Monday, 9 March 2015

Doctor Who: Other Dimensions - Engines of War

Last month we looked at the birth of the Cybermen in Spare Parts but now we turn to another great chapter in Doctor Who history that wasn't shown on TV - the Last Great Time War...

'No more.'

Ever since it was first mentioned in 2005, Doctor Who fans have been clamouring for a glimpse of the fabled Last Great Time War. We got something in 2010's 'The End of Time' and even more in 'The Day of the Doctor' when we met the War Doctor, a whole new incarnation of our hero. It was thought that was it for that massive period of the Doctor's life but then, to the surprise and excitement of many, George Mann's Engines of War came out - another adventure with the War Doctor! It had better be good...

Thankfully, Engines is a truly commendable achievement. I think every Doctor Who fan would simultaneously jump at and reel away from the chance to properly document such an oft-discussed but hardly seen piece of Who lore. In light of that, Mann does a remarkable job of weaving together most of the strands that we've heard about it alongside every fan's own idea of what it was like to create a very convincing realisation of the Time War. It may leave out some of the tantalising hints we've been told over the years - The Could-Have-Been King and his army of Meanwhiles, anyone? - but we see enough of the horror and the scale to totally believe in it. 

Yet there's much more to the novel than merely filling in a gap. It really is a unique piece with a feel very different from any other Who story. It certainly has a much bleaker outlook than most - the notion that everything and everyone is corruptible is a quite a prevalent idea here - yet hope still exists in the form of the leads. The War Doctor and Cinder make for a great partnership - both are jaded, battle-weary soldiers but they still believe there's something better out there than just the War. 

The War Doctor as a character is much like we saw on screen - a broken man but still with the Doctor's eccentricities and bravado peeking through - and it's easy to see and hear John Hurt while reading. His companion Cinder - who gets her name from her auburn hair as well as the fact that she was found in the ashes of her family home as a girl - is surely the most memorable one-off companion introduced in a novel. Actually, scratch that, she's probably one of the most memorable of any one-off companions. Thankfully, despite being very much involved in the conflict, she never feels like simply a boring hard-nosed soldier type but a believable person who has had a terrible life but still has a sense of humour and a strong heart - like all the best companions, really. 

Completely engaging and satisfying, if a story of the Time War needed to be told I am glad it was this one. Due to its unique angle and fascinating setting, it could even be the best Doctor Who novel out there. It is certainly the most significant. We can but hope that there is more of the War Doctor still to come but if his catchphrase turns out to prescribe his number of appearances at least there is Engines of War.

Before the Moment - Engines of War sees the War Doctor at an earlier point in his life.

1 comment:

  1. He has given over 300 lectures at national and international conferences, and published more than 20 scientific papers in international journals. Dr. Martin Devoto is one of the authors of the study guides of the American Academy of Ophthalmology for US residents.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...