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Doctor Who: Dreams of Empire (Past Doctor Adventures #14)

3.64  ·  Rating Details  ·  423 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
Landing on a barren asteroid, the Doctor and his friends discover the final pages of a drama that has torn apart an empire are being played out.

Who is the man in the mask, and how are his chess games affecting life and death in his prison? What is the secret of the knights in armor that line the bleak walls of the settlement. And what is the nature of the alien ship approa

Mass Market Paperback, 288 pages
Published August 3rd 1999 by BBC Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,113)
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Branwen Sedai *of the White Ajah*
"No, I am not a gifted amateur, as you put it. Rather I am an absolute professional in fields that your people do not yet even count among the professions."

This book was fantastic! I loved every minute of reading it! Not only was it a great book for Doctor Who fans, but just in general I found the story very engaging and interesting. The writing was direct and clear, and easy to follow.

"It's always best to argue from a position of knowledge."

Despite being somewhat of a newbie to the Doctor Who f
Mar 03, 2016 F.R. rated it really liked it
I’ve found Justin Richards’ Doctor Who novels a bit so-so previously, which probably explains why this one has been languishing on my kindle for nigh-on three years without me reading it. But, fair is fair, ‘Dreams of Empire’ is actually pretty damn good. After years of never reading science fiction, I’ve discovered that I’m a sucker for space opera, and so this futuristic tale of political intrigue (without apology modelled on the end of the Roman republic) is definitely designed for me to lap ...more
Peter Dunn
The biggest success of this book is that it, against the odds, succeeds in presenting a highly recognisable Second Doctor with both his surface image of a fool and his sub surface cunning.
This is quite achievement, as the author points out in his introduction, because Troughton’s Doctor’s deeper side was portrayed through his expressive face much more than in novel friendly dialogue.
However the book also succeeds in being equally successful in replicating two the TV show’s most common plot flaw
Daniel Kukwa
Jun 24, 2016 Daniel Kukwa rated it really liked it
Shelves: doctor-who
A surprisingly intense book, and much darker than Justin Richards' other "Doctor Who" tales. It reads like a technological "Game of Thrones" with a bit of Asimov imperialism...into which the Doctor & company have intruded. The darkness stretches to the Second Doctor himself: this is the more subdued Time Lord of his first season, rather than the more mercurial imp of later stories, and Mr. Richards captures him with suitable panache. This wasn't at all what I was expecting...and I'm very imp ...more
Adam James
Aug 06, 2016 Adam James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, doctor-who
I have a newfound respect for Justin Richards after finishing this nearly 20 year-old Doctor Who story. Unfamiliar with any of his Past Doctor Adventures that ran from the 90's to 2005, I figured his expertise was limited to the dopey and kiddie New-Series books that BBC has been publishing. Dreams of Empire is everything those New-Series books aren't: it's nuanced, elegantly written, politically savvy; its characters are richly developed, the setting of the prison Setespri is vivid and creepy. ...more
For some reason I keep expecting more intrigue, depth, back-story, cunning and plot whenever I crack open the next Doctor Who novel, although having read several score of them by now, I should know that the adventures are almost always mostly made up of running and fighting. However, the pacing this time was brisk, the characters were mostly slightly more than plain cardboard (excepting the references to Roman history and myths, of course; it's not that damn clever, man, every middle-school brat ...more
Jan 19, 2014 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So now for the second Doctor Who novel that I have read and I must admit that the fascination and enjoyment and not to mention shock (this was very face paced, more violent than expected and quite gruesome in places) still remains. This I think reflects something deeper. Doctor Who the original series were something I grew up with and it used to scare the willies out of me - the jokes about watching it from behind the sofa were true! I know it was broadcast on a Saturday evening the so called pr ...more
Jack Iles
Feb 05, 2014 Jack Iles rated it really liked it
I've always harboured a soft spot for the second incarnation of the Doctor. The ability of disarming his opponents by emitting the aura of a bumbling fool is something mastered by Patrick Troughton alone. No other actor has attempted this since, favouring a omnipotent, somewhat cocky depiction of the Doctor. (That's why I love Tennant.) Justin Richards captures this essence. As he puts it, 'If the adventure was a game of chess, he'd win without seeming to be involved at all. Only after laying do ...more
David Layton
Jan 04, 2016 David Layton rated it liked it
The Star Trek trick of taking some historical society and putting it into outer space never works when the relationship is too obvious. Thus, the various Roman Empire analogues in this story are often painfully strained. The trouble is that the story could have been written without them. On its face, it is an interesting story, a bit of "Man In The Iron Mask" mixed with "Julius Caesar" and involving a dedicated lost battalion of robot warriors. I always prefer stories in which the Doctor just st ...more
Jun 20, 2015 Melanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the story and concept, though it was hard to imagine the 2nd Doctor's physical mannerisms without actually watching Pat Troughton as the Doctor on the TV screen. Pat Troughton's Doctor was clownish and physical in features and movements, so writing a novel featuring the 2nd Doctor would provide a challenge. For the most part, Justin Richards did very well. The story was fast paced and read to me like a Doctor Who serial from that era of the Doctor.
Considering that the first two Doctors
Elin Nilsson
Doctor Who: Dreams of Empire is number two in the 50th Anniversary collection (11 stories, 11 authors, 1 Doctor) from which Ten Little Aliens was the first. Dreams of Empire features the Second Doctor (my favourite!) along with his companions Jamie and Victoria. This book contains a lot of politics and warfare (quite the theme for Second actually). But it also has all the elements that make Doctor Who amazing: adventure on a medieval fortress built on an asteroid with an artifical atmosphere, lo ...more
May 23, 2014 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I first read this book when it came out, in either late 1998 or early 1999. I would have been fifteen years old. I recall liking it at the time, which is almost certainly in part because it featured a halfway decent take on the second Doctor - my personal favorite - who had often been the subject of some truly dismal characterizations in earlier books. Coming back to it...yes, Richards does reasonably well with the second Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria. They're not pitch-perfect, which probably say ...more
Mar 02, 2014 Sean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Justin Richard's Doctor Who books usually allow for fantastic reads, with the kind of plots you can just about imagine happening in the show. So it's a shame, then, that Dreams Of Empire isn't quite as good as his other books.

