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Lucifer Rising

by Andy Lane and Jim Mortimore

Book review by Paul Scoones

Many of the best Doctor Who stories have featured an isolated group of individuals facing a deadly threat. Andy Lane and Jim Mortimore have adopted this formula with considerable success.

Part One (of five) utilizes an interesting yet unusual narrative framing device which gets the reader in to the story with an effective economy of set-up scenes. This consists of recalled recordings of recent events, and allows Part Two to begin with the Doctor, Bernice and Ace already embroiled in the lives of the people who make up the research team on Belial Base. These individuals are remarkably three-dimensional; characterisation is one of this novel's strongest assets.

An on-going problem with the New Adventures, in my opinion, is a lack of continuity between the books, so it was a pleasure to read references to past novels in the series - particularly Love and War - in most cases more prominent than any of the numerous references to past TV stories. Lucifer Rising is an absolute feast of references - wherever the name of a planet, incident or alien race is mentioned in passing you can be almost certain that it derives from a story previously seen on TV. These are, contrary to what might be expected, in no way intrusive - if you don't spot them, you'll lose nothing of the plot, but I found their presence oddly compelling. After the first hundred-odd pages, I found myself actively seeking them out.

Each section of the book is preceded by a full page illustration, and while I initially viewed the prospect of an illustrated Doctor Who novel with some distaste, I found that the pictures actually enhanced the text. It was however a little disconcerting to have built up a mental image of a character's appearance, only to have that shot down by a conflicting image later on.

Length isn't everything, but at over one hundred pages more than some New Adventures novels, Lucifer Rising is easily the chunkiest novel in the series to date - perhaps this is a side-effect of having two authors?

Lucifer Rising brings the 'Future History Cycle' to a close in style. By accident or design, this loosely-linked series of six novels set in the next millennium has - after some extreme highs and lows - ended on an indisputable high note.

This item appeared in TSV 35 (September 1993).

Index nodes: Lucifer Rising