THIS STORY TAKES
"KINGDOM OF SILVER"
ROBERT PERRY &
OFFICIAL TELOS DELUXE
HARDBACK (ISBN 1-903
889-27-8) RELEASED IN
Escaping from one
battle and straight
into another, the
Doctor and Cat find
themselves on a far-
flung world where
time travellers are
persecuted by the
Holy Inquisition. The
Doctor is arrested,
his only hope of
escape being Cat.
But cAT has demons
of her own to face,
and as the Doctor
starts to realise
EXACTLY what is
happening, so time
rapidly starts to
slip away, both for
him and Cat.
On the face of it, Robert Perry and Mike Tucker didn’t seem like two likely candid-
ates to pen a Telos novella. The preceding twelve titles had either been written by esteemed authors new to the series, or by veterans like Jonathan Blum and Kate Orman whose work had often veered towards the avant-garde. Perry and Tucker, however, are renowned for their charming but nonetheless conventional works. They might well have killed Ace on one memorable occasion, but at the end of the day they brought her back…
To my surprise though, Companion Piece is far from being the traditional tie-in that ‘Perry Tucker’ is famous for. Indeed, it reads more like The Da Vinci Code than it does Storm Harvest, with just a touch of AI thrown in to boot. The plot itself concerns the machinations
of the Catholic Church on the planet Haven, eight centuries or so hence. Haven is a planet where the Pope is a Cetacean (a dolphin!), and it isn’t witches but Lords of Time that are burned at the stake…
Catherine or ‘Cat’, the new companion of the piece, is beautifully
portrayed; an attractive and engaging young woman, certainly spunky, but not bolshie like Ace. However, coming to this novella
more than six years after its first publication, I read this book well
aware of the twist that was to come concerning her origins. Even so, I enjoyed the ride. Whilst Cat’s story is outwardly very similar
to Antimony’s in Death Comes to Time (which I understand was
released first, but written later), personally I found her story far to
be far more rousing - her struggle to piece together the mystery
of her own memories really makes for an enthralling read.
What I found really extraordinary about this tale though is that,
despite the potentially deceptive title, the authors critique the
seventh Doctor’s character skilfully and succinctly here. The
loneliness that the Doctor feels at this point in his life, coupled with the guilt that feels over losing certain companions, is conveyed magnificently through Cat. What she is, and what she represents speaks volumes in itself.
Perhaps even more interestingly still, here the
authors tackle some really profound, divisive
questions such as “does each of a Time Lord’s
incarnations have an individual soul?”; the real
masterstroke being that such questions are
posed not around a coffee shop table or in an
internet forum, but as the Doctor is strapped to
a crucifix, his soul roving, whilst a religious mad-
man tries to tear the secret of regeneration from
Overall then, Companion Piece is a startlingly provocative release; one that is sure to sit well with fans of Sylvester McCoy’s seventh Doctor. It certainly did with me.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2010
E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
The Big Finish audio drama The Death Collectors marks the third story in a row that the Doctor is spurned
by a potential companion. It is therefore reasonable to speculate that, inspired by his encounter with Temeter and Sara in Kingdom of Silver, the seventh Doctor constructed Catherine to keep him company. Accordingly we have placed this novella (and indeed all the Doctor and Cat’s adventures together) between the Big Finish audio dramas Kingdom of Silver and Keepsake.
This theory is supported by the Doctor discussing his travels with Ace with retrospect, and his referring to “some” companions that died whilst travelling him (Roz in So Vile a Sin, and potentially Hex too in The Angel of Scutari). It also fits well with the apparent passage of time for the Doctor between Kingdom of Silver and Keepsake.
Thanks to Jason Robbins
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