The main problem is that the story starts off dull. The characters at the beginning come across as flat and boring and they don't start go get interesting or likeable until halfway through the book. You find yourself longing for the Doctor to hurry up and appear. So much th
Stacie (MagicOfBooks)
I will also do a video review here at my channel:

"Dreams of Empire" by Justin Richards follows the second Doctor and his companions, Jamie and Victoria, to a prison in space where a very powerful man is being held prisoner. This man holds sway of an entire empire. His enemies want him dead. His friends want him to lead the Empire. Someone has been mysteriously murdered in the prison, and it's up to the Doctor to discover who is friend and who is traitor.

This b
Christian Petrie
Apr 07, 2013 Christian Petrie rated it it was amazing
I might be raising the bar on this book, I feel that it is one of the best to summarize a Doctor's run on TV. When I first read this book I was not expecting much. Reading it again, years later it still gripped me, even though I knew how it would end. Even if you are not a Doctor Who fan, you would still enjoy this book.

The writing is great, it captures the Second Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria. For the other characters, they are fleshed out that makes you understand how they feel and act.

For the p
Aug 09, 2010 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although it took a while to get rolling, "Dreams of Empire" turned out to be quite good. Richards had disappointed me in the past, but this time he comes up with an original story, and writes the Second Doctor extraordinarily well, with a very strong grasp of the mannerisms and personality of a character most consider quite difficult to write. There are times when it seems like he doesn't know what to do with companions Jamie and Victoria, but he gets by on his grand portrayal of The Doctor.

Koen Crolla
With so many different writers writing for a relatively small set of characters, there's a set of stock descriptions for each Doctor for authors to aim at. For the Second Doctor, the popular line is ``a man at odds with his appearance''—that is, though he obviously is cunning and brilliant and whatever, he looks and behaves like a bit of ``a buffoon''. Dreams of Empire takes this to overwrought extremes, with the Doctor prat-falling, slipping, and sitting in sandwiches whenever the opportunity p ...more
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
*Special Content only on my blog, Strange and Random Happenstance during I The Doctor (October-December 2013)

The Haddron Republic has just ended a mighty civil war. One of their leaders, Kesar, took it upon himself to make the Republic an Empire. His Empire. Though his dreams were destroyed by his childhood friend Trayx. They fought a mighty war and in the end Trayx was victorious. Kesar was sentenced to imprisoned exile among the stars. Kesar and his remaining loyal followers would live on Sa
Sep 12, 2013 Chris rated it it was amazing
To begin I just love anything by Justin Richards. Next since I became a Doctor Who fan during the 4th doctor (like a lot of older Americans) I knew nothing about the previous ones. And yes I really am reading the anniversary editions totally out of order. I started with 8 and went in order up to 11, then I remember reading somewhere that Matt Smith had used the second Doctor as an inspiration to his portrayal of his doctor. So I jumped back to this book. I totally loved the secret love/attractio ...more
Holly (2 Kids and Tired)
Warning. As a lifelong Doctor Who fan, I have to tell you that this review is somewhat biased. I have nothing against the "new fans" who came in after 2005, but as someone who can honestly say that I remember watching episodes of Doctor Who in the mid-70s, hiding terrified behind my grandmother's chair, I have to confess that I have a soft spot for what is now referred to as "classic" Doctor Who.

