(ISBN 0-563-40596-1)







 The Doctor is on the

 run from a faceless

 enemy that knows his

 every thought and

 move. He flees to his

 past, planning to

 leave Ace in safe

 hands in order to

 fight on alone.


 his enemy has other

 plans, HOWEVER, and

 the Doctor's history

 no longer exists.



 drawn to London in

 the winter of 1888,

 where the Doctor and

 Ace discover a dark

 secret from THE TIME

 LORDS' past, and the

 name of their unseen



 IT IS Jack the Ripper.


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Mike Tucker and Robert Perry have their names the wrong way around on front cover of this novel - something that is, I feel, indicative of the whole tone of their story.


Matrix is, essentially, a six-part seventh Doctor television story (in print) that is potentially darker than any other work published under the auspices of Doctor Who. Everything about

it is either off-kilter or downright upside-down; it even sees the ultimate hero become the ultimate villain. Indeed, Matrix is just plain wrong… but thankfully it is ‘wrong’ in the most brilliant of ways.


For instance, Tucker and Perry’s story sees the Doctor’s perverse ‘Valeyard’ persona (from The Trial of a Time Lord), revealed here to be Jack the Ripper, try to kill Ace. In turn it sees Ace, overcome by her cheetah spirit (from Survival), slaughter an old woman. It even sees the future subverted – Ian and Barbara; even Totter’s Lane. The entire history of the Doctor, just gone.


And as the title of the book suggests, this audacious and macabre offering also explores a previously uncharted area of Time Lord lore – the Dark Matrix. Just as the Valeyard / Ripper is the amalgamation of the darker sides of the Doctor’s nature, the Dark Matrix is a fusion

of the darker sides of every matriculated Time Lord.  It’s certainly captivating material, well executed by the authors, but for me what really stands out about this novel are the enduring images that it leaves in the mind of the reader.


“A committer of genocide. The Destroyer of the Dalek race. The Ka Faraq Gatri.

Every one of you has had some potential for death and destruction. I am the power to unleash that potential!”


Haunting imagery like the thirteen evil wraiths, borne of the Doctor’s incarnations; the Ripper aspect of Doctor being pecked at by a flock of voracious birds; and even the satisfyingly monstrous comeuppance of Jacques Malacroix are what really give Matrix its fear factor.


However, any novel to tackle

such delicate subject matter

was always going to prove

contentious. No doubt there

are those out there who will

be absolutely appalled by the

authors’ examination of the

Doctor’s dark side, but there’s no getting around the fact that after The Trial of a Time Lord, it had to be examined head-on, and I’m very glad that it has been done as well as it has here. I particularly appreciate the authors not copping out of anything or pulling their punches; the final scene between the Doctor and the Valeyard / Ripper, for example, where the Doctor lets the Valeyard / Ripper plummet to his death, demonstrates that there is still that element of darkness within him, particularly in this incarnation, and that it is only his fear of what that darkness could turn him into that manages to keep it bay.


Braver than, bolder than, and every bit as grotesque as Illegal Alien, the latest instalment of Tucker and Perry’s season that never was is certainly not be missed.


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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