(ISBN 0-563-48607-4)







 The fuse has NOW been

 lit. Reality has been

 blown apart, and the

 barriers that shield

 our universe from the

 endless others THAT

 run parallel have

 shattered with it.


 The only chance the

 Doctor has of saving

 the multiverse from

 total collapse is if

 he can get back to 

 where the damage

 was first done and

 put things right.

 With time running out,

 the Doctor finally


 why 'our' universe is

 unique. In proving it,

 he nearly destroys

 the TARDIS and all

 aboard, and becomes

 involved with the

 machinations of the

 mysterious Timeless

 organisation. They

 can fix your wildest

 dreams, get away

 with murder and

 bring a whole new

 meaning to the idea

 of victimless crime.

 Soon, Fitz is married,

 Anji's become a mum,

 and a man is marked

 for the most CRUCIAL

 death in the HISTORY

 OF THE universe.


 The reasons why

 force the Doctor

 into a showdown

 with an old, old

 enemy, in a killing

 ground spawned

 before time and

 space began.


 PREVIOUS                                                                                  NEXT












Timeless saw prolific range contributor and former editor Stephen Cole tasked

with bringing another chapter in the eighth Doctor’s long life to a resounding close. Having already erased the Time Lords from history and rendered the Doctor amnesiac, this novel sees Cole finally bring “the Blessed Destroyer” face to face with his absent past; reveal the details of Sabbath’s double-dealing master plan; allow Anji to return home to London; and introduce one of my favourite companions, vivacious conwoman Beatrice “Trix” McMillan. With such an extensive shopping list of ingredients, this book could quite easily have gone badly awry, but I’m pleased to report that it’s actually staggeringly impressive.


The core idea of transdimensional murder and victimless crime is a most appealing one, particularly when it is fleshed out with the imagination and scope that it is here. However, I think what makes Timeless more engaging than the arc of stories that it builds upon is its accessibility. Its ‘story so far’ prologue sets out the stall for the whole tale, taking astounding concepts that had been floating about since Time Zero (and some that had lingered for far longer) and presenting them in a clear and digestible manner that Terrance Dicks would be proud of. Better still, the story that Cole tells is, at its core, one about people. The big, mind-blowing scientific staples are all there, bubbling away in the background, but the nuts and bolts of the tale are propelled by convincing characters.


I’m particularly fond of Guy – Cole’s everyman that events seem to revolve around. A largely unremarkable, but nonetheless rather likeable, civil servant, Guy’s job in the Department of Environmental Food and Rural Affairs unwittingly places him right at the centre of a scheme to dispose of cadavers at sea, upon which the whole narrative hangs. I love how Cole takes so extraordinary a concept as multiversal murder and introduces us to it in the most routine manner conceivable – a helpful employee stumbling across a paper trail when he’s tidying his line manager’s desk. For me, that’s the charm of Timeless in microcosm – the mundane leading to the mad.


Cole’s more sinister characters are equally compelling. We have Chloe , an eerie Elemental child who has not only escaped the fate of her people and planet, but retained a wonderfully mythologised memory of it as well as a book that sets out how history should play out; her time sensitive dog, Jamais, who’s capable of sucking the soul right of you; and Mike, Guy’s detestable David Brent-esque boss who’s taken a few bungs and is now in over his head.


What really lends Timeless its weight though is what Cole does with the regular troupe of characters, amongst whom I think it’s only fair to count Sabbath. Sabbath’s appearance in this novel is probably his most imposing outside The Adventuress of Henrietta Street and Camera Obscura. On the one hand, Cole excels at conveying his florid archness, littering

his dialogue with phrases such as “till Kingdom come” and gifting him some scintillating set pieces. But then on the other, he pulls back the veil a little, revealing the scale of Sabbath’s plans and the level of deviousness behind them. Sabbath isn’t Time’s Champion – he’s just Humanity’s. And it doesn’t matter how many alien paymasters he deigns to do the dirty work of, ultimately he’s only looking to further his own agenda – an agenda that will see mankind become the new Lords of Time.



But as Cole lifts the veil on the Doctor’s

rival, he lifts it on the amnesiac Time

Lord too, as the realisation of what he

did to his people finally crystallises. The scene in which the Doctor realises that he is “the Blessed Destroyer” of whom Chloe speaks is one that was worth waiting almost thirty novels for, and the effect that this has on his behaviour is even more terrifying. Torture. Kicking men when they’re down. Many readers have criticised the Doctor’s horrendous, uncharacteristic behaviour in this story, but I feel that they’re missing the point.


And even with all this going on, Cole doesn’t neglect the companions. Trix seems to appear out of nowhere; a Hustle regular a year or so ahead of her time. She’s naughty, nimble and exceedingly able, and even though she spends half of this book with her face under a rubber mask she still has an allure that even the Doctor’s most glamorous assistants on television couldn’t hope to match. This being the case, who better to pair her with on her first mission than poor old player Fitz Kreiner, who finds himself charged with the torturous job of having to pose as her husband – all the grief but with none of the perks. Their passages together are an absolutely joy to read.


Timeless also spells the end for Anji Kapoor’s travels in time and space, and although her departure isnt dealt with in a manner that I feel rings particularly true – getting lumbered with a Dave-like loser such as Guy would have been more plausible in my view – it does at least assuage some of the criticisms that were often levelled at her outwardly selfish character.


For me then, Timeless is Stephen Cole’s greatest solo effort to date, if not his greatest effort full stop. It’s presented in such a straightforward manner that it manages to make sense of everything that’s gone on since Time Zero, whilst bringing a number of journeys to a suitably dazzling end. Personal and epic in the same breath, Timeless is a real diamond.


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.

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