(ISBN 0-426-20419-0)







 in the idyllic gardens

 of a country house,

 Ace KNOWS something

 terrible is bound to

 happen. SOON ACE AND

 IN A world in which

 the familiar is being

 twisted. A world

 ruled by the Quack,

 whose medicines are

 deadly poisons and

 whose aim is the

 total destruction

 of the Doctor...


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Strange England







As a fan of Doctor Who, I’m shamelessly biased towards it. Where an impartial reviewer might look at The Happiness Patrol and sees hammed-up, painted villains and liquorice allsort-inspired antagonists, I see cutting political satire and the stuff of nightmares. Similarly, when I’m reviewing the latest Virgin paperback, I’m not trying to carry out some high-brow literary critique – I’m just saying what I like about it as a fan, and, inevitably, what

I don’t.


But until now, I’ve never had to give a wholly bad review. Even in the worst Doctor Who stories, I usually have one flicker of interest; find one great idea or enthralling character; perhaps even one delectable twist. But I’m afraid that a line has to be drawn here. There

is nothing even remotely pleasurable about Strange England.


This is the first – and I pray the last Doctor Who novel that I’ve ever considered putting down. In fact, it was only pig-headed completism that forced me to dutifully plough through extraordinarily long chapter after extraordinarily long chapter, each chunk of prose taking

an eternity to digest as I desperately tried to stop myself from glancing absently around the room (a far more entertaining pastime than reading Strange England, I’m afraid).



Having only finished reading this book about ten minutes ago, the feeble plot and forgettable characters are already rapidly fading from memory. Yet another setting outside reality. Yet another Gallifreyan meddler to contend with. Yet another  “oh no Doctor, you can’t possibly do that” moment. It’s all been done to death recently, and frankly with much more finesse. And don’t even get me started on ‘The Quack’…  


Even the regular characters lack their usual sparkle. Of the lot, only the Doctor is portrayed with anything like accuracy, and even he is often degenerated to the juggling, winking jester of his first televised season. What were Virgin thinking when they commissioned this?


I hate having to give an entirely negative and unconstructive review, particularly as it’s a new writers work that I’m dissing, but when a novel stands out as being so flagrantly below par

as this one is, what else can you do? Even the most avid Who fans should be wary of this one.


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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