"The death of billions is as nothing to us Doctor, if it helps defeat the Daleks."
The Great Time War has raged for centuries, ravaging the universe. Scores of human colony planets are now overrun by Dalek occupation forces. A weary, angry Doctor leads a flotilla of Battle TARDISes against the Dalek stronghold but in the midst of the carnage, the Doctor's TARDIS crashes to a planet below: Moldox.
As the Doctor is trapped in an apocalyptic landscape, Dalek patrols roam amongst the wreckage, rounding up the remaining civilians. But why haven't the Daleks simply killed the humans?
Searching for answers the Doctor meets 'Cinder', a young Dalek hunter. Their struggles to discover the Dalek plan take them from the ruins of Moldox to the halls of Gallifrey, and set in motion a chain of events that will change everything. And everyone.
An epic novel of the Great Time War featuring the War Doctor as played by John Hurt.
George Mann is an author and editor, primarily in genre fiction. He was born in Darlington, County Durham in 1978. A former editor of Outland, Mann is the author of The Human Abstract, and more recently The Affinity Bridge and The Osiris Ritual in his Newbury and Hobbes detective series, set in an alternate Britain, and Ghosts of Manhattan, set in the same universe some decades later. He wrote the Time Hunter novella "The Severed Man", and co-wrote the series finale, Child of Time. He has also written numerous short stories, plus Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes audiobooks for Big Finish Productions. He has edited a number of anthologies including The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, The Solaris Book of New Fantasy and a retrospective collection of Sexton Blake stories, Sexton Blake, Detective, with an introduction by Michael Moorcock.
While leading a flotilla of Battle TARDISes against a Dalek fleet, the Doctor is shot down on the planet Moldox and befriends a human girl named Cinder. The Doctor and Cinder find their way back to Gallifrey and must defy the Time Lords, who plan on using a doomsday weapon to destroy twelve inhabited worlds in order to stop the Daleks. But the Daleks have a super weapon of their own and mean to erase the Time Lords from history. Can The Doctor thwart the Daleks and the Time Lords? Of course he can! He's the Doctor...
I got this from Netgalley.
The Engines of War is the first Doctor Who novel featuring the War Doctor, aka the Doctor played by John Hurt in Name of the Doctor and Day of the Doctor. That may be the reason for the problems I'll be pointing out a little later.
George Mann did a pretty good job with what little information we've been given about the War Doctor during the Time War. The Time Lords and Daleks have been committing untold atrocities upon one another for years, escalating to unbelievable degrees at this point in the Time War. The Doctor is caught between a rock and a hard place and does some good Doctoring with Cinder in tow.
There is a lot of action and a lot of cool concepts, like mutant Time Lords powering the possibility engine, the Dalek's new magic eraser weapon that wipes people from existence completely, to the Time Lords and their super weapon. Mann dips into Who history, touching upon adventures from the fourth and eighth doctors, as well has seeing hints of his own future. While he's wearing a different skin, he's still The Doctor we all know and love...
... And therein lies the rub. There isn't enough in the story to distinguish the War Doctor from any other Doctor. I get a sense of world weariness from him, much like the Eleventh Doctor, but apart from not wanting to be called The Doctor, he's pretty much still The Doctor. When the War Doctor first appeared, I got the feeling that he did a lot more than use The Moment to end the Time War. Apart from punching someone in the jaw in this one, there's nothing particularly edgy about him.
Like I said, Mann did the best he could with what little background he had to work with. I'll be reading future novels featuring the War Doctor. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influences my opinions as stated below.
Most Doctor Who novels are fairly lightweight, intended to fill in gaps between episodes and entertain without interfering with the overall "canon” as established in the continuity of the television show. Engines of War, however, is a little different. It still operates as a standalone adventure, but it has to carry more weight than many previous books, as it takes place during one of the most significant events in the entire Whoniverse: the Time War. Not only this, but it also focuses on an incarnation of the Doctor that has received very little screen time, and thus has little in the way of established characterization to work with.
Mann does an admirable job balancing so little previous character development and so much expectation. The War Doctor is the most hardened and merciless incarnation, so it makes sense that this story is somewhat more disturbing and dark than previous adventures I have encountered in the New Series; there are some graphic descriptions of abuses perpetrated by both the Daleks and the Time Lords that would feel out of place in many other entries. While these things may set it apart, the story itself does follow the traditional pattern of Who novels: the Doctor arrives accidentally on a planet, acquires a companion (if he doesn’t already have one along for the ride), discovers a dastardly plot, and works with his companion to attempt to foil said plot.
In this instance, the Doctor lands on the planet Moldox, part of a system of colonized worlds that orbit an anomaly known as the Tantalus Eye. He meets a young rebel fighter named Cinder, and with her help, discovers key information about the next phase of the Dalek war strategy. But since this is the great Time War, rather than using his newly discovered intel to defeat the enemy himself, the Doctor spirits Cinder away with him to Gallifrey, and that is where things get really interesting.
