By Stella Duffy
BBC Books, eBook out now
The Doctor takes Jamie and Zoe to the Musaeum of Alexandria and discovers that some of the exhibits are rather compelling…
Stella Duffy’s tale for the last of the monochrome TARDIS teams is a pleasant historical story set in AD 60 or so, as the visitors to Alexandria look for inspiration at the Musaeum. Duffy gets the characterisation right for the trio – particularly Zoe, who isn’t always well-served by writers – and neatly sidesteps an issue regarding the Doctor’s biology (although she does seem to have forgotten that the Doctor invited Jamie on board the TARDIS on condition that he taught the Time Lord how to play the bagpipes!).
Knowing the location, the title may make instant sense to classical scholars but for the rest of us, its importance becomes apparent as the Doctor realises that they are present at the time when one of the great engineering minds was in residence at the Musaeum. There’s a gruesome note to the story which may remind you of some of Steven Moffat’s contributions to the revived series, and it’s a shame that the third act feels so rushed, as there is much to enjoy in Duffy’s tale, and it could have benefitted from as equally laid-back an approach as the scenes in the market at the start.
Verdict: A vivid, if occasionally rushed, recreation of a far-off era. 7/10