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The Well-Mannered War

By Gareth Roberts

Book review by Paul Scoones

Arguably the most well received of the Missing Adventures authors, Gareth Roberts seems like the ideal choice to close the 33 book series. Roberts combines the elements that made his earlier novels so successful, namely the Season Seventeen TARDIS crew line-up (Tom Baker's Doctor, Lalla Ward's Romana and David Brierley's K9), with his inspired eccentric alien race, the Chelonians and also includes Menlove Stokes from The Romance of Crime, though I suspect that the latter's inclusion might be to satisfy a probable stipulation by Virgin to provide a tie-in with Oh No It Isn't!, since Stokes' presence in an adventure set so far removed from his own time seems a little forced.

True to form, Roberts weaves a tale littered with imaginative plot twists and set within a truly absurd scenario. Humans and Chelonians are at war over territorial rights to the same planet, but instead of the expected bloody conflict, a polite state of cease-fire has been in place for as long as anyone can remember. Naturally the arrival of the Doctor and his friends ultimately upsets this balance, but the real players in the war and their motivations are surprising and unexpected.

Oddly enough, the book ends on a cliffhanger that is of course destined to remain unresolved. This very final cliffhanger signals not only the conclusion of the Missing Adventures series, but also seems to be Gareth Roberts' lament for the end of a favourite era of the programme, namely Season Seventeen. If not entirely satisfying, this novel is at least a fitting finale to the Missing Adventures. [3/5]

This item appeared in TSV 52 (November 1997).

Index nodes: The Well-Mannered War