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By Gary Russell

Book review by Chris Girdler

Gary Russell's much-vaunted New Adventure was worth the wait but sometimes is too dependent on previous Who history. The references to the series are mostly unnecessary and border on the self-satisfied style of John Peel. A good example is Bernice talking to an Ice Lord about Danny Pain's appreciation of wind chimes from Deva Loka. Alpha Centauri and the Ice Warriors are convincingly represented, but the best characters are the Pakhars arid the Cantryans (Russell's original creations). In fact, most of the characterisation is vivid and effective. Gary has a gift of establishing characters and giving them a unique individuality in a couple of sentences.

The plot is pretty ingenious and the gradual build-up (with emphasis on the gradual) does contribute greatly to the storyline, providing a thorough family tree of the crucial Pels for both readers familiar and unfamiliar with the Pertwee Peladon novels. What begins as a history lesson on Peladon evolves into an unputdownable novel, carried along by an unpredictable web of deceit, intrigue and crime. The features of the previous Peladon society are extended beyond anything that could have been achieved on television.

The prose and plot devices strike a chord with the classic Lucifer Rising. Check out the similarities in structure between the end of chapter two of Legacy and Lucifer Rising p.94. The last Doctor Who novel reviewed by Russell obviously left a lasting impression on him. The prose tends to cruise on autopilot at times but, without warning, lapses into nail-biting scenarios and unforgettable moments such as the Doctor's execution - the highlight of the book.

The depiction of the seventh Doctor is near perfect. He is, as per usual, suspected of the crimes committed, but for once the situation is such that the reader includes him among the list of suspects. There is yet another brief appearance of a previous Doctor introducing the relic of the month, a nasty little trinket known as the Diadem. Hopefully the unwanted inclusion of previous Doctors will diminish with the advent of the Missing Adventures.

Bernice is stunningly brought to life in Legacy. There are occasional hints at a love interest for her, but I prefer her as the sassy celibate as portrayed in previous New Adventures. Her claim that she's had her fair share of relationships (p.207) tends to contradict her character in Love and War ("I've only ever had three boyfriends"). Ace is negated to a very minor role, much as Bernice was in Blood Heat. Hopefully future novelists will pay reasonably equal attention to both companions until Ace's departure.

Legacy has its flaws but they are overshadowed by the tight intelligent plotting and. excellent characterisation. We're sure to be seeing a lot more of Russell's writing talents in the near future - perhaps a novel less dependent on established mythos? Another high quality novel in an increasingly addictive series. Yeah.

Book review by David Lawrence

I'm always telling people how much I hate books where the Doctor and co. don't turn up until page 50. Guess what? In Legacy the Doctor and co. turn up on page 50. Exactly. But the advantage Legacy has over other books where the TARDIS crew are latecomers to the action is that the first 49 'Doctor-less' pages are actually interesting and readable.

Legacy is, as we all know, a sequel of sorts to the two Peladon stories; however unlike No Future, which is so continuity-ridden that new readers would be alienated from the plot, it isn't necessary to sit through two tiresome Pertwee ploddings to get the gist of what's gone on before. The first section gives us an interesting and relevant account of Peladon's history, as well as a brief episode with Pertwee's Doctor in which the Diadem is introduced.

Legacy also, as we all know, features a particular species the Doctor has met on more than one occasion. 'Xenophobia is an extreme bigotry that I would not expect from someone such as him,' says High Lord Savaar of the Doctor: Legacy highlights the Doctor's general dislike of Martians as being largely irrational. In fact his unjustified suspicion and mistrust of 'Ice Warriors' makes the Doctor seem childish - he is unprepared to accept the Martians are no longer the aggressors he confronted in his second incarnation.

Bernice, on the other hand, is only too pleased to be in the company of the Martian delegation. After all, as she says, Martians are her specialty. She gets some wonderful scenes - her conversation with Savaar in Chapter Two gives us an insight as to how her archaeological side thinks as she is complimented and flattered by a member of the species she so admires. In total contrast, when she is pretending to be drunk when with Savaar and Sskeet at the beginning of Chapter Four, every Martian joke she knows comes to the fore.

Benny isn't the only fantastic character in Legacy. Gary Russell's Martians are as fascinating as Brian Hayles' were so long ago, making up for the forgettable lumbering green things in Mission to Magnus. Alpha Centauri is captured perfectly and comes across as being surprisingly believable in contrast to the green rubber suit of the previous Peladon stories. The minor characters are interesting too - especially Keri. Yeah!

In the TSV 37 interview, Gary says 'I can't write English to be read. I can only write English to be spoken'; I'm pleased to say I can't disagree more - great book! Great cover!

Book review by Jamas Enright

This book was above average but not brilliant. The story comes over really well, but there are a few points that bring it down.

The story is of course set on Peladon. Alpha Centauri, Ice Warriors, a boy king... all the classic elements are there, as well as a murder, a group of mercenaries, and a device that wants to take over the world.

Were these last things really needed? It was ever so slightly obvious that the story wasn't written with Ace in it, but was it written with the Ancient Diadem and the mercenaries in there? The master criminal, yes, very necessary (just to kill people), but what was the point of the Ancient Diadem? It spends the entire book just travelling to Peladon (killing various people), just to run away and get blown up. For a big 'evil artifact' it seemed rather useless.

That thread could be removed, the villain could just be out to sell Peladon's treasures (perhaps a bit more motivation), and the main plot wouldn't really be changed. That's just my opinion, but it did seem unnecessary.

Another point: in the middle of the book, there is a section where various characters are wandering around, and they are watched by some 'he' or 'she'. Lack of proper names left me wondering about just who was where, doing what.

One other point/quibble: the continuity references were fun to spot as a fan, but they would be prohibitive to anyone else. Yes, there is a large continuity with certain Pertwee stories, but the rest seem to have no point other than "look here, we have history" (and then there is 'Spot Gary Russell's friends').

All of that aside, the book itself is quite good. The Ice Warriors are in fine form and the Doctor's attitude towards them is believable (if slightly excessive). Bernice didn't have much of a chance to show off her knowledge, but you can tell that she does know her stuff.

I liked Keri. Having this Pakhar rushing around, doing obviously this and that came as a nice change from the plodding intricacies of the Martians and the Doctor.

The climax featured on the cover is very well done. In brief, this book is good, but could have been brilliant.

This item appeared in TSV 41 (October 1994).

Index nodes: Legacy