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Doctor Who: The English Way of Death

(Virgin Missing Adventures #20)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  278 ratings  ·  31 reviews
The Doctor, Romana and K-9 arrive in 1930s L ondon to return some overdue library books. They plan to tak e a rest after their recent adventures, but Romana detects a distress signal from the future and the Doctor is attacked by a suffocating green mist. ' ...more
Paperback, 1st, 279 pages
Published April 1st 1996 by Virgin Publishing
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Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  278 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Whereas some Doctor Who novels fail because they throw all manner of random elements together but can’t make them all coalesce into a coherent whole. Gareth Roberts’ absolute genius in ‘The English Way of Death’ is that he takes all kinds of disparate ideas – fashionable London of the 1920s, your actual brain-eating zombies, an Italian adventuress, gas which isn’t just poisonous but actually murderous, a bluff colonel of the Agatha Christie regiment, an unpleasant biscuit magnate, and time trave ...more
Mar 12, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Doctor, Romana and K9 arrive in 1930’s London only to encounter zombies posed by horrible smelling cloud of alien green gas.

It’s a great fun adventure that easily evokes that era of the television series that it’s set.
Plenty of humour and horror throughout!
Nicholas Whyte
Aug 23, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014, 1409, doctor, who, xo, 4th, romana, ma, k9[return][return]It's a fairly standard story, with zombies and a disembodies evil mist, but gives some excellent lines to the Doctor, Romana and K9, as they romp around the English countryside of the 1930s saving the world again. What makes it of interest for New Who fans is that Gareth Roberts used the same time period for the Ten/Donna TV story The Unicorn and the Wasp - it doesn't lean too heavily on the earlier book, but the background is there if yo ...more
Scott Haworth
Near perfect Doctor Who. Good humor, good horror. Loads of fun to read.
Troy Hinton-Winrow
"They were about to die after all, so the gesture was unlikely to be misconstrued later."

Gareth Roberts' work tends to be rather hit or miss. Not due to fluctuation in the actual quality of his writing, but the subjectivity in the range of humour used. As the title suggests, this novel is riffing on a very specific niche of British culture and without the context of it, there is little to get out of the purposeful - and wonderfully realised - caricatures standing in for deeper characters. Nor th
David Layton
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
The English Way of Death follows the joking, send-up style of the 1979 Doctor Who to a fault. Basically, a pastiche of 1930s society novels, this one has The Doctor, Romana, and K9 fighting a living, green cloud that smells like rotting vegetables that wants to destroy the Earth just because it can, and goes to enormous lengths to accomplish it, mostly by creating zombies. Joining our crew are a writer of mediocre detective novels looking for "artsy" types to boost her social life, a bunch of ti ...more
Danny Welch
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An incredibly fun story set in the 1930's with some interesting characters and plenty of horror. Gareth Roberts truly has a knack for writing the season 17 Tardis Team, and this story is no exception. A very fast paced and engaging story with plenty of scares and lots of delicious wit and humour to enjoy. All the characters felt very developed and the concepts were very intriguing. I don't think this is quite as good as The Romance of Crime but it's still a solid 9/10! ...more
Dec 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: doctor-who
One of the better Doctor Who adaptations I've read. Decent supporting characters, well portrayed fan favorites in K-9 and Romona. If anything it's the Doctor himself who's a bit weak here. Things seem to keep happening _to_ him and not only is the not in the driver's seat, he doesn't display much agency at all. Still, I'd recommend this to anyone who is a fan of the 4th Doctor during his time with Romona and K-9.

Trevor Smith
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you've read any of Gareth Roberts splendid 4th Doctor, Romana and K9 novels you know what to expect with this novel.
Splendidly written, great characters, wonderful funny plot and the TARDIS crew written so well and with so much obvious love.
Another wonderful addition to the Gareth Roberts cannon.
Dec 04, 2019 rated it liked it
The Doctor and Romana face zombies from space in the 1930's.
It could be marvelous, but it's just a good story that captures the feel of the 4th Doctor's era. The problem? Well, it's a book written in the 1990's that feels like TV from the 1970's. There could be more depth to it or it could be more ambitious. As it is it's nice enough, you know, like biscuits. Made me laugh.
Trae Stratton
Aug 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: doctor-who
Good villain, well written but the Doctor is off camera for extensive pages- reminiscent of a bar play where everyone gets equal time. The Doctor is the star, he demands much more of the spotlight then he gets here.
Mark Short
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very entertaining book. The characterizations are excellent. The plot speeds along with good action sequences. Highly recommended.
Matthew Barnes
Really a 3.5
milton fenton
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A cracking read

The doctor is up to his neck in this fantastic novel another reason to stick to the old doctors. Very enjoyable
David Sarkies
Jan 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Doctor Who Fans
Recommended to David by: My friend Paul
Shelves: sci-fi
Doctor who and the brain eating zombies
28 January 2012

