Aidan's Reviews > Doctor Who: Ghosts of India

Doctor Who by Mark Morris
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Sep 20, 11

bookshelves: doctor-who
Read from September 17 to 20, 2011, read count: 1

One of the aspects of the Doctor Who tie-in novels that I appreciate most is that many of them are set in places that the television series would have trouble showing us. Mark Morris’ Ghosts of India is a good case in point, giving us an adventure set in 1940s India in the weeks leading up to the implementation of home rule. It is a violent and turbulent period and Morris does a good job of explaining the tensions in a way that younger readers will be able to understand without slowing down or overwhelming his narrative.

This exotic setting is married to a fairly conventional Who plot in which the Doctor discovers monsters are abducting people from the city and tracks down the aliens responsible. This could make the 1940s Indian setting little more than an elaborate set dressing as there is nothing in the alien plan that is specific to India. While the plotting did not really take full advantage of the setting, I did think it enhanced the character interactions between the Doctor and Donna and the interactions with Gandhi helped to demonstrate and emphasize the Doctor’s own personality and approach to conflict.
Critically Morris does an excellent job of capturing the unique voices of the Tennant Doctor and his companion Donna without simply regurgitating their catchphrases from the show. He seems to have a real grasp on what makes each tick; their decisions feel entirely in keeping with who they are.

Unfortunately the novel, which begins strongly, starts to fall apart in the conclusion. The means by which the villain is defeated seems quite arbitrary, while some damage caused gets reversed with a line of technobabble to have everything wrap up neatly. After chapters of careful, character-focused build-up, this ending felt rushed.

While I was disappointed with the ending however, Morris had me engaged throughout with his excellent portrayals of the Doctor and Donna, as well as a strong cast of supporting characters. I look forward to reading some of his other Who novels in the future and would certainly recommend this book to fans of the series (and particularly this TARDIS team).
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09/17/2011 page 32
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