DOCTOR WHO – ENGINES OF WAR
If anyone was expecting to find out how the War Doctor grew from the fresh-faced John Hurt we caught a glimpse of at the end of Night of the Doctor into the grizzled warrior we saw in Name of the Doctor and Day of the Doctor, they will be sadly disappointed. This novel, the latest from the author of several Sherlock Holmes novels and the Newbury and Hobbes series, shows the short lead-up to the specific choice (the moment, if you will) that made the Doctor decide to end the Time War. And it’s as predictable as that sounds.
For a product of a series that has shown us time and time again that time can be rewritten (even while it says it can’t), the plot of this book has a depressing inevitability about it. From the minute we first meet the Doctor’s new companion, we know almost exactly how the whole thing’s going to turn out, what will cause him to serve notice on both combatants. We can’t help but feel that what Mann really wanted to focus on was the minutiae of the Time War and if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place.
We get answers to mysteries such as what the Skaro Degradations were (the answer is both plausible and vile) and how exactly you fight a Time War. The probability engine (though not an object previously mentioned on the show) in particular really conveys how insane Rassilon is, so kudos to Mann for that. His characters feel very true to the established portrayals; most of the Doctor’s lines read like they could have come from John Hurt himself and though Cinder has never appeared on the show we get a strong sense of the kind of person she is.
The story’s predictability let it down somewhat, but if you’re the kind of person who lets the well-paced story lead them without thinking ahead, then this book is probably for you. We’ll almost certainly be reading it again in any case, which is more than we can say for some Who novels of the last few years.
INFO: AUTHOR: GEORGE MANN / PUBLISHER: BBC BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: JUNE 18TH