THIS NOVEL TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
NOVELLA "I AM A
DALEK" AND THE NOVEL
"THE STONE ROSE."
OFFICIAL BBC HARDBACK
RELEASED IN MAY 2006.
STARFALL - a world
on the edge, where
crooks and smugglers
hide in the gloomy
shadows and modern
to work. And that
includes the TARDIS.
The pioneers who
used to be drawn by
the hope of making
a fortune from the
mines can find easier
picking elsewhere. But
they still come for
the romance of it, or
in the hope of finding
the lost treasure of
Hamlek Glint, scourge
of the spaceways,
Will the TARDIS ever
work again? Is GLINT'S
lost treasure waiting
to be found?
And does the fabled
Resurrection Casket –
the key to eternal life
– really exist?
With the help of new
friends, and facing
DEADLY NEW enemies,
the Doctor and Rose
aim to find out...
“Monsters hiding behind the sofa. You see it all in this life.”
Justin Richards has certainly come a long way since Theatre of War. Too far, some might say, given the rate that he bombards us with new novels these days. But after his below par effort starring the ninth Doctor, The Resurrection Casket marks an almighty return to form
for Doctor Who Books’ Creative Director. Not only is The Resurrection Casket the pick of the first batch of tenth Doctor novels, it is probably one of Richards’ personal best to date..
First and foremost, it’s a fascinating tale, beautifully told; an old-fashioned swashbuckling slice of Doctor Who about pirates and treasure set in outer space. There’s none of your Argonite Pirates versus Space Corps or Calufrax-munching pirate planets here though, mind. The Resurrection Casket is one of those rare novels where the setting and the characters come together perfectly in a narrative that has you hooked from its first page (well, seventh, if we’re going to be pedantic) right the way through to its last.
One of the most impressive aspects of
this novel is its unique setting. Despite
the glut of Doctor Who novels that he has
under his belt, Richards’ imagination is
still firing on all cylinders. The TARDIS
materialises in the Zeg, a region of space
where any form of electrical circuit refuses
to work. Aside from effectively marooning
the Doctor and Rose on the planet Star-
fall, this means that the inhabitants of that world use the only technology they can that will work – steam. Immediately, conventional science fiction imagery goes out of the window to
be replaced by glorious images of steam-driven spaceships and robots - this story really would have been breathtaking on television! Furthermore, this steampunk technology lends itself wonderfully to Richards’ subject matter - I can’t quite put my finger on why, but it seems essentially more ‘piratey’ than, for intsance, Milo Clancy’s techno-pirates did back in 1969.
As for the characters, Richards has come up with one of his most interesting bunches yet. We have Silver Sally – an apparently human girl who has had more than half her body repla-ced by steam-powered robotic parts; Jimm, the young lad who wants to grow up and be a spaceman; his Uncle Bobb, who despite an unhealthy obsession with the legendary space pirate Hamlek Glint, would go to any lengths to prevent his nephew taking up a life in space; McCavity, the rich, ruthless madman who still hears his dead wife speaking to him; and, best of all, we have Kevin.
Kevin is unreservedly brilliant; one of those characters that you could only ever find in Doctor Who. He’s a monster; a beast forced to serve as a ”black shadow killer”, when all he wants to do is catch up on his reading and tackle the latest crossword! His sympathetic relations-hip with the Doctor and Rose is wonderfully written, and despite the humour intrinsic to such a character, it can be absolutely terrifying when suddenly, out of the blue, he is summoned to kill one of the good guys.
And, as has been the case with all these new tie-in novels, the writer handles the regulars superbly, even plagiarising snippets of dialogue here and there from television to lend the piece a truly authentic feel – “You’re a fighting hand, you are...” etc. Rose is represented particularly well, especially in her dealings with Silver Sally where Richards explores the guilty awkwardness that she feels because of Sally’s evident disability.
All told then, The Resurrection Casket is an engrossing novel that I would recommend giving the once-over. It’s nothing groundbreaking though, and if you don’t happen to pick up a copy then you’re not going to miss out on a crucial chapter of the Doctor and Rose’s adventures in time and space… but you will miss out on a bloody enjoyable one.
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.
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