THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
FINISH AUDIO DRAMA
DAVID A. McINTEE
PAPERBACK (ISBN 0-426
-20460-3) RELEASED IN
The war between the
Rutans has been
raging for millennia.
Billions have died
and whole star
systems have been
obliterated in the
conflict. Now, finally,
one side may have
victory within its
Why is Raghi so
important to theSE
TWO feuding empires?
And how high a price
will the galaxy pay
if the conflict comes
to an end?
“Lords of the Storm” marks Virgin’s third attempt to release two linked novels in the same month. In July 1994, we were treated to both the fantastic New Adventure “Blood Harvest” and its almost equally impressive sequel, “Goth Opera”. Then just a couple of months ago, Steve Lyons’ “Head Games” and Craig Hinton’s “Millennial Rites” were released contemporaneously, each exploring the dark subject matter of just how close the sixth
Doctor came to actually becoming the Valeyard towards the end of his days, and just what part the seventh Doctor played in his predecessor’s untimely demise. This time around, Virgin treat us to us a much more light-hearted Sontaran double bill, but unfortunately it does not appear to be a case of third time lucky…
I read Terrance Dicks’ “Shakedown” before I read “Lords of the Storm” as I almost always read the New Adventure first. On the whole I thought it was an exciting and marvellously well-written story, especially considering its rather contrived format. Picking up “Lords of the Storm” for the first time, I assumed that I would be holding the better novel of the two. David A McIntee’s name on the cover; a Sontaran stood before an exotic, eastern palace; the unusual pairing of just the fifth Doctor and Turlough. Suffice it to say that I was really looking forward to this one.
But then I started reading it, and almost instantly I felt let down. McIntee admittedly wrote “Lords of the Storm” to be a good old-fashioned space opera, nothing more. And for the most part it is, and in fairness I did enjoy a lot of it. However, this type of story does not work half so well in print as it would have on screen - battles, explosions etc are simply better suited to the more visceral medium of television. When faced with 280 pages of almost pure action even the most conscientious reader is going to find his attention waning. A novel needs more to sustain itself.
That said, there are some fleeting moments of interest. The characterisation is excellent, McIntee’s fifth Doctor in particular being very well-defined. I really liked the “brave heart-” moments that really emphasised Tegan’s absence; there was never really any time for him
to react to her sudden departure on television. Always moving on.
McIntee also creates an intriguing civilisation on Raghi - it is always refreshing to see an author show us a planet that is not populated with the descendants of white English-speaking Christians. Even more interestingly, the caste system on Raghi mirrors that of the Sontarans. That is right, McIntee gives the old galactic stormtroopers a bit more depth. “Lords of the Storm” gives us a unique insight into Sontaran culture – most of their warriors are bred purely to obey and not ‘think outside the box’ whilst others, like Loxx, are bred to be officers. They have ambition and intellect, and that is what makes them all the more dangerous.
To a similar end, McIntee allows us to see into the thoughts of the Rutan host. There are some remarkable passages written from a Rutan point of view, the writer cleverly using the singular all the time to emphasise the gestalt that of course, Doctor Who fans knew nothing about until this month’s tandem releases.
“They’ve been fighting this war for longer than man has been walking upright,
and they don’t take prisoners.”
And so on the whole, this novel is well worth reading if only to gain a little more knowledge about the oft-mentioned but seldom-explored Sontaran / Rutan war, but be warned – this is not a great novel by any stretch of the imagination. It has much more in common with the tedious “White Darkness” than it does with the moving “Sanctuary”. If you want to be solidly entertained for two hundred and odd pages, then Terrance Dicks’ “Shakedown” is the way
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006
E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
This is the first of many stories that take place between Tegan’s departure at the end of Resurrection of the Daleks and Planet of Fire. However, the Doctor’s very first line in Planet of Fire is “Daleks! I sometimes think those mutated misfits will terrorise the universe for the rest of time”, perhaps suggesting that Planet of Fire follows Resurrection directly. However, Turlough’s follow up line “Doctor, you’re becoming obsessed” seems
to be a clear indication that this isn’t the first time that they’ve had this conversation since Resurrection.
We therefore posit that the Doctor and Turlough were, as people do, talking about what had been happening to them recently, when the Doctor went off on one (again) about his best enemies.
Another explanation would be that immediately prior to Planet of Fire, the Doctor and Turlough encountered the Daleks again in some unseen adventure, causing memories of Resurrection to come flooding back, Tegan and all.
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