Perhaps one of the defining features of the reboot series Doctor Who is that it takes place following the Time War. This has not only profoundly shaped the character in every new permutation, but the shape of the universe in which he resides; the Time Lords have weighed on the Doctor’s conscience and shaped his choices, and by extension those whom he helps (or doesn’t). But in Engines of War we get a glimpse into the Gallifreyan side of the war, and it alters ones perspective on the conflict. The brief appearance of Rassilon during the Master’s return to the TV series hinted at what Mann fleshes out more fully- the Time War was never a black-and-white conflict of good and evil. It may have begun with less moral ambiguity, but the Time Lords prove themselves to be equally capable of disdain for otherness and blatant disregard for “inferior” life. It is no spoiler to acknowledge that the Doctor triumphs, especially as this novel leads directly into the events of the 50th anniversary special, but there was a heavier cost involved than your average Who novelized adventure.
That being said, I generally have a system for rating Who novels. And here it is:
*Overall: highly recommended, especially to fans craving more Time War lore
*Characterization of the Doctor: pretty well done with limited resources. His physicality is limited, but his personality fits pretty well with the overall conception of the War Doctor.
*Plot: follows a traditional pattern, but with some added menace and real consequences.
*Companion: Cinder was memorable and believable and she proved herself very worthy of the title of Doctor’s Companion.
*Enemy/alien threat: Daleks. TIME WAR DALEKS. So yeah, pretty effective. And the Time Lords were equally menacing, and probably even more infuriating.
Summary blurb: Engines of War is a thrilling entry in the New Series, and it answers questions that I believe many longtime fans have been contemplating. Though the books may not be canonical in the grand sense, this one is a gift for those longtime fans that want to experience the previously untapped potential of the War Doctor as a true regeneration, and not just as a “guest star.”
This book has intrigued me ever since I found out about it. It was published as part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations and It is fascinating for two reasons - first it is used as a link to part of a larger grander storyline - a link within a link if you like from one Doctor to another marking not only the special event but also presenting us a doctor only hinted at and not even referred to - in a time when everything changed for the Doctor.
The story is fascinating, it not only portrays a part of the Doctors life I never really knew about (did anyone) and what happened and what he was involved with but also the fact that really adds substance to a Doctor who was really relieved as part of the anniversary celebrations. That said all the classic traits that make the Doctor both so loveable and so dangerous are there.
I think my only negative point about this book and the Doctor it reveals is that as far as I know this is the only book - it would have been interesting to read more about him but since he was the Doctor of the Dalek time wars - the more we learn about him the more we learn about the great war and I think that is one episode of the Doctors history we respect and do not ask too many questions about.
4.5 This is how you write a Doctor Who story. A disclaimer of sorts: George Mann is one of my favourite authors. I don't know if that should matter, but better to come clean. I knew the story would be good, but I did not expect it to be this.
The story itself is divided in three parts with different settings. After a battle with the Daleks, the Doctor crash-lands on Moldox, a planet ravaged by the Daleks. There he meets Cinder, a very young Dalek hunter. Since these Daleks act as no other Dalek the Doctor has seen before, of course he has to investigate. And, being the Doctor, he picks up a companion. Unlike some of the annoying ones (), Cinder is a great and colourful character.
Their quest takes them from the Dalek base of operations on Moldox to Gallifrey. I must admit I was thrilled to read about it. There Cinder gets to see the Time Lords, beings as feared as the Daleks. The second part of the book is on Gallifrey. Not only he has to deal with the Dalek threat, he has to fight the arrogance of the Time Lords. Let me tell you, they are everything I expected them to be and more (or less as the case may be). As for the last part of the story, it is the solution part. One could argue that the solution itself is all too convenient (and it is), but since this is a Doctor Who story - who cares?
The way this is written evokes every wonderful feeling I had while I was watching the Doctor's battles. The moments when everything seems lost and all of a sudden faster and louder music starts and the Doctor finds a way. He always finds a way. Unsurprisingly, the story is a combination of depressing and horrendous themes - after all, the Daleks consider all other life forms undeserving of life (no secret there) and the Time Lords are beyond arrogant and very dangerous - and the humour found only in the Doctor's company.
To be fair I'll admit that having access to Gallifrey and a dozen of Time Lords gave the author an opportunity to create a more epic story than others. And, as I said, I don't mind that solution because it suits this Doctor perfectly.
