Doctor Who
Citadel of Dreams

Author: Dave Stone
Telos Publishing
10.00 (standard hardback),
25.00 (deluxe hardback)
ISBN 1 903889 04 9 (standard hardback),
ISBN 1 903889 05 7 (deluxe hardback)
Available now

In the city-state of Hokesh, a derelict called Joey Quine discovers the ability to glimpse into and influence the minds of others. He also finds himself subject to horrifying visions. In another time, Magnus Solaris, the ruler of Radiant City, is worried that his memory is failing while his city is falling apart. For some reason, the seventh Doctor is hastening the latter process by inciting social unrest...

One could argue that the novella format is the perfect medium for Dave Stone. This author does have a tendency to write either relatively short novels that nevertheless seem stretched beyond their natural length (see his recent Doctor Who: The Slow Empire and Professor Bernice Summerfield and the Infernal Nexus) or short stories that are actually rather long and sprawling.

Stone's offbeat style also makes him a suitable successor to Kim Newman, who launched the Telos Doctor Who range with the often surreal diary entries of Susan Foreman in Time and Relative. Following Newman's use of the diary format, Stone also uses a structural gimmick: that of a dual timeline, which alternates between two time periods, "Before" and "After". Ironically, reading this novella after Time and Relative, Stone's writing style initially seems more restrained and straightforward than usual. However, he is simply setting the scene for the weirdness that is to come later on in the book!

As in the previous novella, the Doctor plays a background role, this time with the characters of Joey Quine and (to a lesser extent) Magnus Solaris being placed in the foreground. The secretive seventh Doctor is, in fact, particularly suited to such treatment, as was demonstrated by several of his appearances in Virgin's New Adventures series of novels. There is a particularly effective red herring here involving the Doctor - or rather, involving his frequently assumed nom be plume of Doctor John Smith.

One criticism that I have of this book is that the sinister Patrolmen who stalk the streets of Hokesh City are something of a rip-off of the artificial agents from The Matrix.

Despite that one glitch, however, this is an entertaining mystery. By virtue of its short length, it does not bend the reader's mind for too long before the truth is finally disclosed, and the novella can be swiftly re-read in light of its concluding revelations.

Richard McGinlay

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