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Athelstan: The Making of England
Tom Holland
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The limits of writerly ambition

Doctor Who: The Sands of Time: The Monster Collection Edition - Justin Richards

With Tegan rejoining the Doctor and Nyssa on their travels, the trio travel to the British Museum in 1896. No sooner does the TARDIS materialize in the Egyptian Room, however, then Nyssa is kidnapped. The Doctor and Tegan give chase, only to lose their quarry outside — whereupon they are met by a butler with an invitation to the unwrapping of a mummy. The arrive to find to their astonishment that Nyssa is underneath the bandages, having somehow been transported 4,000 years into the past for the nefarious goals of one of the most dangerous foes the Doctor has ever faced.

This is the second of Justin Richards's many Doctor Who novels that I have read, and in many was it reads like the previous one, Dreams of Empire, in that it starts with disparate threads that are then woven together over the course of the book. It's not a writing approach that I particularly enjoy, yet Richards pulls it off well and sticks the proverbial landing nicely. Yet I finished the book feeling as though the author was a little too ambitious in his approach. His book serves as a sequel of sorts to the Fourth Doctor serial Pyramids of Mars, which is regarded as one of the best of the original television series. It's admirable that Richards takes it on, and while his story measures up well I feel as though he doesn't quite pull off the degree of menace conveyed by Sutekh in Lewis Greifer and Robert Holmes's original story. Perhaps such a comparison is unfair, but it's one that Richards himself invites by taking on such an iconic tale and can't help but influence any judgment of the book.