Doctor Who markası (evet bir markadır) üzerinden prim yapmak üzere birçok kitap, dergi, çizgi roman, koleksiyonerler için objeler vs vs hazırlandı. Özellikle kitapların birçoğu tam bir ticari kaygı ürünüydü, isminin altını asla dolduramayan başlıklar verildi. Ancak bu öyle değil. Savaş doktoruyla 50. yıl bölümünde tanışmıştık -her ne kadar ben bu kitabı ölümünden önce okuyup bitirmiş olsam da- rahmetli John Hurt Merlin'den ejderha olarak aşina olduğumuz sesiyle "No more! No more!" diye dolaşırken (inkar etmeye gerek yok) hepimizi çok etkilemişti. Bunu bilip, bu coşkulu beklentiyle okudum kitabı.
Öncelikle çok iyi bir çeviri. Aslı Dağlı okuyorsa kendisine gerçekten teşekkür etmek isterim. Savaş Doktoru zaman lordları ve dalekler nezdinde çok özel bir yere sahip, evrenin Doktor'u tanıma şeklinin en titreten hali ve bu kitap bunu kesinlikle okuyucuya geçiriyor. Ritmi düşürmeyen, bu jenerasyon doktorun hakkını veren bir hikaye olmuş.
Reviewu yaklaşık 2 yıl sonra girdim evet, çünkü "Wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff" :)
3'75⭐ Creo que esta es la novela de Doctor Who más interesante que he leído hasta la fecha. Sé que en la serie antigua y probablemente en otros medios canónicos (audiolibros o cómics, por ejemplo) se explora la civilización de los Doctores del Tiempo más a fondo con aventuras en el propio Gallifrey, pero para mí ha sido la primera vez. Por otro lado, el protagonista de esta novela es la reencarnación del Doctor que menos tiempo de pantalla ha recibido: el Doctor Guerreo o Doctor de la guerra.
Por lo tanto, pese a que el universo de Doctor Who me resulta muy conocido, Máquinas de guerra se las ha apañado para mostrarme los rincones más desconocidos para mí de esta historia, no solo en cuanto a lugares y personajes, también en cuanto al momento, y es que esta historia sucede en plena Guerra del Tiempo.
La historia sigue la estructura habitual de las aventuras del Doctor y la trama me ha parecido sólida y, como digo, cada detalle me ha parecido interesante gracias a que casi todo era nuevo para mí. No estaba solo ante recuerdo de Gallifrey que el Doctor menciona aquí y allá, sino que estaba en el mismísimo planeta de los Señores del Tiempo, viendo su no tan perfecta sociedad desde dentro y, como viene siendo habitual, en una carrera contrarreloj para detener a los Daleks.
En cuanto al Doctor, como digo, es al que menos he visto en pantalla (yo y cualquiera), así que es más difícil que con las otras novelas decidir cuánto se ajusta al personaje que nos da la pantalla. Sin embargo, creo que el autor ha hecho un buen trabajo con la caracterización teniendo en cuenta que los detalles previos de este Doctor son bastante limitados.
La acompañante es, una vez más, alguien que solo aparece en esta historia, es decir, un personaje al que no conocemos de antes y que no volveremos a ver. Cumple bien su función, sobre todo en lo que respecta a que al Doctor no se le vaya demasiado la mano y siga en contacto con la realidad sin perderse en rencillas personales.
El estilo del autor me ha gustado. Hace que te imagines sin problemas todos los escenarios y situaciones y ha conseguido crear una trama compleja, con saltos espaciales y temporales que hacen que la acción sea constante.
Como he dicho, una de las novelas canónicas de Doctor Who que más me ha gustado hasta la fecha.
Let’s begin with a disclaimer that I read this because my dad gave it to me as a Christmas gift. I don’t, generally, read media tie-in novels—or comics. Despite my abiding desire to continue Buffy or Farscape, I just can’t do it. I read—and greatly enjoyed—many of the Star Trek novels when I was a child. Nevertheless, I find that the actors bring something to their portrayal of a character that not even the best writer can capture. (The best novels are the ones by writers who manage to come close.) In the physicality of the performance, the way the actors make use of the set and the reactions of other characters, we receive so much more than mere narration and dialogue can convey.
Now, Doctor Who: Engines of War is a War Doctor novel, so that makes things more interesting. With only the one television appearance of the War Doctor, we don’t have much to go on. So George Mann has a little more latitude. That being said, I think John Hurt did an amazing job during the 50th anniversary special. So does Mann manage to capture the way the Doctor’s enthusiasm is constantly bubbling to the surface, even in this, his most serious of incarnations?
I don’t know. I don’t really have any experience to judge this sort of thing. The Doctor in this novel is just not my Doctor (any of them) because he isn’t on TV. It’s more like I’m reading Doctor Who fan-fiction … just officially sanctioned fan-fiction.
