BBC Books, out now
In a small village in 19th Century Germany, the Doctor discovers his old foes are set to revive and cause chaos.
The BBC Books original novels have taken a short break over recent months, but judging by the standard of this and Nick Briggs’ Dalek Generation (reviewed here), the time has been well-spent ensuring that their return is of a high quality. Justin Richards has always been one of the most reliable contributors to the various ranges – stretching back to his time on the New and Missing Adventures in the early 1990s – and he provides another strong tale here.
There are homages to Frankenstein – both its original literary and its cinematic variants – as well as all sorts of Hammer horror tropes. Richards skilfully links elements of Cyber-history as far apart as The Tomb of the Cybermen and Closing Time, with more than a hint of Planet of the Daleks and Torchwood: Children of Earth thrown into the mix as well.
His take on the Eleventh Doctor has the mercurial qualities of Matt Smith’s performance, coupled with the occasional self-doubts that the Time Lord experiences when he’s not travelling with a regular companion, and in Olga, Richards gives us a rounded character who provides some new perspectives on the Doctor.
Verdict: It’s a shame we’ll never see some of the book’s imagery realised on screen (this would have made a great graphic novel!) making for another taut adventure. 8/10