Time Hunter
Child of Time

Authors: George Mann and David J Howe
Telos Publishing
RRP: £9.99 (paperback), £25.00 (deluxe hardback)
ISBN: 978 1 84583 104 2 (paperback), 978 1 84583 105 9 (deluxe hardback)
Available 20 August 2007

When Honoré and Emily investigate the scarred bones of a young woman in the ruins of a collapsed house, they are thrown into a thrilling adventure that takes them from London in 1951 to Venice in 1586 and then forward a thousand years to the terrifying, devastated London of 2586, which is ruled over by the sinister Sodality. What is the terrible truth about Emily’s forgotten past? What demonic power is the Sodality plotting to reawaken? And who is the mysterious Dr Smith...?

The strange box-like object with a flashing blue light on top, shown on the front cover, might give you some idea as to the identity of the so-called Dr Smith. Honoré and Emily were, of course, introduced to readers in the Doctor Who novella The Cabinet of Light, so it is entirely appropriate that the Time Hunter series should come full circle as it reaches its conclusion and reveals Emily’s origins.

There are also brief allusions to “ancient creatures rising out of the oceans to reclaim their ancestral homeland”, which could refer to the Sea Devils, and “humans turning themselves into armies of murderous machines”, which seems to imply the Cybermen. However, the most explicit Who connection is the presence of deadly stone gargoyles and a devil-like Daemon, both elements from the Jon Pertwee serial The Daemons and Reeltime Pictures’ sequel to it, Daemos Rising.

Child of Time ties together elements from across the entire Time Hunter range, with particular reference to Daemos Rising, The Cabinet of Light, Peculiar Lives and The Severed Man. One particular plot revelation also hints at a possible connection between the mechanical and semi-mechanical beings encountered in other novellas, including The Clockwork Woman and The Albino’s Dancer.

With a lot of incident and explanation to pack into this final volume, it comes as little surprise that this is the longest Time Hunter book to date. At more than 140 pages - twice the length of the shortest entry, The Sideways Door - it’s really a novel rather than a novella, which may explain the price increase for the paperback edition.

Emphasising the impression of this being “two novellas in one”, Honoré and Emily visit not one but two distinct temporal locations, London in 2586 and Venice a thousand years earlier. Then it’s back to 2586 again. The plot therefore becomes somewhat episodic and run-around. However, it builds towards a gripping and satisfying conclusion - to both the book and the series.

Richard McGinlay

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