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Doctor Who: Marco Polo (Doctor Who Library (Target) #94)

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  381 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Novelization of the Doctor Who TV episodes/story of the same name.

As the TARDIS lands on a remote mountainside, the power fails and leaves the Doctor and his companions stranded without heat or water. They are rescued by the Venetian traveller Marco Polo, who tells them it is the year 1289. They join Marco's caravan travelling to the Great Kublai Khan's palace in Peking. A
Paperback, 144 pages
Published April 11th 1985 by Target Books, W.H. Allen (first published April 1st 1985)
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The meeting of two iconic explorers!


The First Doctor

Companions: Susan Foreman, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright


Cathay (former name of China)

Year: 1289


After suffering a malfunction on the TARDIS, the First Doctor and his companions traveled in a caravan lead by Marco Polo.

This is the novelization of the fourth story arc in the TV series which is was written by the same author of the screenplay used on the TV series. (Actually, John Lucarotti wrote the three novelizati
Jan 04, 2015 Dan rated it really liked it
Shelves: doctor-who
This is the novelisation of the 1964 Doctor Who serial of the same name. Lucarotti wrote the original TV script too. The story is one of many early Who stories which were literally thrown out by the UK so this novelisation is now one of the best ways to 'see' the story.

I was surprised to find I rather enjoyed it. In my head, Marco Polo was a dull story where nothing happened and with not much going for it. I was mostly wrong.

I have to concede that in many ways this is quite dull. The novelisati
Leo H
Dec 12, 2016 Leo H rated it it was ok
A fairly straightforward novelization of what appears to be a fairly straightforward early Dr Who story. Marco Polo sort of kidnaps the Doctor and his companions, they travel for a bit towards China, they stop for a bit, have some food (which is explained in minute detail and made me quite hungry), the Mongol warlord baddie accompanying Marco Polo's party tries some treachery and is foiled by the Doctor/Ian/Susan (Barbara didn't have much to do in this one). Then they start off travelling and it ...more
Nicholas Smith
Mar 03, 2017 Nicholas Smith rated it really liked it
I have been very leisurely making my way through the Who novels in the televised order and this is the first of the books for which there is no archive programme with which to compare. As a consequence it is tempting to get swept away with the vivid descriptions of ancient china and to imagine effects on a scale that would simply have not been possible at the dawn of the series. However, the writing style has been kept pretty light and seems to have been pretty loyal to the script, giving the ch ...more
Dec 30, 2014 Mel rated it really liked it
I must admit to a certain ammount of reservation reading Marco Polo, there was so much racism in Talons of Weng Chiang that I really wasn't expecting very much of this. But like the Aztecs I was pleasantly surprised. There were very few Chinese cliches at all, indeed most of the characters were European and Mongols. But it was interesting to have an adventure take months of traveling, rather than all over in a matter of minutes or hours. I liked that Pingo Chou and Susan devloped a really close ...more
Sep 01, 2014 Zanriel rated it really liked it
Marco Polo is a purely historical adventure, one that is lost from the BBC archives. The only way to experience it is through a few surviving clips, photos, the audio, and this novelization.

There weren't many sci-fi elements in the historical stories of the 60's, and the Doctor and his companions Ian, Barbara, and Susan don't usually influence the stories much. Mostly they're there as (often unwilling) observers.

In the earliest stories, the TARDIS crew usually get swept up into events because o
Jan 16, 2016 Jay rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Doctor Who fans
This is the first truly historical Doctor Who story. It doesn't feature an alien or monstrous enemies, just an encounter with historical figures and the situations that arise around that.

I have to say that I expected this to be a bit dull, but I was engaged all the way through. It has some fun moments and shows the Doctor "lightening up" a bit throughout the story. It's nice to see the TARDIS crew really getting along for the first time and accepting each other on this long journey.

This is reall
Daniel Kukwa
Jun 02, 2013 Daniel Kukwa rated it really liked it
Shelves: doctor-who
Some "Doctor Who" novelists can swing violently between excellence & disappointment when it comes to adapting the TV stories to print...even when they are adapting their own scripts. Great authors like Malcolm Hulke can go from the heights of "The Doomsday Weapon" to the low that is "The War Games". John Lucarotti himself isn't immune to this affliction -- his novelization of his best story, "The Aztecs", is rather wet compared to the fantastic television episodes. Yet with "Marco Polo" he m ...more
Nicholas Whyte[return][return]Doctor Who - Marco Polo is certainly the best of John Lucarotti's three Who books (the other two being Doctor Who - The Aztecs and Doctor Who - The Massacre). Possibly the need to be fairly concise - cutting down from a seven episode story, rather than writing up from four - made a difference. It's a cracking good story anyway, and the fact that we have only sound rather than video records of it makes Lucarotti's presentation all the ...more
Steven Poore
Jan 10, 2013 Steven Poore rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, sf, doctor-who
The first (if you don't count An Unearthly Child, which I don't) proper historical adventure in the Tardis. The original serial is now lost by the British Barbarian Corporation, so this is the first time I've been able to follow this adventure. And rather good it is too, if a little too reliant on moving from village to village and town to town as the Doctor tries and fails to negotiate the return of his Tardis. Looking at it with the benefit of hindsight, the Beeb's intent to educate as well as ...more
Christian Petrie
This is one of those epic Doctor Who stories, that is now lost as the BBC wiped it. Unfortunately, this book does not cover the grandeur as it should. You get the feel for the story from this, but being seven part episode the Target page restriction hampers it from being an epic story. Probably will see more examples of this, in future books.
The book is still enjoyable, but you can sense there is more to it. There are a couple of times John Lucarotti gives details, that if he was able to do this
Sep 07, 2011 Paul rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this novel. It's an adaptation of the Doctor Who adventure Marco Polo from the 1st series of the programme. I've never seen the original television episodes but if the characters and story are as entertaining as the novel then it could easily be one of my favourites.

