Fiction Reviews

Doctor Who
Warriors’ Gate and Beyond

(2023) Stephen Gallagher, BBC Books, £9.99, pbk, 256pp, ISBN 978-1-785-94851-0


“I am Biroc. The shadow of my past…and your future.”

Warriors' Gate - in this new-to-print, expanded novelisation of the classic 1981 adventure, the TARDIS is caught in a collapsing void between two different universes - and the 4th Doctor, Romana and Adric must enter into a dangerous alliance with the Tharils - a race of enslaved, time-sensitive aliens. The consequences are explored in two further short stories.

'The Kairos Ring' - now allies of the enslaved across all creation, Romana and the Tharil Laszlo ride the time winds in search of the sinister Sluagh - aliens who retool the dead as deadly warriors.

'The Little Book of Fate' - searching for the source of a scream across time, the Eighth Doctor investigates a most unusual carnival freak show in the north of England - where a figure from his past awaits him.

If we weren’t packing up the contents of Hunter Towers to move to a new home, you would see several of Stephen Gallagher’s novels on the bookshelves in the front room including Chimera, Follower, Valley of Light, Rain and many others.

Gallagher has also written spin-off titles for TV series such as Fame (as Lisa Todd), and also the book of the film Silver Dream Racer, written as John Lydecker. In his Lydecker guise, Gallagher wrote two Doctor Who books in the early 1980s based on his scripts for the series, one for the story 'Terminus', and one for 'Warrior’s Gate'. Under his own name, this is a different version of the 1981 adventure starring the Fourth Doctor, Romana, Adric and K9 who become stuck in Null Space, a void between E-Space and our universe known as N-Space. There they encounter the lion-like Tharil race who are enslaved and forced to act as navigators along the winds of time.

In this version, Gallagher continues the format of the original novel by telling the story in one continuous narrative over 175 pages – no chapters, gulp. He also diverges from the broadcasted episode by adding in extra scenes and changing some of the dialogue. Dedicated Whovians who have watched the episodes or read the original version will spot the changes.

Of course, 'Warrior’s Gate' ended with Romana not returning to the TARDIS, but remaining with the Tharils to help in their fight against slavery, which brings us two additional stories. The first is 'The Kairos Ring', telling the story of Romana and the Tharil, Lazlo, from the original story, as they fight against The Slaugh with the aid of Joshua, a soldier from the American Civil War who is snatched out of his time in a fast-moving, action-packed tale with a smattering of science and history and a bittersweet ending. The second story is 'The Little Book of Fate', a slight, gentle tale involving the 8th Doctor on the trail of a seaside fair which leads him to encounter some old friends. Both short stories are welcome bonuses for Who fans everywhere.

Ian Hunter


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