I guess what attracted me to this novel was the front cover, and also because it was Doctor Who. This was a time between the two incarnations of the series and the only things that we could turn to to get our Doctor Who fix, or at least a fix from an original story, was the novels. Things have changed now, and with the new Doctor Who series (and the multiple spinoffs) we also have a new series of books based on the new Doctor and his compani
Jacqueline O.
The English Way of Death is an original story in Virgin Publishing's Missing Doctor book series. It features the Fourth Doctor, as played by Tom Baker, Romana II, as played by Lalla Ward, and K-9. The Doctor unplugs the randomizer that is supposed to keep he and Romana safe from the Black Guardian so he can return some over-due library books.
Soon he and Romana are involved in events, which include admonishing a group of time-travelling tourists from the future - and stopping an evil alien menace
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: doctor-who
Pitch-perfect Doctor Who story seamlessly plucked from season 17. Gareth Roberts totally nailed the knockabout fun of that most bonkers of years. It contains loads of scenes which couldn't be realised on TV, featuring zombies every bit as gruesome as on The Walking Dead, but it never stops being a romp. K-9 has never been funnier and the Colonel is such a great creation. Simply my favourite non-Target Doctor Who novel. ...more
Chris Wing
Feb 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: doctor-who
A solid fourth Doctor yarn, evoking the period it is set in (both in terms of genre and chronology of Doctor Who)

It seems that Gareth Roberts, whilst fearing this becoming a cliched observation), was born to write for the fourth Doctor. This, his second venture into the adventures of the fourth Doctor and Romana II, observes a Geeves and Woucester genre pastiche, a polar opposite to his previous book (set in the far future, out in space), but nontheless perfectly captures that era of Doctor Who.
James Lark
May 03, 2016 added it
Shelves: doctor-who
As in 'The Romance of Crime', Roberts captures the atmosphere of season 17 perfectly. Perhaps a little too perfectly: although this would have made for an agreeable romp on TV, it all feels a little too lightweight to sustain a novel, and I found my attention wandering at times because, world-threatening psychopath notwithstanding, it is all rather inconsequential. It doesn't do Gareth Roberts any favours to bring up the oft-cited similarities with Douglas Adams (who WOULD benefit from such a co ...more
Ian Banks
Aug 27, 2016 rated it liked it

Pretty ordinary: a whole lot of promising ideas weave themselves into a coherent and interesting story but just fail to grab my interest. I liked the structure of the story, the fact that it contains my favourite Tardis Team and how it mirrored the Classic series, as well as the conceit that everything that happened could just possibly be conceived upon the budget of Series 17, except possibly for K9 moving on the beach. Also, I may have imagined it, but I think Mr Roberts was sneaking song lyri

Christopher Buchanan
A P.G. Wodehouse style Doctor Who story. I've seen this attempted before in a more recent novel and it come out very poorly. Roberts has done a remarkable job of it here though. The blithe English banter and dry humor peppered across a dark landscape of malign alien intelligences and zombie intrigue makes for a very entertaining read.

The characters are well developed, if a bit cliche, but I suspect that was intentional. Roberts does the 4th Doctor well and that is a difficult task in print. So
Nov 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I have to say this didn't make me giggle quite as much as the first one but it was still brilliant. K9 had some amazing lines! The doctor and Romana were perfect!! (though unfortunately didn't have enough scenes together). The minor characters were all pretty funny and enjoyable. There were evil mist zombies that wanted brains! And retired time travellers! And the Doctor trying to return some library books to a library very close to where I used to work! There's one other Gareth Roberts Romana I ...more
Daniel Kukwa
May 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: doctor-who
Trust Gareth Roberts to toss the 4th Doctor, the 2nd Romana, and prissy old K9 at the 1930s English seaside, simply to watch them mess-up everything & everyone around delightful effect. Consider it a successful prose practice-run for similar historical ambitions with the 10th Doctor & Donna in the 1920s, in Roberts' script for "The Unicorn & the Wasp".
Nov 28, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, doctor-who
It's hard to rate a sci fi t.v. tie-in novel. This isn't fine literature. But as far as these Doctor Who new adventures go, this one is better than most. The characterization of Tom Baker's Doctor is correct and the supporting characters in this story are entertaining. Surprisingly, there's quite a few good jokes along the way. A fun, easy commute-to-work read. ...more
Apr 06, 2014 rated it liked it
A novel which perfectly captures the era when Doctor Who was The Tom Baker Show. The story itself is uninspired.
Ben Reed
A decent story. Slow in the beginning, solid in the middle with a rather disappointing ending. Still it's a fourth doctor story with K9. ...more
Gareth Roberts is one of the good ones. If you're a Whovian, you will never be disappointed with his writing, and it'll feel like getting ankle-deep into a classic episode. This was no exception. ...more
Aug 30, 2015 rated it liked it
2015 READING CHALLENGE: A book based on a film/TV show
Stephen Hartwell
A top notch read. Roberts manages to craft a novel that happily slots into its era and packs a real punch with both the plot and characters. Highly recommended.
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
( Winter Reading Bingo- by a lgbt author)

This was pretty good. An adventure that actually feels like a serial.

( and now I think a Big Finish relisten might be in order :))
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Gareth Roberts has written TV scripts for various soap operas (including Brookeside, Springhill, and Emmerdale), Randall & Hopkirk (deceased), the revival of Doctor Who, the Sarah Jane Adventures, and Wizards vs Aliens.

Also for the Doctor Who universe, he has written the interactive adventure Attack of the Graske, the mobile phone TARDISODEs accompanying the 2006 series, several Big Finish audios,

Other books in the series

Virgin Missing Adventures (1 - 10 of 34 books)
  • Doctor Who: Goth Opera
  • Doctor Who: Evolution
  • Doctor Who: Venusian Lullaby
  • Doctor Who: The Crystal Bucephalus
  • Doctor Who: State of Change
  • Doctor Who: The Romance of Crime
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