THIS STORY TAKES
STORIES IN THE 2009
STORYBOOK AND IN THE
SECOND HALF OF THE
COMIC STRIP ANTHOLOGY
"THE WIDOW'S CURSE",
AND THE NOVEL "THE
OFFICIAL BBC HARDBACK
RELEASED IN SEPTEMBER
CALCUTTA, 1947. the
city is rife with tales
of 'half-made men',
who roam the streets
at night and steal
With help from THE
Mahatma Gandhi, the
Doctor and Donna set
out to investigate
these rumours. what
is the truth behind
the 'half-made men'?
Why is Gandhi's role
in history under
threat? And has an
god of destruction
really come back to
wreak vengeance upon
Mark Morris’ second contribution to BBC Books’ range of Doctor Who tie-ins is
every bit as enjoyable as his last effort, if not more so. Just like Forever Autumn, Morris’
new novel, Ghosts of India is sated with all those classic rudiments that usually make for a cracking Doctor Who story, but what really sets it apart from its forerunner is its handling of the Doctor. Besides telling a rip-roaring adventure, here Morris reflects brilliantly on some
of the fundamental tenets of the Doctor’s character – how? By contrasting him to Gandhi!
“Oh, he’s far more forgiving then I’ll ever be.”
Although the Doctor regularly bumps into historical icons, rarely do they leave such a mark on him as the legendary Mohandas ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi does here. In this novel, through his dealings with Gandhi, the Doctor is forced to brutally evaluate the manner in which he lives his lives and, more specifically, the lengths that he is willing to go to in the interests of justice. Morris depicts the gulf – and the parity – between these two great men consummately as the reader witnesses the universe’s ultimate pragmatist and the universe’s ultimate idealist join forces to save the world. To say that this is a novel that many will (sadly) dismiss out of hand as being just ‘young adult’ fiction, there are certainly some rather hefty philosophical issues explored.
Donna fares very well too in her first adventure in
print (although it is hard to be sure of ‘firsts’ when
three novels are released simultaneously!) She
really, really shines on the page, Morris nailing
Catherine Tate’s voice and her mannerisms - hell,
her whole damn character - exquisitely. Even the
plagiarised use of the old Unquiet Dead device at
the end is forgivable, given the poignancy of Donna’s reaction.
The story itself is also thoroughly transfixing. 1947 Calcutta feels as alien as any world that the Doctor might take Donna too, and what’s more Morris’ aliens – the Gelem Warriors – make for some delightfully creepy baddies. Not only are they frightening in the conventional sense, but they also work in that eerie Cyberman sort of way once the reader realises what they are made from. The Gelem Warriors’ Jal Paloor masters are rather remarkable too - Gopal and Darac-7 really kept me guessing all the way.
When all’s said and done, Ghosts of India is a great read for a Doctor Who fan of any age.
If nothing else, you’ve just got to respect a novel that begins with the Doctor taking his companion for a curry whilst wearing Ginger Spice’s infamous red plastic sun visor!
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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