THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
OFFICIAL BBC 'QUICK
RELEASED IN MARCH
The TARDIS brings the
Doctor and Martha
to Balmoral in 1902.
Here they meet Harry
Carruthers – friend
of the king, Edward
VII. Together they
head for the castle
to see the king – only
to find that Balmoral
Castle is gone.
With help from
Arthur Conan Doyle,
the Doctor and his
friends discover a
plot to take over
With time running out,
who will FALL VICTIM
TO THE REVENGE OF THE
Two years ago it was a Dalek, last year it was the Cybermen, and this year it is a platoon of Judoon. Whilst Doctor Who’s main range of full length tie-in novels seems to be doing its best to avoid monsters and villains that have recently appeared on television, BBC Books certainly know how to make their Quick Read titles more alluring for their intended readership by emblazoning the front covers with the images of familiar foes.
However, a child reading this book might have cause for compliant in that the eponymous Judoon barely feature in this story and worse, when they do finally appear their ‘revenge’
is not directed against the Doctor (as I am sure most people would infer from the title) but against Challoner and his band of ‘Cosmic Peacemakers’ – the true villains of the piece.
Nevertheless, the Judoon’s presence is felt even in their absence. Their trademark upside-down rain is present and correct, as is their proclivity for transp-
orting hospitals and castles etc. to remote locations.
A desert may lack the romance of the Moon, but it still
does the job admirably. It should also be noted that Terrance Dicks explores the Judoon
concept of honour in a little more depth than Russell T Davies did on television. Hardly an
in depth examination I’ll grant you, but considering his word count a nice touch nonetheless.
What really makes Revenge of the Judoon worth reading though is its human characters. Harry Carruthers is an affable sort of chap, serving as a sort of companion for Martha as
she goes off to London investigating the Cosmic Peacemakers. King Edward VII is better still; a real old smoothy, and refreshingly open-minded about the situation in which he finds himself. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle fares somewhat less well though, perhaps due to his role being extremely limited by the page count – sadly there is not really enough of him in this book to be able to compare Dicks’ characterisation of the famous Sherlock Holmes scribe to John Peel’s in the old Virgin novel, Evolution. I suppose something’s got to give when
you only have a hundred pages or so to tell your story in.
I also like how Dicks very subtly throws a few historical hooks into the mix too – all the King’s dialogue about “cousin Willy” is as educational for younger readers as it is entertaining, and the same applies to Doyle’s historical novel writing and consequent knighthood.
Finally, both the Doctor and Martha Jones leap off the page right at you. Dicks clearly writes for both characters with a lot of love, whether he is giving Martha the more exciting parts of the plot or dressing the Doctor up in a tweed suit (exactly the same cut as his other two suits,
you’ll note) and commenting on his ‘surprisingly good’ Scots’ accent!
And so although there is less to like about Revenge of the Judoon than there was about Dicks’ powerful contribution last year, Made of Steel, there’s still plenty here to keep either
a child or a shameless adult occupied for an hour or so.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2008
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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