Doctor Who: The Stones Of Blood (Target Collection) by David Fisher (book review).

The Doctor and Romana are seeking the Key to Time and they arrive on planet Earth. What happens to them makes the rest of the universe look tame. These are the Stones of Blood and they are hungry.

I recently visited The Stones Of Blood. At the time I didn’t know that the Calenish Stones on the Isle of Lewis inspired the writer, David Fisher, with their bleakness and mystery within a beautiful and remote landscape. If only I could claim that visit against expenses. These stimulating visits led to a fascination with other stone circles and eventually became part of the ‘Doctor Who’ series itself. Maybe it even inspired it’s viewers to delve into history thereby completing the circle. The original Target novel was written by Terrance Dicks but for this fleshed-out version, originally produced for an audio book release they went back to the series writer. David Fisher was re-engaged fill in the backstory and the result is a much longer book. This release has a new introduction by David’s son, Nick.

Romana is a Time Lord, travelling with the Doctor there to assist with finding the Key to Time and be mostly exasperated by the Doctor’s playful behaviour. Exiting the TARDIS, wearing entirely unsuitable heels, we just know that something will befall her. K9 is the other unflappable companion, the computer on wheels who is quite the know-it-all. They arrive at a strange stone circle in England and meet the inevitable eccentric professor and her assistant, who is more than meets the eye. The stage is set for a gothic mystery but even that becomes even more odd when it becomes obvious there is something extra-terrestrial at work.

What follows is a very strange tale which is quite lurid and dark, entirely unsuitable for a family show! Luckily, there are aliens involved to make sure we don’t take any of it seriously. There is death, destruction and the dark arts so it’s got a lot going for it. The Key to Time is fairly incidental and the Doctor dodges death with his trademark moves and wit. Even this longer edition is less than two hundred pages, which makes it a comfortable read for the intended age group.

Sue Davies

February 2023

(pub: BBC Books/Penguin, 2022. 208 page paperback. Price: £ 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78594-794-0)

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