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Book Review

Book Cover

Doctor Who
The Krillitane Storm


Author: Christopher Cooper
BBC Books
RRP: £6.99
ISBN: 978 1 84607 761 6
Available 03 September 2009

When the TARDIS materialises in medieval Worcester, the Doctor finds the city seemingly deserted. Its population are living in a state of terror, afraid to leave their homes after dark, for fear of meeting their doom at the hands of the legendary Devil’s Huntsman. For months, people have been disappearing, and the Sheriff has imposed a strict curfew across the city, his militia maintaining control over the superstitious populace with a firm hand, closing the city to outsiders. Is it fear of attack from beyond the city walls that drives him, or the threat closer to home - or does he have something to hide? After a terrifying encounter with a deadly Krillitane, the Doctor realises the city has good reason to be scared...

Of the three books in the current batch of Doctor Who hardback novels, this is the one I was looking forward to the least. This is because, compared with the returning foes the Autons and the Sontarans, the Krillitanes aren’t such an exciting prospect for me. They’ve appeared in the television series only once, in School Reunion, an episode in which the monsters of the week paled into insignificance compared with the return of Sarah Jane Smith and K-9. Besides, aliens that can mimic human beings are ten a penny in popular science fiction.

However, I find that The Krillitane Storm is actually my favourite book in this batch. Christopher Cooper makes interesting use of the Krillitanes, whose reasons for being in 12th-century Worcester are shrouded in mystery. The author treats the creatures in a decidedly Malcolm Hulke manner, as characters rather than just monsters, with several scenes conveyed from Krillitane points of view.

Equally enigmatic is the objective of Emily, a young woman who, like the Doctor, is not from these parts, and who becomes another of the Time Lord’s temporary companions.

Cooper’s narrative keeps you guessing and on your toes. In fact, if anything, it’s a little too full of ideas. With so many characters and so much going on, the medieval setting is often little more than window dressing. Indeed, certain aspects of the plot might have made more sense had the story been set on some Peladon-style primitive alien planet, with Emily and her quarry space-faring Earthlings, rather than very human-like aliens. Perhaps the historical setting was forced upon the author.

However, aside from a few homophone-related howlers (“the yolk of fear” indeed!), that’s my only real criticism of this page-turning, storming success.


Richard McGinlay

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