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Doctor Who: Dreams of Empire

(Past Doctor Adventures #14)

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  568 ratings  ·  73 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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Average rating 3.63  · 
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 ·  568 ratings  ·  73 reviews

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Branwen Sedai *of the Brown 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
Jun 29, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a story featuring the Second Doctor and his companions Jamie and Victoria. I have never watched the Second Doctor and didn't know what he was like - and I still don't feel like i know what he was like. I did like the interaction between Jamie and Victoria, but that was the only part of this novel I enjoyed. The story was about some sci-fi version of Old Rome and chess - which should be engaging, but really really wasn't.
Feb 29, 2016 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
Nov 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
On a fortress built into an asteroid on the frontier of the Haddron Empire rests Hans Keysar. Formerly one of the three consuls of the republic, he is a prisoner after a failed attempt to become emperor that resulted in a debilitating civil war. Now on the eve of a visit by Milton Trayx — his friend, former co-consul and victor in the civil war — someone is engineering a plan of escape. But that plan doesn't factor in the unexpected arrival of the Doctor and his companions Jamie and Victoria, wh ...more
Rob Cook
A solid Second Doctor adventure, I liked the humour between The Doctor and his companions Jamie and Victoria.
Jamie and Victoria do feel a bit sidelined at times (the story probably would have held its own as a companion lite tale). I did get a bit lost with the numerous secondary characters, many of which didn't have much depth to them. I liked the twist towards the end.
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
Dec 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
A brilliant take on the Second Doctor.
One of the central strands of the story is chess and there are other Doctor's incarnations that you would have though had suited the story better (mainly Seventh) but it works surprisingly well.
May 22, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, dw
⟶ 3.5/5 stars

I'm sort of lost on the context with which to judge this book like. Should I compare it to Doctor Who serials? Audios? To other books, DW or no? In any case, for any of them, I think it's solid and I had a lot of fun reading it. It made me genuinely invested in the one off supporting cast, which definitely speaks to its standalone worth as a book, and the characterization of the Doctor and co. wasn't that off. The setting was really rich and cool and it reminds me that while DW is g
Feb 20, 2014 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
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
Mar 08, 2019 rated it liked it
I usually don't expect much from novels I find at the bottom of the discount bin, but Dreams of Empire - despite its many flaws - was laced with a lot of positive surprises. Despite Doctor Who's general omnipotence, he doesn't actually feature all that much in the development of the plot (and his companions have little to zero involvement at all), save for neatly wrapping up the story at the end, and also unknowingly getting one character murdered, (a fact that the Doctor never becomes aware of) ...more
Sara Habein
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Much like the actual military, this tale of soldiers vying for dominance was a lot of "hurry up and wait." It took until the second half of the story for things to kick off, and once they did, there was a level of violence that is quite unlike a regular DW story, a distinct relishing in the villains' cruelty at times. Also, I did not care for the way Richards describes the women, of which there are very few. Even in times of stress or action, their bodies are described with cheap, schoolboy long ...more
Daniel Kukwa
Jun 22, 2016 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 impress ...more
Sarah M.
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
I'm watching Classic Who lately!

This novel, I'm not sure about. I think the characterization is a little clunky. As fanfiction, it'd be great. As published work, I'm not sure.

However, it's fun. I enjoyed reading it enough to read it cover to cover. I'd recommend it if you're looking for something fun.
Matthew Abbott
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, doctor-who
Firstly, the collection from which this book is a part of is a gloriously presented set; each story's cover has been resigned for this 50th anniversary release with a lovely white cover with a arty representation of each doctor on the covers. They do look stunning, and each story contains a foreword by the author about how they came to write their Doctor's novel and any challenges they may have faced throughout the writing process.

One of the challenges, Justin Richard's writes, is how this Doct
I am a big fan of Doctor Who and had none of the books. The BBC decided to release a series of books that had previously been published, one featuring each iteration of the Doctor. Naturally intended to be read in order.

This is the book selected to feature the Second Doctor. I don’t know this one very well - his thing was periodically pulling out a recorder (musical instrument) and play a bit while he is thinking. His companions for the adventure are Jamie and Victoria. I believe I saw one tele
Jan 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Justin Richards hit the characterizations of the 2nd Doctor, Jamie McCrimmon, and Victoria Waterfield all spot on. This book was a slow burn with a flash fire ending. Or maybe it was a dumpster fire. The world building was superb and the characters within the world stayed true to themselves; no one did anything out of character. I had a difficult time following the plot of this story to the point where I had to wonder if there was a plot. I usually like Richards' writing but Dreams of Empire lef ...more
Feb 05, 2019 rated it liked it
It was an ok story. The Second Doctor, traveling with Polly and Jamie end up in a place similar to the late Roman Republic. A civil war ended with a weakened Republic but hopes of empire remain in some. The story takes place in a kind of open prison where the losers of the civil war are treated very well. There is a lot of chess involved and a lot of understanding between both sides. It was a bit too congenial for me. There would have been bad feeling after a civil war. It is inevitable. Also, t ...more
Justin Partridge
All in all, pretty fun! I think the wonderful world building and set design of the Stardial get kinda lost in the really “actiony” middle BUT the resolution was REALLY fun. and a really charmingly brutal example of how effective The Second Doctor is at playing the fool while secretly being on the stick the whole time.

Other things I liked, the chess motif. The concept of a society having to live with the choices it’s made in genesis. Jamie and Victoria being adorable. It was just a fun read! Cer
Jan 03, 2020 rated it liked it
I have to admit I wasn't as....sucked in with this one as I was with previous books. It was still a good story and you can tell a lot of thought went into it and there were genuinely some exciting bits filled with action and suspense, but somehow I just didn't enjoy it as much.

Maybe if I was more of a chess player I might have gotten more out of it. Plus the idea of the intelligent robot VETACs were really cool.

That said the intrigue really seemed to pick up towards the end and I was happier w
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
May 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: doctor-who
Thoroughly enjoyable second doctor adventure which does a great of capturing this TARDIS team perfectly (something of rarity). The politcial intirgue is kind of fun, even if all the twists are fairly predictable. However, it does do the rather annoying sci-fi idea of having another culture exactly like our history only more futuristic (see Stark Trek: Bread and Circuses for example).
Bernard O'Leary
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Terrific. Space Romans, political skullduggery and a great base under siege story, plus a lovely portrayal of the Second Doctor. Shame Richards didn't take the chance to write slightly more progressive female characters, but I suppose the world was very different back when he wrote it (the late 90s).
Markéta Effenbergerová
Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was so wonderful to read. I love Second Doctor and his goofiness so much. #teamspacehobo
It's incredible how well Justin Richards depicted Two's body language and facial expressions which change all the time so much??
The story was really good, space Romans, robots, conspiracies and the Doctor with his companions in the middle of it all - beautiful.
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There were a few points where the narrative commented on the female characters' looks in a way I didn't like, but on the whole I enjoyed it enough to put up with that. Also, having been reading 90s Doctor Who books continuously for several months now, I have to say I've come across several examples way, way worse than anything here.
Ash Pappas
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been a Doctor Who fan for a while now, so maybe I'm biased. However, I loved this book! The adventures were wonderful, and it kept you guessing at every turn. I would recommend!
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perfectly depicts the second doctor, even if a little too obsessed with chess.
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This and other Justin Richards books reviewed here: ...more
Aug 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Thoroughly enjoyed it.
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
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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

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Past Doctor Adventures (1 - 10 of 77 books)
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