Saturday, 15 October 2016

Doctor Who: The Drosten's Curse

A.L. Kennedy
BBC Books

From award-winning author A.L. Kennedy, an original Doctor Who novel featuring the beloved Fourth Doctor, as played by Tom Baker.
“I shall make you the jewel at the heart of the universe.”
Something distinctly odd is going on in Arbroath. It could be to do with golfers being dragged down into the bunkers at the Fetch Brothers’ Golf Spa Hotel, never to be seen again. It might be related to the strange twin grandchildren of the equally strange Mrs Fetch--owner of the hotel and fascinated with octopuses. It could be the fact that people in the surrounding area suddenly know what others are thinking, without anyone saying a word.

After a week of reading about old ghosts I thought it was time to head off into the great elsewhere for a change and so I grabbed this Who book off the shelf and dug in only to discover that it was set on a golf course in Arbroath which isn't quite as 'else' as the 'where' I was looking for but it'll do.

Kennedy here takes a solo 4th Doctor on an adventure filled with psychic shenanigans and running,  lots of running.  In Kennedy's hands 4 is all teeth and ego alternately charming and conceited, entirely certain of his own magnificence but at the same time entirely cognisant of the potentially catastrophic results of his actions.

The story is a fairly straightforward creature feature but the core cast and their interactions are the joy here between 4, Bryony, a bright but bored and underachieving Earth girl and Putta, a clumsy, depressed, love-struck alien.  There are a couple of lovely relationships developed and revealed over the course of the story - such as Bryony bonding with the TARDIS and especially that of the Bah-Sokhar (the problem at the heart of the tale) and the lovely old lady with the octopus obsession, Mrs Fetch - and in the end this is what the story is about, love and kindness being of far more value than hate and violence.

The book is possibly a tad too long and a little careful pruning could have made for a much tighter read as I thought much of the final section to be fairly superfluous, a tacked on action ending that felt out of place with the rest of the story.

On the whole though a really enjoyable read that made me chuckle more than a few times, smile often and generally enjoy being in it's company.  What more could you ask.

Buy it here -  Doctor Who: The Drosten's Curse (Dr Who)

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