THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
NOVELS "TRAGEDY DAY"
AND "THEATRE OF WAR."
OFFICIAL VIRGIN 'NEW
RELEASED IN APRIL
The Doctor pursues a
CRIMINAL to Peladon:
a desolate world
home to a barbaric,
feudal society. Now
the Federation is
attempting to bring
civiliSation to the
But when relics are
blamed. The Doctor
suspects the Ice
but before long the
Time Lord himself is
arrested for the
crime and sentenced
The players are
making the final
moves in a devious
and lethal plan -
but for once it isn’t
Legacy stands out for a number of reasons. Not only is it Doctor Who Magazine editor Gary Russell’s first stab at a full-length Doctor Who story, but it is also Doctor Who’s first attempt at a literary epic. Russell doesn’t just tell a run-of-the-mill science fiction story here; his ambitious novel spans centuries, generations… even regenerations, serving as a concurrent prequel and sequel to The Curse of Peladon and The Monster of Peladon, not to mention half a dozen other serials that I could name. This being the case, Legacy is most certainly appropriately titled – but is it actually any good?
Well, save for its bringing back that bloody question-mark pullover, I think that it is. Russell’s distinctive prose easily held my attention over the 300 pages. The author recounts tales from the ancient history of Peladon as if they were real myths and legends, his passion for the two Peladon serials really shining through right from his reverent first chapter.
Russell also, quite fittingly, works into his opening what feels like the last ten minutes of a third Doctor and Jo story set on the planet Pakhar. We join their tale just as the Doctor saves the Pakhars from the evil Diadem, an artefact with the power to control minds. Following the Doctor’s benevolent interference, the Pakhars go on to become one of the most peaceful races in the universe - until the Diadem returns, which is where the seventh Doctor picks
up the tale…
The bulk of the novel features
the seventh Doctor and Benny
on Peladon. As a story, it’s very
much in line with Bryan Hayles’
two televised stories. Russell
gets rid of the problem of having to write for the difficult character of ‘New Ace’ by packing her off to Pakhar to follow a lead on the Diadem, where we hear little from her. Benny, on
the other hand, enjoys a sizeable chunk of the narrative and the book is all the stronger for
it. Her relationships with Nic Reece and particularly the Martian Ice Warriors are fascinating to read, though I do feel that Reece’s true identity is far too obvious from the moment that he is introduced. That said, it’s certainly evocative of The Monster of Peladon, and as such a defensible conceit. The Ice Lord Savaar, however, is more difficult to get a handle on, and where he stands is anybody’s guess until right at the end of the novel… even the Doctor’s!
For his part, the Doctor doesn’t seem to know what’s going on. Paul Cornell played the same angle in No Future and it worked wonderfully, but although it does still work here (it couldn’t not work with the hook of having the Doctor apparently beheaded!), it feels a bit soon after No Future to be recycling the same thought.
In contrast to the rest of the novel, the action-packed conclusion feels a little rushed but I enjoyed it all the same, especially the quasi-cliffhanger ending. I also like Russell’s idea of having Peladon withdraw from the Federation, King Tarrol deciding that his planet is finally strong enough to stand on its own two feet again. It feels like a natural extension of the two television stories, and a fitting end to what is now the Peladon trilogy.
Ultimately, if you’re a fan of the two televised Peladon stories then you are sure to love this novel. I never particularly liked either of them, yet I still found Legacy to be an extraordinary read. It certainly has its flaws and it may well be flooded with continuity, but on the whole, reading this epic slice of Doctor Who is an absolutely fantastic way to while away a few hours.
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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