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The Sands of Time

By Justin Richards

Book review by Nicholas Withers

Pyramids of Mars is perhaps one of the most memorable gothic stories from the Tom Baker era. The 'Hammeresque' mix of science fiction and Egyptian B-movie horror was nigh perfect and has been crying out for a sequel in book form every since the Missing Adventures were started.

Thankfully The Sands of Time lives up to its impressive predecessor in almost all ways. Although the original left little room for a direct sequel, Justin Richards carefully manages to work around this by unfolding more of the background of the Osirians in a cleaver mix of real and 'quack' Egyptology.

The narrative flow of the book is genuinely clever, and although initially confusing, ultimately adds to the effect of the plot.

The characterisation is surprisingly good, surpassing Cornell's Goth Opera easily in capturing the Fifth Doctor and Tegan (although echoes of the Seventh Doctor's manipulative side are clearly present). Nyssa's characterisation is brilliant.

The ending was also brilliant and had me guessing until the very end.

Overall The Sands of Time is definitely one of my favourite Missing Adventures and one of the few of the original Who novels I would love to see as a television story.

This item appeared in TSV 48 (August 1996).

Index nodes: The Sands of Time