01/01/2009. Contributed by Sue Davies
pub: Telos. 402 page paperback. Price: £ 8.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84583-999-4.
check out website: www.telos.co.uk
There is a convoluted history behind this book. Between the demise of Colin Baker's Doctor and Sylvester McCoy's regeneration there is an information gap. This novel is Craig Hinton's determined effort to fill in that gap and bring in his theories about some other characters in the Doctor's universe. Sadly, he died before he was able to complete the story and his friend Chris McKeon finished it.
The central character is John Benton. Previously a member of UNIT, standing alongside the Doctor, the Brigadier, Jo Grant and Sarah Jane Smith, he enjoyed a good career before leaving to become a car salesman. This novel picks up Benton on his seventieth birthday. Awaking early, he regrets the empty space in the bed where his wife once lay and ponders the day ahead. He's expecting visitors.
Already staying are Arlene Cole-Kairos and her better half, Paul, who is studying the UNIT memorabilia in the basement. Paul was created by Kronos and survived the catastrophic events which followed (these took place in the earlier Hinton novel, 'The Quantum Archangel'). However, Benton is mainly looking forward to the arrival of the Doctor.
The Sixth Doctor has been having a hard time of it. He has been arrogant and brash but now Mel is travelling with a more reflective individual. He is feeling his age and might not be in a mood to celebrate a birthday. The Doctor seems to be seeking his identity and moving on from the anger he felt on his regeneration.
One hundred years before in the same house, George McKenzie-Trench is trying to write a novel. But it is damned cold in the winter of 1908 and although he can envisage the huge plot, the only thing that he has so far is the title 'Time's Champion'.
Far in the future on a planet far way another George-McKenzie Trench looks out on a planet under attack and wonders if this is its last day.
On Gallifrey, the Keeper of the Matrix is following the Doctor's movements and wondering why there is a surge in energy from the same property exactly one hundred years before.
If you can get your head around all this and you are up to speed with the proceeding TV episode from the 1980s then you stand a chance of understanding the plot. It's a bit of everything. A bit like one of those books that tries to explain the universe in 300 pages. In places, it's gothic and in others, it's unfathomable. It will suit those readers that want to fill in gaps but no doubt will annoy others in equal parts. As an adventure story, it is rather over-blown and ludicrous in many places. It was rather a struggle to finish it. It won't affect the back-story of the Doctor but is an interesting addition to the endless items of memorabilia that will fill the vaults of the Doctor's fans.
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