In The Beast of Fang Rock, writer Andy Frankham-Allen continues his portrayal of the life and times of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, following on from the TV story The Web of Fear. This is a long-overdue concept and one that resonates with many fans.
While the overall idea is interesting, the challenge is non-trivial in that we know events have to end with the UNIT stories of the third Doctor and beyond, so there are constraints on what can be achieved. There is also a lot of continuity to keep at least one eye on. In this regard, The Beast of Fang Rock tries to do more than it needs.
As the title should suggest, this story is wrapped around the events of the fourth Doctor story Horror of Fang Rock. Set on the same lighthouse, it starts with a story of ghostly recordings much in the style of Nigel Kneale’s Stone Tape. It then goes out of its way to bring in not only the Brigadier but also the returning character of Anne Travers. All of this careful plotting gets in the way of Andy’s natural storytelling, and once the elaborate setup is complete there is a decent, well-written story that ends well and opens up plenty of possibilities for future stories. Where it falls short is in not allowing very much for the Brigadier to do – Anne Travers rather steals the story and becomes the key character.
Overall a good tale, somewhat handicapped by its trappings. Worth a read, even if it doesn’t (yet) tell us much about what he Brigadier did between two key moments of the show’s history.
THE BEAST OF FANG ROCK / AUTHOR: ANDY FRANKHAM-ALLEN / PUBLISHER: CANDY JAR BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW