PLAGUE OF THE CYBERMEN
by Justin Richards
Review by Douglas Barrie
you read this review of Plague of the Cybermen [too late, they've already started - Ed.], Justin Richards'
novel set in the fictional 19th century village of Klimntenberg, cast
your mind back to the middle of Series 7. In
the Doctor's timeline, this adventure sits somewhere between The
Snowmen and The Bells of St John, and long before Neil Gaiman's
recent rejuvenation of the Cybermen in Nightmare In Silver.
or not Richards deliberately put the Cybermen on their last legs is
unknown, but the story itself bares some resemblance to the penultimate
episode of Series 6 - 'Closing Time'. Like
in that episode, a Cybership is buried underneath a building with the
army stuck in hibernation inside low on power until such a time when
they are at full strength.
effect of this underground wreck brings the titular plague to
Klimtenberg which is killing the locals - but the bodies are
disappearing from the graves. You
can join the dots if you so wish but all the signs are there, much like
most of the recent Cybermen stories. This is no exception, the set-up
is there, then the twist where the Doctor finds out the plan, followed
by the final battle to save the village.
the run-up and even including the final part of the book there is very
little interaction with the Cybermen themselves with the 11th Doctor,
whose knack for making up a plan as he goes comes across as a hinderance
rather than having the usual sense of anticipation. There's
much toing-and-froing between the castle and the village where most of
the people live, with some stereotypical Doctor Who tunnels along the
his adventure the Doctor is accompanied by local school teacher Olga,
who doesn't really engage the reader even though you know she's a
one-off companion. The
narrative is a bit swishy at times too, with the Doctor's handy sonic
screwdriver jumping from being his sonic screwdriver in some chapters to
being his magic wand in others when it just seems right to call a stick
a stick. It's something which might confuse casual fans or even new
fans casually picking up the book.
may sound like I'm grumbling on but I did think it was enjoyable.
Especially the the third quarter. Plague is the sort of book one could
take on holiday knowing it's not exactly an easy read but it's not going
to have you scratching your head and spending days trying to resolve
your own conclusion.
wrapped up neatly if a little abruptly and there is one or two
characters who feel underused despite their importance to the story. So
I go back to my original point - remember that the Cybermen in this
book are not the new breed and you'll be a satisfied customer. Otherwise
an upgrade is in order.
Read the review of the audio book HERE
Labels: Book review, Doctor Who Book Review, dr who book review, plague of the cybermen