelessly one-dimensional but

all the stronger for it. At times his attraction to Ace is downright hilarious, and you really have to admire Darvill-Evans’ guts to have their relationship play out the way that it does - Daak meeting an undignified end in rather a messy accident whilst trying to save Ace’s life. Sadly

a lot of the tension surrounding Daak’s destiny (and Ace having to keep him alive so that he could fulfil it) is spoiled by the author making it blatantly obvious from the start that this Daak is a clone – if Ace is supposed to be sharp, how in the blue hell did she miss the “VERSION THREE” legend emblazoned on Daak’s stasis chamber?


The Doctor and Bernice are, as always, a pleasure to read; Benny seems to be becoming more interesting with each passing novel. Interestingly, she is far from pleased about Ace’s decision to rejoin the TARDIS crew at the story’s conclusion, and even the Doctor’s attitude towards Ace’s decision is hard to decipher.


At the end of the day, Deceit marks a new beginning for the New Adventures, and with three fascinating main characters, each of them unsure about the other two, it looks like things are set to get even more exciting…


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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