BooksDoctor Who

Time Lord Victorious: The Knight, The Fool And The Dead by Steve Cole (book review).

He is everything and everyone; he is ‘The Knight, The Fool And The Dead’.

He’s empty inside. He thinks he’s all powerful but something is missing. He made too many decisions without reference to humanity. He misses his companions. He misses being needed and being guided.

He has travelled to the Dark Times, billions of years into the past of the universe. There are no Time Lords, no history and, in this time of gods, death is rare and mostly unplanned. The TARDIS takes him to Andalia, where beings have lived, baring accident, for upwards of 30,000 years. In his wake comes a grim reaping, end times, where even a Time Lord is powerless. The Kotturuh offer judgement and only death. They manipulate evolution and mould a planet to their liking for future use.

In line with just how epic Ten is feeling, this story encompasses the fate of the universe. It also brings it right down to the personal with the character of Estinee, who has lost everything. It gives Ten someone to relate to whilst contemplating his own destiny.

Somehow the Doctor has to overcome his superiority complex and make a real difference in the universe but, by doing so, he could undo his own and his people’s future. The Tenth Doctor burns bright and fierce but it’s too intense to last and his is already heading to the fateful day of regeneration.

Steve Cole has much experience in crafting a ‘Doctor Who’ story and this adventure certainly packs in a couple of full episodes into the book. He captures expertly the voice and nature of the Doctor in this incarnation.

This book manages to achieve a lot in quite a short page count making it ideal for readers who can’t contemplate an overly heavy tome. It encourages quite speedy reading which is a lovely way to develop reading skills. You feel quite immersed in it due to the dialogue which, again brings the style of the Tenth Doctor to the fore.

There are internal dilemmas and memories shoved away. The character of the Tenth Doctor who has become the god-like Time Lord Victorious is wilfully heading towards self-destruction. Happily, there is also some light relief from an Ood called Brian who enters the story. The story is gripping and the conclusion and cliff hanger suitably shocking leading into the next book ‘All Flesh Is Grass’ by Una McCormack.

Sue Davies

October 2020

(pub: BBC Books/Ebury, 2020. 192 page hardback. Price: £ 9.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78594-632-5)

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