The Doctor, Anji and Fitz go undercover to investigate
time displacement on 21st-century Earth. Someone is offering
to sell time-travel technology from the distant future. The
Europeans want it, as do the Americans. So does a group of
super-intelligent rhinoceros-like aliens. But agents from
the future will stop at nothing to prevent history being changed...
disappointingly, the beginning of this novel is not a direct
continuation of the cliffhanger ending to last month's Anachrophobia
(although the story once again concerns time travel, and the
distant presence of Sabbath can still be felt). Instead we
find the Doctor fully recovered from his battle with the clock-faced
people, and already engaged in a 007-style parachute stunt
as part of his investigations on Earth.
action sequences, the character names - including Malady Chang,
Penny Lik and an ex-CIA agent called Felix - and cheeky name
checks of various titles all allude to the James Bond series
of novels and movies. An ageing British agent with a Scots
accent is clearly modelled upon Sean Connery. This is, of
course, not the first time that Who novelists have
adopted the 007 style - think of Peter Anghelides' Frontier
Worlds or the majority of David A. McIntee's books. But
the 007 style is only part of the appeal of this novel (admittedly
a very large part). Bond never gave us space-faring would-be
time-travelling alien rhinos!
is a narrative that doesn't take itself too seriously, a factor
that is also evident in its depiction of the world approximately
ten years from now. The future presented by Parkin is a logical,
though somewhat satirical, extrapolation of current political
scenarios. The UK is led by a President Minister and is part
of a combined Eurozone bloc. But some factions within Great
Britain still feel that the United States would be a more
sense of Parkin's plot is elusive at first. Such complexities
are to be expected in an espionage thriller, but I never did
manage to work out how the Doctor obtained his first lead
and located the briefcase that features in the first chapter.
Had this been the Seventh Doctor, then we could have taken
for granted the fact that the Time Lord knew something we
didn't, but this is the more fallible Eighth Doctor.
with this book, though, for the story soon escalates towards
a breathless finale. As long as there are novels like this,
the Doctor's tomorrows will never die.
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