Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Doctor Who, the Glamour Chronicles Book 3 - Deep Time

'Forever is a long time,' said the Doctor. 'But for things like the Glamour, it is seldom long enough.'

I've gotten a little behind in my reading due to the play that I am assistant directing, but this book was well worth the extra time.  Trevor Baxendale provides a very satisfying conclusion to The Glamour Chronicles trilogy in Deep Time.  In this book, we finally learn the origin of the Glamour, what it is, where it comes from, and the lengths it will go to in order to survive.  This time around, the Doctor and Clara join an expedition in the far future, as a group of humans are set to venture into the last Phaeron road, each with their very own agenda (including the Doctor)!  There is adventure, there is humor, there is danger, there is sadness, and there is a mad rescue at the last possible moment - quite literally, a Doctor Who adventure through and through.

Baxendale doesn't disappoint in the least with this tale.  I've only read one other book by him, a Torchwood novel, and it was actually one of the better ones in that series.  So, it comes as no surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed his take on the Doctor.  Baxendale captures the essence of Peter Capaldi's Doctor - serious, yet playful, and a take-charge, somewhat grumpy guy who pretends to be oblivious to the human condition, all the while manipulating them with their very nature.  Clara, well - Clara is Clara.  As much as I don't liker her as a companion (and I am so glad they removed her from the equation in the television series), I give the author credit.  He nails her character pretty good in the story.  It felt pretty much like I was watching an episode as I read the book.

Sadly, there isn't enough time to really get to know the other characters, so there are some stereotypes at play.  There's the egotistical jerk with a personal agenda that could endanger them all.  There's the old-guy mechanic who's always talking about the old days.  There's the ship's captain who sacrifices himself and goes down with the ship.  There's the scientist who seems oblivious to all dangers when it comes to investigating new life forms.  And so on, and so on.  Perhaps it is the number of characters that prevents further character development, or just the length of the tale, but I think with more pages, Baxendale could have created some really interesting, fully dimensional characters.

The aliens - the Phaerons - are some rather intriguing life forms.  Baxendale teases the reader with glimpses here and there, never quite giving you the full satisfaction until the time is right for the big reveal.  We learn bit by bit as the expedition team is confronted by them, or as the Doctor deems fit to reveal facts about the creatures.  Are they good?  Are they bad?  Are they indifferent and unfeeling?  Are they the saviors or the ultimate destruction?  You never quite know until the climax, which keeps things interesting.  Would definitely love to see these characters brought to life on screen.

But none of that stops the book from being a great read.  And, as with the other two books in this trilogy, it is a stand alone story that does not necessarily need to be read with the other two in order to be understood or enjoyed.  Looking forward to more stories from this author, and hope that BBC gives him more to write in the future.


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