Thematically, this is a very strong work. Engines of War leads into The Day of the Doctor, showing us the events that finally galvanized the Doctor into using the Moment. As usual, it’s not the fate of billions that moves the Doctor so much as it is the sacrifice of a single human being. Time and again, we see the Doctor’s companions act as mirrors for his own morality—stopping him when he is going too far, and pushing him on when he hasn’t gone far enough.
For Doctor Who fans, this is a book full of continuity references. The Doctor’s attitude, and the Time War itself, has its origins in his fateful decision not to abort the creation of the Daleks way back in Genesis of the Daleks. That was one of the most tense moments of the entire show, and so much interesting drama has since developed out of that one question of morality.
Now on Moldox we see the Daleks testing a super-weapon that is meant to wipe out Gallifrey and win them the Time War. The Time Lords want to stop that, but with collateral damage of the billions of humans in that system. The Doctor, of course, can’t stand for that. Mann further develops the idea planted in the new series that the Time War changed the Time Lords for the worse, particularly after they resurrected the ruthless Rassilon to lead them.
The plot, by comparison, underwhelms—though I find that’s pretty common, even with the television episodes. Lots of running to and fro, little clever conversations with various characters, and then a bombastic climax in which the Doctor manages to scrape through on his brilliance and—more often than not—his companions’ heroism. It’s an easy read.
That’s about it. If you like Doctor Who, there is a lot you will enjoy in this book. If you like these novels, I suspect you’ll find this a good one. This has not changed my mind about Doctor Who novels or other tie-in novels. It was the palate-cleanser I was looking for, but I don’t feel as enriched by it as I do with most books.
(I got an ARC through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)
I very seldom read "fan" books—i.e. featuring characters from TV shows/movies. I think the last one I read was an X-Files novel, some 20 years ago, and not even its original edition/language. So keep in mind I may not be the best person to judge such stories, and try to consider them from my point of view as a reader in general.
Also, it doesn't help that I've only seen one season of Doctor Who. I love the series, but never managed to go further, because of reasons. Shame on me. Whatever. I was spoiled about a few things, and not spoiled about many others. However, I can at least give an opinion about that, and I'm happy to report that the present novel isn't of the crumbling-under-spoilers kind. If, like me, you've only seen the first season, or not many more episodes, then you already know that there was a Time War; that the Doctor is a Time Lord, and that they do regenerate upon death; that he had an important role to play during said war; and that the Daleks are, well, the Daleks.
You don't need to know more to read and enjoy Engines of War, and it won't spoil the whole series for you either. Which you may consider either a good thing (like I did), or a bad thing (if you're a seasoned Whovian who wants a lot more). Although I admit I didn't catch a few references to events that happened in episodes I didn't see, I don't think it's really a problem. This lack of background is specific to me anyway, and the story functions well even if you don't know anything about those events.
Here, the Doctor meets a new companion, Cinder (or, rather, Cinder does meet the Doctor), a young woman from Moldox. Her planet and surrounding solar system was attacked and ravaged by the Daleks, and she's been part of a doomed-to-fail resistance movement since childhood. When their paths cross, she jumps on the opportunity to leave this dying world, but soon comes to realise that it's not so easy as to just go away and find another place, because the latest Dalek-made weapon is one that would totally change the fate of universe, both in space and time, if it were to be deployed.
This book reads fairly easily, and much like an episode from the series. I wasn't always completely happy with the writing, which was sometimes a bit too "tell-not-show" to my liking, but such occurrences were actually quite sparse. There are plot hooks and cool concepts (the possibility engine, the time-wiping weapon), there are twists, we meet with a Doctor who's more jaded and hardened than the one I got to know (the Ninth one), yet still displays a lot of the "Doctor-isms" I liked on TV. The author managed to make scenes very easy to visualise, including the TARDIS's and other sounds—not so easy to do without falling into the realm of ridicule. The Time Lords are shown as just as fearsome as the Daleks, in their own ways. And Cinder is a resourceful companion for the Doctor, not just some girl tagging along. She has a reason to leave, a reason to fight, has picked useful fights along the way, and her humanity is an important anchor for the Doctor, one that deeply contrasts with Rassilon's cold, distanciated views.
This wasn't the best novel ever, but it sure was worth the few hours it took for me to read it. 3.5 stars.
Perhaps I came in with too high expectations, but I found this novel just doesn't feel epic enough. Yes there are huge fleets of saucers and TARDIS fighting, we meet Rassilon and there's plenty of Daleks, but the prose is pretty basic and the Doctor is disappointingly generic. Enjoyed the use of details from The Five Doctors and the idea of the Daleks recruiting alternative Daleks from other timelines. But compared to the Time war depicted in the BBC Eighth Doctor novels, it's all a bit of a runaround.
This book is about The Doctor between. The unacknowledged and unknown (until the 50th anniversary special) Ninth regeneration of The Doctor. He's commonly known as the War Doctor but he doesn't call himself that, "Doctor", he says he is not that person anymore. He is unworthy of his Name.
