Fiction Reviews

Doctor Who: The Drostenís Curse

(2015) A. L. Kennedy, BBC Books, £7.99, pbk, 361pp, ISBN 978-1-849-90827-6


A. L. Kennedy is a accomplished novelist having won the Costa Book of the Year award.  Now her Doctor Who novel, The Drostenís Curse, has been published in paperback.  For this novel, Kennedy has focused on the bizarre side of Doctor Who by creating a story full of funny occurrences and strange scenarios. It is an expanded story of A. L. Kennedy's story ĎThe Death Pití that can be found in the Time Trips short story collection.

This novel focuses on the Fourth Doctor as golfers appear to be missing at the Fetch Brothersí Golf Spa Hotel.  This novel follows The Doctor after the events of ĎThe Deadly Assassiní when The Doctor is without a companion. This means The Doctor is joined by Bryony, a receptionist at the golf club.  As The Doctor investigates the mysterious circumstances surrounding the disappearances, he realises there is a monstrous threat at work beneath the golf club.

This is one of the rare novels recently published that do not feature the ĎModern Doctorísí, which makes this novel something of a special gem.  A. L. Kennedy clearly has a lot of affection for the Fourth Doctor, and this is made clear by the way she makes The Doctor interact with people.  This novel has a large cast of characters, and whilst this may be a drawback for not allowing enough character development, we do see the Fourth Doctor interacting with people just like he did in the TV series: his wit and unique sense of humour shines through the novel.

However, A. L. Kennedy fans may be the most likely to enjoy this novel as it encompasses many throwbacks to her earlier, non- Doctor Who novels.  However, Doctor Who fans will still enjoy a new novel featuring a nostalgic trip with the Fourth Doctor.  Nonetheless, readers should be aware as this is far from a perfect novel.  The story does suffer from some serious issues in pace, and whilst the companion of Bryony is a nice addition to the story, it is clear that there is no major threat.  All original Doctor Who stories featuring the earlier versions of The Doctor end with the companion leaving, and this means it is obvious for the reader that they will not be seeing that person again.  The novel is a nice enjoyable story and the addition of some surprising appearances from characters makes this novel exciting, but it doesnít make up for the slow plot and the feeling of no major threat to The Doctor.  It is a good novel, but it doesnít quite live up to the television series.

Andrew Musk

See also Ian's take on Doctor Who: The Drostenís Curse.

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