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Cat's Cradle: Witch Mark

by Andrew Hunt

Book review by Jessica Smiler

Witch Mark is undoubtedly the best of the three Cat's Cradle books. At last we have a (sort of) happy ending. The cat, although doing very little, at least had a reason for existence. Ace was true to form, nitro-9 and all, and I felt that the mention of the Cheetah People was well integrated into the plot - nice to actually see a connection with the series.

The Doctor was excellently portrayed and the supporting 'cast' was strong. What I loved about this book was the air of magic and fantasy. It was rather akin to Battlefield with all the mythological and legendary characters, and a sci-fi twist at the end which I felt didn't quite come off.

In fact, the only problem I have with the entire book is that the ending was rather rushed. Everything came to a hurried conclusion and several questions were left unanswered. The major ones are how was Old Davy related to Herne; also what about Janet and Hugh?

The faerie/fantasy feel to the tale clashed rather badly with the sci-fi ending which seemed more like a quickie scientific explanation for the story.

If you like faerie tales or strange and mysterious happenings, combined with something rotten in the state of Wales, then this is the book for you.

I wonder what the Brigadier's going to think when he gets his very own herd of unicorns for a present. He was probably only expecting a tie!

Book review by Clinton Spencer

I was not expecting very much from this novel. I've never had a huge interest in fantasy (probably because it's barely appeared in Doctor Who), so I was pleasantly surprised with the novel.

It takes the ideas of Doctor Who and successfully puts them in a new fantasy setting. The book is well written with a style that presents a battle between good and evil in a conventional way. Andrew Hunt does not attempt to write in a surreal or mould-breaking manner (that most New Adventures try to do), therefore I believe anyone could pick up this book and enjoy it.

The book has a large number of well-written characters that come together in different ways. At times it does seem to get out of control because characters are introduced at a fast pace and later pop up suddenly leaving you wondering 'Who the hell is that?' which is a minor complaint that would be eliminated if you re-read the novel.

A good book - nothing amazing but still a darn good read if you've got the fifteen bucks to spare. One last thing - I'm getting extremely sick of the 'twist' that Cat's Cradle: Witch Mark centres around. I hope the New Adventures start coming up with ideas that are a lot more original.

Book review by Paul Rigby

This book was an enjoyable read, but sadly not much more.

With some exceptions, the Earth people are generally better written for than the Tir na n-Og dwellers, and there seemed to be a problem with knowing what to do with characters once they'd been established. They were well created, but poorly used.

The Doctor and Ace are very much the TV team and have some great repartee.

The plot is interesting, but meanders in places. The principle behind the story is a fascinating idea, and if not stunningly original, there are new twists. The way the author brings together the characters of Old Davy and Herne at the end is an intriguing concept.

There is a great build-up to the ending. As we begin to realise certain things, the tension is poured on, but unfortunately this tension - which leads to the compulsion of having to turn each page (present in other New Adventures such as Transit and Love and War), is missing elsewhere in the book.

One thing I found quite depressing, almost distressing at times, was the death and destruction throughout - a whole village massacred here, a person burnt at the stake there.

Overall, a novel which, while being a good enjoyable read, lacked that certain something which makes you want to read a book from cover to cover immediately but perhaps that's not such a bad thing.

This item appeared in TSV 34 (July 1993).

Index nodes: Cat's Cradle: Witch Mark