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First Frontier

By David A McIntee

Book review by Chris Girdler

The Master is back and the good news is that he isn't Anthony Ainley anymore. Sadly, Doctor Who's super villain is once again stuck in an average story, a bit of a disappointment after David McIntee's first novel, White Darkness.

The Tzun plan for invasion is rather sketchy but the reason behind Major Kreer's involvement successfully triggers the new direction for his character. Due to the lack of visual descriptions or new characteristics, the new Master sometimes appeared little more than a bland combination of the Delgado and Ainley versions. A depiction of the villain's new look on the cover may have helped matters. Characterisation aside, the revelation is well-timed and the Master's appearance saved the book from being a dud. In the written medium, the baddie can be kept a surprise through most of the book without the necessity of a tacky disguise.

Characterisation was limited for McIntee's original characters in White Darkness. First Frontier is an improvement in this respect but at the expense of the regulars, who come across as rather dull, especially Bernice. The historical detail is again a credit to the novel (I'm not all that concerned with its accuracy) but works best as part of a 'doom-laden historical' rather than an action-packed fifties tribute. All the traditional elements are there but all too obvious. First Frontier is an undemanding and usually enjoyable novel but without more reasoning behind character motivations and a more focused plot, McIntee's novels will not become classics in the New Adventures range. (5/10)

This item appeared in TSV 43 (March 1995).

Index nodes: First Frontier