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White Darkness

by David A. McIntee

Book review by Paul Scoones

This might seem a little perverse, but in spite of having a university degree in history, I'm no great fan of Doctor Who historicals - and White Darkness is what is best termed a 'pseudo-historical'. Furthermore, voodoo, zombies and Haiti in World War One are not elements which I would normally chose to read about but McIntee has succeeded in writing a novel which even I found both truly interesting and exciting.

The book begins deceptively slowly - I was concerned in the early pages that it was never going to get going - but builds to a gripping action-packed climax that had me reading the last half of the book without even considering stopping.

The quantity of research the author did for his book is plainly apparent; the wealth of detail provides a realistic depth that some other New Adventures authors would do well to note.

The description is very vivid - sometimes too vivid, especially when describing mutilated bodies and decaying corpses, but although this sounds gratuitous, it only serves to heighten the horrific nature of the situation. Thinking back over the novel, it's almost as if I'm remembering a film I saw at the cinema. The mental imagery triggered by McIntee's writing is very strong.

I'm finding it difficult to come to terms with Ace's new tough character, and it would seem that McIntee shares this problem. Perhaps a little too much was made of the Doctor's telepathic sense and hypnotic ability than is warranted, but Bernice was very well served, and struck me as the best written of the regulars. The non-regulars, from the likeable Petion and Howard Phillips to the evil Mait and Etinne were very memorable and well-rounded individuals.

Ultimately, White Darkness has easily surpassed my expectations. Even if, like me, you're not a great fan of historical Doctor Who stories, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by this book.

This item appeared in TSV 35 (September 1993).

Index nodes: White Darkness