Yes it is classic. Even more so, because it did not have the benefits of great special effects and wo
This is actually a really good sci-fi version of Julius Caesar, and an okay Doctor Who story. The Second Doctor's mannerisms are admittedly quite difficult to capture in prose, but I think this author tried too hard, with an awkward result. I also felt like the Doctor should have figured some things out before I did. Still, I enjoy any time spent in the company of this trio of friends, and this adventure is a worthy one.
Saran Wolf
Jun 01, 2016 Saran Wolf rated it it was amazing
I loved this! Its my favourite Dr Who trio of Troughton's 2nd Doctor, Jamie and Victoria, and its the absolutely typical "base under siege" story. But its extremely well done, and if as a TV show in the 1960s this would have blown the series budget, it could probably be made quite easily today, if today's Dr Who was interested in stories rather than in half-realised epic arcs.
Aug 01, 2015 Connor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable read. At first the book felt as though too much was going to be squeezed into the 300 or so pages but as it gets moving that worry quickly went away. Story was enjoyable with a good plot and interesting twists but I think the most important asset to the book is that the author perfectly writes the second doctor and his companions making it feel as close to a classic doctor who serial as possible which is great considering so much of the second doctors time on the screen has been lost.
Feb 26, 2014 Favian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The chess theme of Dreams of Empire was downright riveting but the story development had too many similarities to Star Wars, accidental or otherwise. First, there was the struggle of Haddron’s political entity as that of a republic or that of an empire. Second, Hans Kesar’s masked features resemble that of Darth Vader’s, to the extent that Vader was my mental image whenever Kesar entered the picture. Finally, the VETACs are reminiscent of the Storm Troopers with regard to behavior, albeit with s ...more
Nicole Halpin
Jan 02, 2015 Nicole Halpin rated it it was amazing
Ah! I adored this... I'm a huge fan of the Second Doctor and the author wrote both his cunning and bumbling uncle sides beautifully... Every line Of his his dialogue Ineasily read with Troughton's voice in my head... Bravo!
Feb 13, 2016 Woody rated it really liked it
I have seen very few of the Patrick Troughton episodes, so I was curious to read a story featuring his iteration. It was a quick, engrossing read. I am going to see if I own any more 2nd Doctor books.
Sep 15, 2014 Elaine rated it it was ok
Shelves: scifi, tie-ins
I adore the Second Doctor, and it's not that the book was poorly written... it just wasn't to my taste. The characters I was interested in took a backseat to the secondary characters.
Sue Meredith
Jul 22, 2014 Sue Meredith rated it really liked it
Much more engaging than the first book of the 50th Anniversary series. Nice touch of humor, which is only appropriate for the second Doctor. :)
Andres Halden
Mar 10, 2014 Andres Halden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This series has been pretty damn good all the way through, and nice to see these classic novels getting reprinted.
Sep 14, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it
Shelves: doctor-who, review
The Second Doctor, Jamie & Victoria. Between The Ice Warriors & The Enemy of the World.
The Second Doctor finds himself in that oh so familiar siege situation again but this time the writer manages to pull it off with admirable flare. The Tardis crew are brilliantly brought back to us in a book that is easily the best yet from this era of the show. It just has a rightness to it that makes it a pleasure to read. It's an exciting actioner that manages not to leave its brains at the door. I
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Justin Richards is a British writer. He has written many spin off novels based on the BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who, and he is Creative Director for the BBC Books range. He has also written for television, contributing to Five's soap opera Family Affairs. He is also the author of a series of crime novels for children about the Invisible Detective, and novels for older children. ...more
More about Justin Richards...

Other Books in the Series

Past Doctor Adventures (1 - 10 of 76 books)
  • Doctor Who: The Devil Goblins from Neptune
  • Doctor Who: The Murder Game
  • Doctor Who: The Ultimate Treasure
  • Doctor Who: Business Unusual
  • Doctor Who: Illegal Alien
  • Doctor Who: The Roundheads
  • Doctor Who: The Face of the Enemy
  • Doctor Who: Eye of Heaven
  • Doctor Who: The Witch Hunters
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