I enjoy George Mann's writing and I'm excited to see what he tells us about what The Doctor did during the Time War.
Update: 3.5 stars bumped down here to 3, because reasons.
I am a huge Whovian and I just loved this book. The writing style was great, the story was interesting, and seeing the Doctor interact with his fellow Time Lords was eye opening. I am so happy I happened to glace over at the book store and saw this sitting there ❤😌
A really solid outing for the War Doctor. I particularly liked the characterization of the Time Lords and the Doctor being at odds with them and with Rassilon throughout the story while fighting the Daleks. Of course the War Doctor feels unworthy of the name Doctor but the plot shows he is always worthy of the name through his actions.
I loved getting a look at the Doctor none of us know. He is the "in between" Doctor, and although he was in a two parter and appears in my complete Doctor Who magnet set, I know very little about him. Well, I know John Hurt plays him and that's a coup right there!
This was a terrific Doctor book. Mann really ran with the idea of this being the unknown Doctor and gave us a gritty story we would never read about Tennant's or Smith's Doctors. Maybe Capaldi's, but I'm not sure yet. Certainly none of the older Doctors. There was loss of life, war, hurting, maiming, shooting and emotional angst. Real angst. Hard choices, which are certianly not unknown to the Doctor, but choices we have not seen him make before.
Mann let us glimpse the Time Lords in a way we have not before. They are not the perfectly benevolent beings we have been led to believe (excepting the Master). They have flaws, are not universally kind, and certainly do not share our Doctor's love for humans and pretty much any other species he runs across. He shows us how depraved they were before and during the time war. We see how they reacted to it and how little they regarded the collateral damage. He does so in a way that doesn't interfere with what we do know. Sheer genius, in my opinion. I hate nothing more than when an author tells a story that gives lie to the stories we've been told by others. Behind the scenes details that change my opinion are ok, but changing actual facts is not. Mann walked that tightrope perfectly here.
I absolutely loved it. I inhaled this missing tale of the Great Time War in the span of a few hours...I simply devoured it. It captures the War Doctor's character with amazing deftness, creates a new & endearing companion in the span of a few pages, and manages a fine balance between fanwank overload & proper action/adventure. This is best read as the novelization of an imaginary, epic set of episodes that should receive the Terrance Dicks seal of approval.
An interesting story, featuring a regeneration of the Doctor that we haven't seen much in other media, as the Doctor tries to stop the Daleks developing a planet killer technology that could tip the Time War dangerously in their favour. An enjoyable read, and I could almost picture Hurt in the character. My only concern was that the 'War Doctor' just didn't seem dark enough that the later regenerations might have wiped him from their own memories...
The Day of the Doctor is the penultimate episode of the show for me, so I jumped at the chance to read this connecting novel. (Love me a small used bookstore. 😉👏)
It was highly enjoyable! The War Doctor was quite in character, and I read every line in his voice. Cinder was a fabulous companion, and I found myself understanding (and therefore side-eyeing) the Time Lords even more. I think a few of the references to Classic Who flew over my head, but what I caught was an interesting development. The glimpse into Time Lord motives made me love both the Doctor's renegade origin and also see the narrative plausibility of the Timeless Child. Wherever the show takes that next, I'm curious now. 👀
It's been a while since I've watched an episode of the show so this felt like a comforting hug. The end both touched me and then gave me chills in the next moment. 💙
CW: human experimentation, death, graves/bones, wounds sometimes described. A side character has a very tragic, potentially triggering backstory.
This was a great book, with nonstop action and intrigue. Everything in here comes at you fast, and you're left thinking about the real definition of what is right and wrong.
It felt a lot like watching one of the episodes to me. The pacing and seeing things through Cinder's point of view (through most of it) left you going through the motions, trusting and questioning the Doctor.
"With great power comes great responsibility." But, does anyone have a right to such power? And is it worth it in the end?
bir dw kitabının daha sonuna geldik, bu seriyi bitirmek beni normalden daha çok zorladı çünkü dw kitaplarını okumak için yoğun bir zamanı seçmiş bulundum ve sonunda bununda sonuna geldik! diğer iki kitaba göre bu bana biraz kitap daha biraz daha yavaş geldi ama yinede güzeldi her defasında sanki sezondan bir dizi izliyormuş gibi hissediyorum!
Да, посмотреть на Доктора времен опустошительной войны с далеками было как минимум интересно. Незамутненная ярость, разочарование в собственном народе, смертные приговоры от Mr. Everybody Lives многого стоят. Я приготовилась к восхвалению книги как одной из самых «темных» в истории Доктора (военные действия, беспрестанные убийства, необычайно жестокие и противоестественные далековы эксперименты), но уже в первой трети она растеряла часть своего мрачного очарования. И я виню в этом таймлордов.
