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The Bodysnatchers

By Mark Morris

Book review by Paul Scoones

The return of the Zygons is more than twenty years overdue, and when paired with Professor Litefoot and his gas-lit Victorian London surroundings of The Talons of Weng-Chiang, the ingredients are there for a great adventure.

Although being a first-time Doctor Who author, Mark Morris is a well-established horror novelist. As well as an accomplished writing style, he displays an excellent knowledge of series continuity and a willingness to build on established conventions, especially in regard to the Zygons and their aquatic 'pets' the Skarasen.

The picture Morris paints of London in 1894 is both grim and realistic. The poor and homeless are dying of diseases, the Thames River is heavily polluted with effluent, and rich industrialists exploit the working classes in their factories. In such a setting, the Zygons are able to go about their plans unhindered until the Doctor arrives on the scene and with the help of the perpetually slightly bewildered Litefoot, begins to investigate strange deaths and disappearances.

At first easy to visualise as a television story - assisted by both the strong evocation of Talons and Morris's seemingly effortless characterisation of the Eighth Doctor as only McGann could have played him - the book later challenges the reader's ability to visualise events - particularly in relation to the Doctor's solution for ridding London of the Skarasen. This is the one flaw in an otherwise excellent read. [5/5]

This item appeared in TSV 52 (November 1997).

Index nodes: The Bodysnatchers