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by Peter Darvill-Evans

Book review by Jon Preddle

As the editor of The New Adventures Peter Darvill-Evans has the unique advantage of knowing the outcome of each book as it is being written. This has allowed him to base his own around the other as yet unpublished novels.

He has carefully worked in the New Adventures' own continuity, so the book becomes a sequel of sorts to both Warhead and Love and War. There is even a hint that the events on the Earth colony Arcadia were instrumental in the creation of the Timewyrm! We are also finally given an explanation of what actually happened to the TARDIS during the Cat's Cradle trilogy - something not given at the time.

Darvill-Evans has also borrowed concepts from the Marvel comic strip. The main tie-in concerns the Dalek Killer, Abslom Daak, who was introduced in Doctor Who Weekly 17. Given Daak's occupation, one would be forgiven for assuming that the Daleks are somehow involved in the plot, but as is stated in the book, there are no Daleks on Arcadia; Daak's presence is for a much more complex reason. Deceit is carefully linked to another Abslom Daak comic strip, Nemesis of the Daleks, which began in Doctor Who Magazine 152. An amusing sub-plot arises from this, in which Ace, who knows the role Daak will play in the destruction of the Daleks' Death Wheel, finds herself having to keep the Dalek killer alive in order to preserve that destiny. Daak himself comes across as a cross between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone - all muscle and no brain - with a lust for Ace to boot!

Deceit serves as Ace's reintroduction to the New Adventures, and in his dedication, Darvill-Evans hopes Ian Briggs and Sophie Aldred still like her! Actually, apart from her new rough exterior, I didn't find Ace that much different. Although she is three years older, stronger and wiser than when she left the Doctor in Love and War, she still uses interesting metaphors, nitro-nine, and carries a baseball bat.

Ace comes to Arcadia with a squad of troopers come to deliver a secret weapon - Daak. The other troopers are there for no other reason than to be killed off in graphic detail, as indeed most of them are. It is obvious that Darvill-Evans drew upon the film Aliens for inspiration here; in places his character Defries reminded me of Vasquez from the movie.

The Doctor's involvement seems rather forced; Ace contacts him using a device she took with her on Heaven. He and Bernice then arrive on Arcadia and are soon separated (just as they were in the last four books!). As usual, the Doctor seems to know precisely what is going on, and in fact is responsible for it all!

Although she and the Doctor have been together for some time, Bernice is still unsure about him. She shows her maternal nature when she takes a young Arcadian waif, Elaine, under her wing; another plot device borrowed from Aliens.

This item appeared in TSV 34 (July 1993).

Index nodes: Deceit