Когда на сцене появилась братия в балахонах, я застыла в предвкушении перепалок между двумя сильнейшими персонажами – Доктором и Рассилоном. Что я получила? Первый ненадолго воссиял в своем гневе, а второй показал себя картонным злодеем, который видит только один путь решения проблемы. Начальник таймлордов – это ходячая табличка «все умрут, а таймлорды останутся», а от господина повелителя времени и пространства хотелось бы если не человечности, то хотя бы использования накопленной мудрости. Пожертвовать другими во имя собственного выживания – ок, но потом нечего удивляться, что на тебя войной пошла третья сторона. Ну, далеки – одержимые жаждой убийства уродцы, что с них взять, а вот кое-кто только что подписал смертный приговор миллионам невинных душ, просто потому что винтиков не хватило придумать иной выход из ситуации. Да и в целом таймлорды показали себя садистами с завышенным ЧСВ; Доктор был ой как прав, когда ставил их на одну ступень с далеками. На фоне таких однозначно отрицательных персонажей история приобретает направление «Доктор против всех», и его геройство блекнет – ему (пока что) не приходится принимать серьезных и разрушительных в своем исходе решений, ведь все было понятно после первого же разговора с Рассилоном. А ведь какие роскошные терки можно было бы ввернуть в сюжетную канву, устроить противостояние между двумя совсем не глупыми героями, каждый из которых преследует свои цели, закрутить одного из них в глубокий эмоциональный кризис, добавить политических интриг и придать хотя бы видимость внутреннего конфликта. Но нет – вместо этого Манн подает блюдо из абстрактного Совета таймлордов, который принимает решения за весь народ и не видит дальше собственного носа, и простого как пробка конфликта с мотивацией «вы идиоты, есть другой путь». Стойкое ощущение, что весь Рассилонов план был рассчитан на то, что Доктор рванется всех спасать.
Отставив в сторону таймлордову тему, не могу не упомянуть об упущенных важных мелочах. Состояние войны между двумя заранее обговоренными фракциями дает небольшую возможность для маневра, поэтому в сюжетном плане никаких претензий – Манн постарался на славу. Примочки, которыми хвастаются обе стороны, доставляют (the possibility engine особенно), а сеттинг в виде планеты Молдокс оказался даже поинтереснее величественного Галлифрея. Но чего книге точно не хватало, так это связок, которые придали бы хоть какую-то индивидуальность истории. Например, в какой-то момент герой попадает на планету, куда ему путь заказан (вплоть до смены протоколов), умудряется угадать верное время для приземления и к тому же не столкнуться с идейным противником, который частенько захаживает в то же самое место. У меня в голове уже развернулась возможная раскадровка «как ему это удалось», а что сделал Манн? Одним предложением описал приземление – и все. Зато вставил гигантских ящериц – до неприличия банальный сюжетный катализатор. А хотелось побольше Докторских фишек, всякие timey-wimey пояснения необыкновенно обогащают повествование и лишний раз напоминают, что это не просто какой-то ��бстрактный мужик прилетел куда-то на космическом корабле, а все же Доктор.
Реабилитация подкралась незаметно. Должна признаться, что волна ангста, набежавшая на берега финальных глав, частично восстановила доверие к книге. Идущие напролом носороги-таймлорды оказались задвинуты в угол, и на первый план вышла та самая задача с трагическими исходами, когда выбор одного человека решает судьбу не просто миллионов, но возможно всей Вселенной – однако для этого надо пожертвовать кем-то близким. Дилемма, которая разрывает сердечные переборки и наполняет грустью еще до того, как окончательно сформирована. (Кстати, к вопросу о финале: почему нельзя было скорректировать историю глобально и не ограничиваться одной системой?)
Для меня эта книга оказалась прежде всего о том, насколько похожи далеки и таймлорды. Да, пускай первые хотят уничтожить весь мир, а вторые их остановить да спасти свои драгоценные задницы – в остальном, особенно в методах, они мало отличаются друг от друга. Одни проникают во все щели времени и пространства и плодятся как кролики, попутно используя любой подручный материал, другие усиленно воюют с первыми и тоже не гнушаются модифицировать себя любимых в процессе. Плюс все они спят и видят, как бы создать такое мега-оружие, чтобы раз и навсегда стереть своих недругов в порошок. Про жертвы вообще молчу. И да – основной линией проходит усталость Доктора от войны и потерь, которые она приносит. А также гнев, перерастающий в ярость, и бесконечная печаль, из которых и рождается обещание: NO MORE.
