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The very model of a major Doctor Who novel

Players - Terrance Dicks

When his companion Peri demands elegance for their next destination, the Doctor sets the coordinates for London in 1900 to enjoy the season there. Instead the TARDIS arrives in South Africa, just in time to witness a Boer ambush of a train containing British soldiers accompanied by a young war correspondent named Winston Churchill whose life the Doctor saves after he is nearly assassinated by a mysterious man with a rifle. Captured along with Churchill by the Boers, the Doctor and Peri soon discover a second unknown individual, this one working to aid in Churchill's escape. Realizing that there are people involved whom he encountered when he met Churchill during his second incarnation, the Doctor travels to London in 1936 to get to the bottom of the mystery, one that soon involves stopping a plot that threatens the course of all of human history!

 

I must confess that I approached this novel with a degree of ambivalence, given that the Sixth Doctor is by far my least favorite version of the character and a storyline involving Winston Churchill was one primed to fail. This was a mistake on my part, as I should have taken into consideration that the author was Terrance Dicks, arguably the most prolific writer of Doctor Who media in the history of the franchise. In his experienced hands what could have been a name-checking adventure involving an off-putting central character is instead a rollicking adventure spanning across four decades of one of the most adventurous lives in human history. In this it represents everything that a first-rate Doctor Who novel should be, and one that other authors in the franchise should turn to when dealing with some of the more awkward elements in the long-running series.