If you only buy one Doctor Who novel . . . Absolutely essential reading for fans of Roger Delgado’s Master and Ian and Barbara. In each case, McIntee manages to expand the character considerably while remaining true to the performance set by the original actor. The Master in particular is a real joy – the next best thing to a lost TV story – and in a speech on honesty, in which he defends his ‘principles’, McIntee nails the ambiguous appeal of the character as Delgado played him: that for all his evil there was a perverse sense of decency about the man.
The Doctor (without the Doctor) … This is a Third Doctor and Jo story, which pretty much doesn’t have the Third Doctor and Jo in it! Apart from a brief appearance at the very beginning and the very end, they are absent as the Doctor tries to get the Tardis working – but without them, the Brigadier finds himself relying on the expertise and assistance of some of the Doctor’s oldest friends – Ian and Barbara return – some years after they left the First Doctor, and married and settled back on Earth, they are asked by UNIT to assist in some weird matters. I found the characterisations of these old companions good, and I always like the Brigadier – Benton is there, as is Yates, and several other familiar (to Doctor Who fans) faces. So it’s all good from that perspective. I did find all the “tough guy underworld London baddy” scene a bit over the top; but maybe that’s just me.A good story; one well in keeping with the time in which it is set, and the characters who people it; a bit of a shame there’s not more of the Doctor in it, but that’s a small quibble for what is a good story in the Doctor Who range of novels. I guess you could call this one an early “Companion Chronicle”.
One of the best The Master, UNIT, Ian & Barbara. Concurrent with The Curse of Peladon.Despite the Doctor being almost completely absent from this book it turned out to be the best so far in the BBC range. Wanting a scientific opinion on a downed aircraft, missing for a week before its crash, the Brigadier calls on the services of Ian Chesterton accompanied by his wife Barbara. UNIT are about as faithful to the series as it’s possible to be, as are all the rest of the cast. It’ unlikely that I’ll ever reread any of the books from either the Virgin or the BBC range but if I had to pick one it just might be The Face of the Enemy.
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