Many Doctor Who fans were a bit disgruntled last year when, amongst the 50th anniversary celebrations, Steven Moffat ret-conned in a completely new Doctor between the Paul McGann and Christopher Eccleston incarnations. It could only ever be a one-off, of course – John Hurt is the most accomplished, high-profile actor to play the part on television (and I say that with the utmost respect for all 12 of his fellow Doctors but there is no denying it). That means he’s far too in-demand as an actor to commit to more, and the nature of his incarnation – The War Doctor – means even the Doctor’s future selves were unwilling to count him as one of them.
Other stories featuring this character are going to be few and far between. This gives a talented writer the chance to work across a blank canvass. Enter George A Mann, who gives us this snapshot of the Time War, just as the Daleks are starting to use a weapon which could shift the balance in their favour. It’s both Doctor Who and not Doctor Who, and it’s a triumph.
It helps that John Hurt’s voice is so distinctive, but Mann captures this Doctor’s essence perfectly. Here we see the mix of world-weariness, compassion and self-reproach that marked the character in the very short time we saw him on screen. We understand his reluctance to take a companion, and aren’t entirely surprised to see his fears come true (I don’t think that’s really a spoiler, surely?).
We also share his disdain for his fellow Time Lords, in scenes which really demonstrate the continuity between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ series. In Mann’s hands, the Time Lords are every bit as devious, arrogant, pompous and complacent as Robert Holmes and subsequent TV writers held them to be, and the Doctor is resolute in his stance that he supports them solely because their victory in the Time War represents the least worst option.
Thanks to the character development Virgin, BBC Books, Big Finish and the DWM comic strips undertook between 1990 and 2005, this is all familiar territory, but the book is no worse for that. The refreshing thing is seeing it all through the eyes of a less familiar incarnation of our hero. How will he respond to people, attitudes and situations we’ve seen his fellow incarnations tackle before? The answer is – as well as can be expected, frankly! It neither proves nor disproves the theory Terrance Dicks always posited, that the Doctor is basically the same whatever incarnation he happens to be in, but instead treads a thin line between similarity and difference in a deceptively easy manner.
I am amazed how much of this book feels absolutely ‘right’, and how well George A Mann handles the brief he’s been given. I wouldn’t want to see a whole new series of books featuring the War Doctor, as I think he may be largely better left to the imagination. But the occasional foray certainly wouldn’t go amiss – just so long as they could reach the heights scaled by this one.
Well done to BBC Books for coming up with an idea and running with it so well.
This was an awesome treat for me as I am a major Doctor Who fan girl! I always love reading what authors come up with for the Doctor when he is off stage :)
This book is the Doctor between. He is sometimes known as the War Doctor but he says he had a name and no longer uses it as he is not that person anymore. He is unworthy of his Name. He is jaded and gruff and completely disillusioned with his race and his people. The war has gone on too long and pushed him too far. He has had about enough.
Cinder lives on a planet under Dalek control . All she has done for as long as she can remember is run and hide or fight. Her people are in a war they cannot hope to win... Only hope they can take some Daleks down along the way and survive another day. She has no hope at all until she meets the strange man in the blue box who refuses to give her his name.
This highly imaginative action packed thrill ride takes place during the Time War after it has been going on for as long as anyone can remember. It is a grand sweeping adventure that gives you a peak at Gallifrey and the War Doctor. It was loads of fun to read and I will definitely read more Doctor Who books by this author!
***This book is suitable for young adult through adult readers
The things I liked about the book: The companion, Cinder, was a good companion for The Doctor, willing to do what she thought was needed to defeat the Daleks, and aid The Doctor. She was a well-rounded character, that played well in the story. The story felt like a Doctor Who story. I rarely read fan fiction, yet I found this enjoyable and it fits well in the Doctor Who universe. There was a great balance of action, plot-lines, and character development. The Daleks were wonderfully evil and corrupt....and so were the main Galifreyans - which fit with the Whovian universe as it was described in "The Day of The Doctor".
The things that I didn't like: First off, the type-setting was rather disruptive, at points. Trying to get a lot of words shoved onto one line, only makes for one, long, run-together word. It's ugly to look at and disrupts the flow of reading. A final editing run-through would have helped, also. I would have liked to have seen more character development for this particular Doctor. He was The Doctor, but he felt too much like the 11th Doctor, and not enough like The War Doctor.
This first (for me, anyway) glimpse into the Great Time War between the Time Lords and the Daleks, with the enigmatic War Doctor (played by John Hurt), although the Time Lord whose TARDIS crash-lands no longer claims the name; he's a different man now.
Bumping into Cinder, almost literally, they search out the horrifying true intent of the Daleks on Moldox, but find the truth of their own lives at the same time.
With the growing realization of the full extent of the Daleks' plan - hiding in time, multiplying in quiet eras till the right time to strike - we also see the Doctor from the Daleks' perspective and a unique view from Cinder: someone who knows the arrogance and hubris of the Time Lords, and can recognize the importance of the schism between him and the rest of his kind.
