(ISBN 0-563-53846-5)







 In the far future, the

 city of Hope isn't a

 place for the weak.

 The air is thick with

 fog. The sea burns.

 Law and order are

 a thing of the past.

 Headless corpses

 are being found at

 the edge of the city,

 Members of a cult

 mutilate themselves

 while plotting their

 ENEMIES' deaths.

 Even the Doctor can't

 see any possibility of

 redemption for this

 cursed place. All he

 wants to do is leave,

 but to do so he needs

 the TARDIS - and the

 TARDIS is lost in the

 depths of a toxic sea.


 When the PLANET'S

 most powerful man

 offers to retrieve

 the TARDIS - for a

 price - the Doctor

 has no choice but

 to accept.

 But while the Doctor

 is hunting a killer,

 another offer is

 BEING made - one

 which could tear




 PREVIOUS                                                                                  NEXT












Mark Clapham’s Hope is a compact little novel that packs quite a punch. Having

co-authored the Bernice Summerfield novel Beige Planet Mars with Lance Parkin and the earlier eighth Doctor book The Taking of Planet 5 with Simon Boucher-Jones, Clapham’s first solo effort strips away all the abstruse accoutrements that turned some readers away from his collaborative works, leaving only a fast-paced techno-romp that examines its titular theme from a number of interesting viewpoints.


The story’s end of the universe setting is wonderfully captured by Black Sheep’s sleek cover art, which depicts three silhouettes emerging from a gleaming mauve metropolis. Clapham’s portrayal of the edge of infinity may be far shinier than Russell T Davies’ in the later episode Utopia, his hi-tech Endpointers occupying the opposing end of the evolutionary ladder to the savage Futurekind, yet both stories juxtapose desolation and despair with happiness and hope. Hope and Utopia each depict rages against the night on both personal and societal levels, and with similar success too.


Probably the most alluring aspect of Hope is Anji’s journey. Her first meeting with the Doctor resulted in the murder of her lover, Dave – something that she has never really been able to address, let alone come to terms with. Being whisked off by the Doctor in the TARDIS was hardly conducive to the grieving process, but even if she’d had the time to mourn Dave, she wouldn’t have even known where to begin, wracked as she was with guilt stemming from her diminishing interest in him. Here Anji is finally able to come to turns with her loss, albeit in the wackiest of ways. Silver, Hope’s enigmatic ruling monarch, offers Anji the chance to create a new Dave; a clone of the original. He would have all the physical traits and characteristics of her lost love, but without any of his memories. He would, essentially, be given a second stab at life. And all she’d have to do in return is give up the secrets of the TARDIS to Silver.


“People die, Anji. We can’t start reversing death at a whim. Some things are not for us to interfere with.”


Clapham does a magnificent job of getting the reader inside Anji’s tortured head; so much so, in fact, that when she does come to betray the Doctor it’s hard to condemn her actions outright, or even identify with the Doctor’s harsh rebuke. Silver’s manipulation of Anji is so expert that she didn’t really have a choice at all; not when one considers who she is and all that she hopes and fears. In this respect, reading Hope again put me very much in mind of Darth Sidious’ seduction of Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode III, albeit without the colossal consequences.


Of course, in Hope matters aren’t as straightforward as the darkness versus the light. Silver especially is as inscrutable an individual as you’re likely to find in a Doctor Who novel, his elusive motives and pitiable back story effectively bamboozling me for most of the narrative. In one moment he’s a rampaging liquid-metal Terminator; and in the next he’s a conniving politician. And, whilst he may look like Cable from X-Men and sound like Sharaz Jek from The Caves of Androzani, he is ultimately what keeps the pages of this one turning.


The nuts and bolts of

the grisly plot are far

less compelling than

its core enticement,

but to the author’s

credit he litters the

narrative with enough

veiled Cybermen

references to make

the reader feel as if

they’re reading some

illicit, far-flung Cybertale. Indeed, the story’s cult of logicians, the Brotherhood of the Silver Fist, are an interesting bunch that raise a lot more questions than are answered here, and whilst the rise of the Silverati is both derivative and predictable, it does work well within the context.


My only real complaints about Hope are relatively minor, but worthy of mention all the same. Firstly, I had a hard time accepting the fundamental convenience that Anji just happened to have been carrying one of Dave’s hairs about with her – surely there was a more credible way for Silver to sample Dave’s DNA? Secondly, I abhor the demystification of the events

of The Adventuress of Henrietta Street. One of the things that made Adventuress such a special book was the unique fashion in which the story was presented, and in confirming which of its inconsistent accounts were accurate and which were not, Clapham effectively – and needlessly, in my view - despoils it.


On the whole though, Hope is tight and thrilling tale that does a sterling job of exploring both its eponymous emotion and its opposite. Despite what this book may say on its cover, Hope is a story about despair, and what it can drive us to.


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.

Unless otherwise stated, all images on this site are copyrighted to the BBC and are used solely for promotional purposes.

Doctor Who is copyright © by the BBC. No copyright infringement is intended.