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The Curse of Fenric

by Ian Briggs

Book Review by Jeff Stone

When I read the Target novel of Remembrance of the Daleks, written so capably by Ben Aaronovitch, I felt sure that this was THE Doctor Who novel, the one that stood head and shoulders above the rest. Well, I was fortunately mistaken - Ian Briggs, in writing The Curse of Fenric book, has made it the best Target novel ever written.

It's always a plus if the writer of the script writes the novel, as he/she is the only one who knows everything about the story and can flesh it out without ruining continuity. Mr Briggs has indeed fleshed his story out - most of the missing footage is reinstated, all the puzzling aspects of the plot are fully explained and each character is given special attention. In The Curse of Fenric, Briggs has done that rare thing - he has made the story's characters 'come to life' on the page. We see aspects in the main players that we did not see on-screen - the deep guilt of Reverend Wainwright, the insanity of Commander Millington and the pure, unsullied evil of Fenric and his army of Haemovores.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that every page is a joy to read and some of the best bits of the story are the 'Documents' that give background information to the main tale. Document IV, 'The First Contest Of Fenric', is the best by far - it relates the first confrontation between "Aboo-Fenran" (Fenric) and "El Dok-Tar" (guess who). The only bad point, in my opinion, of the book is the rather silly epilogue which implies that Ace leaves the Doctor and goes to live with Captain Sorin's great-grandfather in 19th Century Paris! Naff.

This aside, The Curse of Fenric by Ian Briggs is an incredible book that sets the standard for other Target novels to follow. As so many people said about Remembrance, "beg, buy, borrow or steal this book - it's a classic". Never has a truer word been spoken!

This item appeared in TSV 22 (April 1991).

Index nodes: The Curse of Fenric