We know what's going to happen, but as always with the Doctor, we can't see how, and therein lies his genius.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
While I certainly appreciated the glimpse into the Time War and the references to several Classic Who stories, the writing quality was bad enough to be a distraction. Among other things, the abundance of 'seeming' nearly gave me a headache. It was overly juvenile--kind of like something I'd probably write (and no one wants to read what I write).
The side characters are an interesting bunch. The War Doctor is a character I would love to see more of. It was mildly shocking for a New Who book to end so darkly.
On a more nit-picky note, the 'time battles' that happened in this story were pretty pathetic compared to some of the War in Heaven shenanigans that go on in the Eighth Doctor Adventures.
Wow. Loved this novel from start to finish. What really impressed me most was how writer George Mann skilfully fleshed out a great deal of key mythology barely hinted at in the new series with some great original ideas, while enhancing them with some classic Who continuity that never feels out of place. It's also impressive how he's combined a gritty sci-fi/war story with elements of the classic Doctor Who template. While the ending felt a little anti-climactic and deus ex machina, overall the book succeeded incredibly well at telling a full-on Time War story as well as exploring the War Doctor. I hope we get more novels exploring this period of the show's mythology soon.
Hello again to my readers! Last time I promised I’d review one more unrelated audio release before returning to Sir Terry and friends. After some consideration I’ve returned to Doctor Who once again but not one of a certain audio drama company’s releases. Engines Of War is a release by BBC Books from 2014 starring The War Doctor as played in the 50th anniversary celebrations – The Day Of The Doctor – by the late lamented Sir John Hurt.
For those of you who are unsure of The War Doctor, think of him as a version of The Doctor who – on the surface – has lost most of his idealistic tendencies and has become very jaded and worn by the atrocities of The Great Time War between the Time Lords and Daleks. Both sides have committed heinous acts and thousands of worlds have been turned to dust or killing fields.
But it is time to discuss the plot of Engines Of War. The Doctor – leading a flotilla of Battle TARDISes against one of many Dalek strongholds – is attacked and sent crashing to a planet down below. Moldox. But what’s happening on this world? Why would the Daleks round up the humans on this world rather than exterminate them all? They aren’t following any of their usual strategies. What are they planning? And what will be the consequences of informing the Time Lords when the plan will be revealed?
This story is a personal favourite of mine. The War Doctor is expertly written as the war veteran who just wants the fight to be over. He doesn’t feel worthy of his previous ideals. Can he bring himself to take another companion given the events of the war? And just how has it changed him? And that’s not even counting the companion for the story.
I won’t give away too much about Cinder. In a way this story is almost more hers than it is the Doctor’s. She reminds me a lot of Ace in several good ways and acts as a good balance to this version of The Doctor. The writer George Mann has clearly put lots of effort into both their characterisation and his vivid descriptions which make the story an absolute joy to visualise even if the story itself is appropriately grim for the setting.
The narration is performed very well indeed by the ‘Voice Of The Daleks’ himself Nicholas Briggs. Mr Briggs does an excellent job with all the required parts. His narration as the War Doctor is perfect with exactly the right tone and level of sadness and bitterness and more than a little playfulness during some of his interactions with Cinder. His portrayal of Cinder is very good as well making sure that the listener is able to empathise with this new – and somewhat acerbic – character. Briggs also makes use of the same ring modulator technology to voice the Daleks in the audiobook as is used in the TV show itself. Their sadistic streak is more than apparent in Nicholas’s Briggs’s performance. Although my personal favourite performance by Briggs is his take on Rassilon the Time Lord President and – to a degree – great hero of legend.
This version of Rassilon has been somewhat tainted by the war and is more than a little uncaring and vicious towards all others. All Rassilon cares about by now is Rassilon and to a lesser degree other Time Lord lives. His portrayal makes it clear that Nicholas Briggs practically relishes playing this version of the character and his and The Doctor’s interactions can be rather entertaining to say the least!
This story is extremely enjoyable even if Doctor Who isn’t your kind of thing normally. It makes a rather gripping war story with well executed motivations and good explanations for things if you have no context with Doctor Who lore and history. I really hope some of my readers will join me in reading or listening to Engines Of War as it is thanks to Engines Of War that I know of George Mann. He is genuinely one of those authors whose work I always look forward to and I’m always glad whenever a new story comes out – be it Doctor Who related, Holmes related or his original work – which I also highly recommend.
In conclusion if it sounds even slightly interesting to you or if you are just curious or if you are – or at one point were – a Doctor Who fan grab a copy and read or listen to your heart’s content. The story is more than worth it! Next time I will return to Sir Terry and Neil Gaiman. Namely my originally planned review of the BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Good Omens and then one more Pratchett review done – for the first time – by reader request.