Time Hunter
The Tunnel at the End of the Light

Author: Stefan Petrucha
Telos Publishing
RRP £7.99 (paperback), £25.00 (deluxe hardback)
ISBN 1 903889 37 5 (paperback)
ISBN 1 903889 38 3 (deluxe hardback)
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An old World War II bomb explodes in a disused London Underground station. The devastation releases strange and hostile subhuman creatures that crave anything containing sugar. Honoré Lechasseur and Emily Blandish are contacted by an eccentric poet who believes the monsters may be after him...

I was a little disappointed to find that, following the detonation of the bomb, this story has little to do with the London Underground or its disused stations, subjects that fascinate me. I had been hoping for something along the lines (no pun intended) of Neverwhere or the Doctor Who story The Web of Fear.

As it happens, Stefan Petrucha (who is perhaps best known for his writing on Topps' X-Files comic) gives us a murder mystery of sorts, and a pretty engaging one at that. Honoré and Emily know perfectly well that the subterranean creatures are doing the killing, but the mystery is: who is directing these hitherto mindless beasts?

Without giving too much away, the culprit that is ultimately revealed brings to mind the demon-summoning Master in the Who serial The Daemons. As you may or may not be aware, Telos Publishing plans to use some of the abandoned ideas from its defunct range of Who novellas within the Time Hunter series. Such stories will probably have to be restricted to an Earth setting, as this one is, but then the vast majority of Doctor Who adventures are Earthbound anyway, so that needn't be too much of a restriction. I'm not sure whether or not this particular tale is a recycled Who story, but the villain of the piece is certainly very much a Master to Lechasseur's Doctor.

The strangeness of the monsters and the eccentricities of the poet Randolph Crest keep the reader engaged throughout the narrative. However, some scenes seem to have been cut or glossed over to keep the book to its 100-page duration, and I question the author's choices regarding some of them. For instance, I would have liked to see more of the Subterraneans' initial emergence into the outside world, instead of this just being presented as a done deal. Similarly, more could have been made of the dramatic and comic potential of Crest's discovery of Emily breaking and entering into his property - as it is, this provides an exciting chapter ending but comes to little else.

Nevertheless, The Tunnel at the End of the Light is well worth traversing.

Richard McGinlay

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