This is the first novelisation of a Doctor Who television adventure that I've enjoyed as a novel. The previous First Doctor novelisations I'd read either didn't fit in with the TV continuity (The Daleks) or were too
Aarøn VE
May 24, 2016 Aarøn VE rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-trek-who
A fun and easy read, aside from the obvious fact that it was written in the 60s (via character names and gender roles). It's great though because the first three serials are available on DVD and the fifth serial is as well but this one, the fourth one, is one of the serials that has never been recovered. So it's perfect for anyone trying to watch the beginnings of Doctor Who in chronological order.
Nov 03, 2008 Travis rated it really liked it
Shelves: doctor-who
Great story that has the Tardis crew getting dragged along on Marco Polos journey and then getting mixed up in court intrigue at the palace of Kublai Kahn.

One of the best of the pure historical TV episodes. Not to be used as a source for a school term paper, but a fun story and a good way to get a kids interest in the history started.

Shame they stopped doing the historicals. Some of them were a lot of fun.

Jul 24, 2013 Leah rated it liked it
I love the original Doctor Who series. I think it is great. This is the novelization of one of the lost episodes. I don't usually like novelizations but this was one of the better ones. I thought the story was fairly engaging. It got a little iffy when trying to add in a love story between the two youngest guest stars. The resolution was arrived at a little hap hazardly but thats about on par with how the resolutions happen in the show.
Jan 23, 2014 Ubikuberalles rated it liked it
One of the better historical yarns from the Hartnell era. Since the original episodes are all missing it was nice to get some decent descriptions of the locales and the events in the story. One nice tidbit: the Doctor mentions the first Emperor Terracot warrior statues to Marco Polo which weren't discovered until 1974...ten years after the original show was broadcast (the book was published in the 1980's)! It would have been cool if it was mentioned in the TV show but, alas, it was not.
Jan 02, 2016 Nina rated it liked it
When one of the most exciting things that happens in a story is a backgammon match, you know it's a bit on the dull side. The novelization moves it along at a better pace than the episodes appear to have done, though it is likely that having the visuals back would lend it a grandeur that the recons lack.
Emily Ellis
Oct 06, 2013 Emily Ellis rated it liked it
my student found this at goodwill and lent it to me. I was pleased since I've never seen the original serial. It dragged on a bit in the middle, but there were some cool historical details, like the origin of the phrase "checkmate" in chess, and a description of Kublai Khan's summer palace (the "stately pleasure dome" in Xanadu).
Dec 20, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: tossed, club-specials
I will have to admit that I don't really like this story of the First Doctor. Not just because it is a reconstruction, but also because of all the padding. Seven episodes are not really needed for this. Thankfully, this book eliminated most of the padding while keeping the story intact, resulting in a much quicker read than I was expecting.
Apr 16, 2012 Shelly rated it liked it
It's really unfortunate that this serial was lost. So many of the scenes must have been great fun to watch! That being said, there surely would have been many stretches which would have been tedious.
Tiffany Sherrum
Jan 14, 2016 Tiffany Sherrum rated it liked it
A better book than I expected! I was expecting purely snowy harsh environments, but was rewarded with secret passages and palaces alongside it. It was still a pretty typical classic Doctor Who story, but entertaining all the same!
Nov 20, 2015 Emilou rated it liked it
I loved the storyline, but it needed some serious editing. I don't think they found professionals to write these books back in the day, they just wanted to make money and wrote them as fast as they could.
Amber Baker
Feb 02, 2014 Amber Baker rated it really liked it
Quite an interesting story. I rather enjoyed it.
Mar 17, 2012 Timothy rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, sci-fi
2 1/2 stars.
Dec 10, 2010 Becci rated it it was amazing
My fav first Doctor book - and the only version left available after the episode was lost.
Dave Lefevre
May 17, 2013 Dave Lefevre rated it liked it
A pale version of a great Doctor Who story. A worthy read to get an idea of how great this lost serial mush have been.
Jan 15, 2011 stormhawk rated it liked it
Twists and turns and intrigue! All I could think of, though, was Coleridge's poem. I was looking for pleasure-domes at every turn.
Iain Hamilton
Mar 04, 2013 Iain Hamilton rated it really liked it
This must have been fantastic in the original transmission. Such a shame it is missing. Really enjoyed. A delight.
Ben Reed
Sep 12, 2015 Ben Reed rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and am hopeful that one day I shall be able to watch the episodes.
Sep 03, 2008 Steve rated it it was amazing
Shelves: doctor-who
Absolutely stunning; it makes it hard to imagine how this story was ever translated to the screen.
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Doctor Who Book Club: Marco Polo 1 10 Apr 24, 2013 06:51PM  
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