THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
STORIES IN THE 2008
STORYBOOK AND THE
1ST HALF OF THE COMIC
STRIP ANTHOLOGY "THE
WIDOW'S CURSE", AND
THE NOVEL "STING OF
OFFICIAL BBC HARDBACK
RELEASED IN APRIL
The Castor, a vast
slowly in the void
of deep space.
Martha and the
Doctor explore the
drifting tomb, and
discover that they
may not be alone
Who survived the
disaster that over-
came the rest of the
crew? What continues
to power the vessel?
And why has wooded
in the middle of the
As the Doctor and
Martha TRAVERSE the
forest, they find a
by missing children
and tales of its own
After a poor showing last autumn, I’m pleased to say that Wooden Heart marks a return to form for BBC Books.
No offence to Justin Richards, Stephen Cole, or Jacqueline Rayner, but a small pool of writers, no matter how talented, cannot sustain a range like this one on their own. Just take
a look at the Virgin novels and the classic series BBC Books. Yes, several prolific authors returned time and again to contribute but – and it is an important but – their works were much farther apart, if not in terms of time than at least in terms of releases. It is now getting
to the point where I look at the name on the spine and sigh; same old, same old. Thankfully Mike Tucker was allowed to have a good go recently, and an inspired decision even saw
the legendary Terrance Dicks pen a Quick Read. And, whilst we have yet again got Cole and Rayner to contend with, this spring’s first author is none other than Martin Day, one of recent years’ more popular Doctor Who novelists.
Wooden Heart reads very much like a book aimed at a mature audience. Whilst I wouldn’t say that any of these new series adventures have been ‘dumbed down’ as such, at times it
is brutally evident that they are designed solely to tie-in with (or even cash-in on, if you’re feeling cynical) the new series and as such lack much of the backbone that the pre-2005 novels had. Thankfully though, the first thing that struck me about this novel is the quality of the writing; Day is not only a great storyteller but also a true wordsmith. His prose ebbs and flows with a beauty that can rarely be found in the children’s section of a bookshop.
And as for his story, Wooden Heart is
sort of The Girl in the Fireplace meets
Castrovalva meets The Matrix, if you
can imagine such an eclectic hybrid. I
don’t propose to go into the mechanics
of the plot in any great detail because
at heart, this novel is a mystery. In the
world of Doctor Who where things can get pretty formulaic, Wooden Heart is a rare example
of a novel that keeps you guessing all the way to the end.
With these tie-innovels, I normally read them in a few sittings over a few days. Wooden Heart, however, has the honour of being one of just a handful of Doctor Who novels that I have ever devoured in just one sitting. Just as I was approaching the halfway mark and my attention was flagging, Day hit me with this:
“…when we sleep, if we’re not dreaming…
It’s as if the universe blinks out of existence.”
Two-thirds of my degree was comprised of Philosophy modules, and so I’m a real sucker
for a bit of Descartes. I certainly didn’t pick up Wooden Heart expecting to find a story that explores Cartesian philosophy, but here the series’ all-embracing format once again proves its inherent malleability.
“Hey, Jude! Been wanting to say that for ages.”
On the downside, I wasn’t all that impressed with Day’s characters. He has both the Doctor and Martha pegged wonderfully, but with the odd exception – most notably the sharp-witted teenager, Jude – the supporting cast of characters failed to leave a mark on me.
On the whole though, I can’t fault a novel that has revitalised my interest in the current range. The days of continuity-heavy tomes chock-full of sex and violence may now be long behind us, sadly, but at least there’s hope for some slightly heavier tales…
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2007
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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