THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
NOVELS "THE LEFT-
AND "NO FUTURE."
OFFICIAL VIRGIN 'NEW
RELEASED IN JANUARY
A killer is stalking
the streets of the
village of Arandale.
The victims are found
one each day, drained
of blood. And if that
seems strange, it’s
nothing compared to
The Doctor, Ace and
Bernice think THAT
a murder mystery.
But it’s all much
more bizarre than
that. And much more
THE DOCTOR'S PAST HAS
BEEN interfered with
again. he’s landed in
a place he knows he
once destroyed. This
time there can be no
Conundrum is something very different to your usual run-of-the-mill Doctor Who novel. It’s something special. Something brilliant.
Steve Lyons’ debut has tremendously wide appeal. His flair and style are sure to impress anyone that picks this one up, and the story that he tells is absolutely enthralling. Not only does it possess an outstanding science-fiction plot, cloaked as a nostalgic and tastefully referential sequel to a classic serial, but it handles the three regulars masterfully. Here we see the already strained relationship between the Doctor, Ace and Benny pushed beyond breaking point.
From the start it is clear that Conundrum is being relayed by an old-school narrator, and it won’t take a discerning fan long to look at the clues (the functioning chameleon circuit turning the TARDIS into a gingerbread man’s house, super-hero characters…) and work out exactly where exactly the TARDIS has landed. That’s right – the TARDIS has materialised in the Land of Fiction, last seen in the Patrick Troughton fiver-parter, The Mind Robber, and it is the new ‘Master’ of this land who is recounting the story, writing it as he goes…
It’s a testament to the author’s talent that his ‘storybook’ plot within the novel is actually rather good in itself, and even better within the context. The book is bursting with colourful, comic book characters – Norman ‘White Night’ Power, the super-hero; Jack Corrigan, private eye; Doctor Nemesis, the super-villain; the Adventure Kids… - every one of whom is afforded a subtle layer of depth that their hackneyed exteriors would seem to contradict.
Furthermore, as I’ve already intimated,
Lyons’ handling of the regulars is sublime.
Most notably, he allows Ace a rare moment
of weakness as she pours her heart out to
Benny, only to have Benny go running to the
Doctor betraying her confidence! There are
most definitely troubled waters ahead for our
Finally, the eventual showdown between the Doctor and this new ‘Master’ of the Land – a teenage boy - is not to be missed, save for the painful “real McCoy” gag. As someone has altered time to prevent the destruction of the Land of Fiction, Lyons sews the seed in the mind of the reader that it might be this new ‘Master’ who has been behind everything since Blood Heat, really cranking up the tension.
Taking everything into account, I really can’t think of a bad word to say about Conundrum. It is quite simply one of the best Doctor Who novels that I’ve ever read, and as such comes highly recommended indeed.
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.
This novel suggests that the Land of Fiction was created by the Gods of Ragnarok, who appeared in The Greatest Show in the Galaxy on television.
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