Time Hunter
The Severed Man

Author: George Mann
Telos Publishing
RRP £7.99 (paperback), £25.00 (deluxe hardback)
ISBN 1 903889 43 X (paperback)
ISBN 1 903889 44 8 (deluxe hardback)
Available 02 December 2004

What links a clutch of murders in Victorian London, an angel appearing in a Staffordshire village in the 1920s and a small boy running loose around London in 1950? Honoré and Emily think they may have the answer when they encounter a man who seems to have been cut out of time itself...

The notion of the titular "severed man" sounds, on the surface, not unlike the premise of the Doctor Who serial City of Death, in which a being was fragmented into several "splinters" spread across time. However, the plot of George Mann's novella is rather more complex than that late '70s television romp.

The book is divided into sections, according to the different time periods that Honoré and Emily visit: first their own era of 1950, where Honoré is haunted by strange dreams, then to 1892 and 1921 as he and Emily pursue the "severed man", Barnaby Tewkes, and the strange forces that are out to destroy him. It's all very weird, with a devilish cult coming into play in 1892 and the villagers of 1921 being unable to perceive the time travellers at all (a development that is reminiscent of another Doctor Who serial, The Space Museum).

Having an element of mystery is all very well, but unfortunately the story fails to make much sense until the events are explained towards the end of the book. Now, I'm no slouch when it comes to comprehending convoluted time-travel tales, but when Emily says of her and Honoré's latest wild theory concerning disparate temporal threads and convergence points, "It would make sense," I am forced to disagree. The perplexing narrative doesn't really make for riveting reading.

Nor is the story self-contained. It makes several cross-references back to events in The Cabinet of Light, the now out-of-print Doctor Who novella that spawned the Time Hunter series. And there are questions left unanswered at the end of the book, which will presumably be picked up in the next one, Echoes.

Sorry to be so severe, but all in all The Severed Man feels more like the first half of a novel than a complete novella in its own right.

Richard McGinlay

Buy this item online
We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal! Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£9.99 (Amazon.co.uk)
£7.99 (Countrybookshop.co.uk)
£7.59 (Studentbookworld.com)
£25.00 (Amazon.co.uk)
Deluxe Hardback
£25.00 (Countrybookshop.co.uk)
Deluxe Hardback
£19.00 (Studentbookworld.com)
Deluxe Hardback

All prices correct at time of going to press.