THIS STORY TAKES
place BETWEEN THE
STORY "THE MARK OF
PAPERBACK (ISBN 0-426
-20498-0) RELEASED IN
on Dramos, Twenty
million are at each
other’s throats, the
lid barely held on by
the Church of
power. And we all
know what absolute
After struggling to even finish “Sky Pirates!” and then thoroughly enjoying “Death and Diplomacy”, I went into reading “Burning Heart” with mixed expectations. Regrettably Dave Stone’s first (and last) Missing Adventure is once again an excruciatingly dull and torrid affair, the dynamism of “Death and Diplomacy” now little more than a long-distant memory.
First off, the plot of “Burning Heart” is calamitous. It is the thirty-second century and the Adjudicators have gone bad… again. The ‘Joods’ run Dramos as a mob would, rather than how guardians of peace and justice should. They treat all aliens as an underclass, and the humans not that much better. And, just to round it all off, their leader is convinced that God is about to show up. Of course it is not God, it is one of these vaguely extra-dimensional
beings that twists and warps the universe and generally drives everyone mad. Especially the
Now not only does it feel a bit off beam to have an Adjudicator story without Chris or Roz,
but to have a sixth Doctor story that is so unmistakably trying to be set in the world of Judge Dredd (albeit with a name change or two) is pushing the envelope just that little bit too far for me. I could find little within “Burning Heart” that reminded me of any Colin Baker / Nicola Bryant television serial.
And as for the Doctor, whilst Stone does take him down some remarkable avenues, such
as literally kicking ass - “come on then if you think you’re hard enough” – and also reflecting on his present incarnation’s innate, belligerent nature, for the most part the Doctor is out of the way as the story unfolds around Peri. It is a crying shame really, especially as the Doctor is just about the only element in this novel that works.
There were one or two bits that I did like though. The way in which Stone describes Peri’s arrival in the thirty-second century, for example, is absolutely stunning. I do not think that any Doctor Who writer has every really stressed the alienness of distant planets in the far future anywhere near enough; at least, not until now. Unfortunately though, things go downhill from there for Peri as before long she is touting firearms and running around with a suspiciously familiar chap named ‘Kane’.
And so all told, I feel that “Burning Heart” is a flop that potentially scrapes depths that even “Sky Pirates!” did not reach. Even Stone’s indelible, unique prose seems to lack the shine that it once had – a reflection perhaps not on the author, but on the somnolent reader, who after three novels full of fanciful turns of phrase and little in the way of substance needs something more meaty to get his teeth into.
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 novel’s blurb places it between the television stories Vengeance on Varos and The Mark of the Rani. As the text itself offers no clues to assist in a more precise placement, we have placed it after both Grave Matter and Shell Shock which are set during the gap but have greater propinquity to Vengeance on Varos.
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