BooksDoctor Who

Doctor Who: Warriors Gate and Beyond by Stephen Gallagher (book review).

‘Warriors Gate’, set in between our universe and E-Space starred the Fourth Doctor, Romana 2 and Adric. It was novelised by its author Stephen Gallagher in 1982. This is an expanded edition with two extra stories featuring Romana and the Doctor. ‘Warrior’s Gate’ sees the departure of Romana leaving the Doctor travelling with Adric. It’s an original and inventive story and, by the sound of it, was cut to the bone for the TV version.

The TARDIS is drawn into a void along with a slaver ship. Their slaves, the Tharils, have unique time travelling skills and are used to navigate spaceships against their will. The current navigator, Biroc, escapes the crew of the ship set out to find him, but the void is a special and dangerous place. Monsters await.

This is a tricky story attempting to engage all four occupants of the TARDIS and K-9 is the fourth member of the crew and doesn’t come out well from his encounter.

‘The Kairos Ring’, the first additional story, looks at what happened to Romana after she decides to stay in E-Space and her travels with the Tharil Lazlo. She learns to ride the time winds and they go in search of the Sluagh, a race of undead warriors. A young soldier caught up in the American Civil War encounters the Sluagh and is vital to finding out the truth about them. It’s atmospheric and, although fairly short, conjures up vivid pictures of the historical battle field. If there were budget enough and time it would make a wonderful episode on the TV.

‘The Little Book Of Fate’ features the Eighth Doctor as he follows the trail of a scream across time. This is even shorter but it’s punchy and brings us right up to the start of the Time War. It conjures up an evocative picture of times past with the description of a travelling show in England that takes ‘freaks’ around the country. It is, of course, so much more than that. Again, it’s skilfully done taking into account the history of ‘Doctor Who’ since the original episodes.

The novelisation of ‘Warriors Gate’ is very enjoyable but the two extra stories are a real bonus putting context into the world that Gallagher built. It feels like there are many adventures that we never saw and I hope some more might emerge in time.

Sue Davies

July 2023

(pub: Target/Penguin/Random House, 2023. 256 page paperback. Price; £ 9.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78594-851-0) 

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