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The Scales of Injustice

By Gary Russell

Reviewed by Paul Scoones


Having greatly enjoyed Gary's two previous original novels, I looked forward to The Scales of Injustice with relish, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that Gary's writing style has developed and matured. His latest novel is strongly evocative of the sprawling seven part UNIT epics of season seven, and is written with a strong visual style, scoring over Legacy and Invasion of the Cat-People in its strength of plot and characterisation.

It will come as no surprise to learn that there are strong continuity ties with Doctor Who and the Silurians, taking ideas from Malcolm Hulke's novelisation as well as the television story, but there are ties with earlier UNIT/Earth invasion stories, and also strong links to the novels Who Killed Kennedy and The Eye of the Giant. A clear link is also forged between Doctor Who and the Silurians and Warriors of the Deep. We learn here that the events Icthar refers to in his conversation with the Fifth Doctor in fact take place in The Scales of Injustice. This is just one example of a whole swag of bits of retroactive problem-solving that Gary Russell indulges in here, and for a continuity buff such as myself, the result is very satisfying.

One of the novel's most memorable aspects is Russell's 'humanising' of the Brigadier. This character is usually portrayed in two dimensions, a person without a life once he disappears off the edge of the screen or page, but here we are allowed glimpses into Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart's terribly troubled home life. The toll that his top secret work places on his home life ultimately results in the irreconcilable breakdown of his marriage. These sections are as harrowing to read as any concerning the latest alien threat to Earth.

This is a highly satisfying Pertwee tale which gives Liz Shaw the exit she has previously been denied in the novels. Some of the story's plot threads are left open in such a way that makes reconciliation with successive television stories challenging. It is almost as if Russell intends to follow this book with a sequel, but the story in itself is complete. A must for fans of the early Pertwee era.

This item appeared in TSV 49 (November 1996).

Index nodes: The Scales of Injustice