THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE BIG
OFFICIAL TELOS DELUXE
HARDBACK (ISBN 1-903
889-29-4) RELEASED IN
The American Civil
War... a time of great
unrest, when fathers
found themselves in
conflict with their
own sons and when
slavery was rife.
The Doctor AND his
companions, Peri and
Erimem, arrive in the
middle of the conflict.
The Doctor manages
to cope in his own
but Peri AND ERIMEM
find themselves faced
with The bigotry and
hatred that typified
the war for some.
Blood and Hope
The penultimate Telos novella, Blood and Hope, saw the range take a valiant side-step into the world of the Big Finish audio dramas; into that increasingly unlikely chasm bet-ween the fifth Doctor’s final brace of television stories.
A purely historical adventure, Iain McClaughlin’s tale is told through a very effective hotch-potch of statutory extracts; quotations from speeches; contemporaneous correspondence; and even transcripts of Peri’s – and later in the novella, Erimem’s – voice recordings. This unusual format affords Blood and Hope a sense of immediacy and legitimacy that set it apart from most historical adventures - the author speaks of great, sweeping events in one breath and then very personal ones in the next, presenting the reader with a very relatable, snapshot view of the American Civil War that our heroes find themselves trapped within.
And needless to say, the man that created Erimem (for what was intended to be just the one outing, I understand) writes for her magnificently, the printed word offering us an insight into the character that her audio adventures never could. Peri’s observations about her “public” facade are especially enlightening - it seems that there is a world of difference between the image that the erstwhile Pharaoh projects, and what is actually going on behind her dark eyes.
However, to my great surprise, Blood and Hope is principally
a Peri story – and a bold and brilliant one at that. One could be
forgiven for thinking that McClaughlin had conceived Peri too,
given just how naturally her words seem to flow from his pen.
Granted, they’re awful, teenage, cod-American words with ‘z’s
where ‘s’s should be and all the rest of the typical angst-strewn
trimmings, but they’re palpably Peri’s. Nevertheless, the real
triumph of Blood and Hope is not how well Peri is written but
just how far McClaughlin pushes her; what the sickening events
around her drive her to do, and how she copes afterwards (or
doesn’t, as the case may be). The final third of this novella is
shocking and stirring in equal measure.
For his part, Peter Davison’s Doctor features little, although when he does he’s on top form. McClaughlin captures Davison’s dialogue and mannerisms flawlessly, as well as the mantle of fatherly concern that he adopts in the contiguous audio dramas. I particularly enjoyed the scenes towards the end of the novella, which see him step outside of his comfort zone and attempt to deal with the consequences of what Peri did in the barn.
And so whilst its climax is guaran-damn-teed to rile those who rage against the unlikelihood of so many momentous adventures talking place within the narrowest of windows, for those of a more laissez-faire mindset Blood and Hope is a tremendous treat. Positively dripping with historical detail, this stimulating character piece is one that I recommend heartily.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2010
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 novella offers scant few clues as to when it is set with reference to the surrounding audio dramas, save for that Erimem is only 17 years old here; her hair is “growing”; and Peri now considers her to be a very close friend. With this in mind, this story has been placed between the Big Finish audio dramas Nekromanteia and The Axis of Insanity, simply because it was released in between these two titles and seems to fit well within the gap.
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