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Dominion

By Nick Walters

Book review by Brad Schmidt

Dominion's division into two parts, entitled ‘Loss’ and ‘Hope’, is particularly appropriate considering the style in which they are - perhaps unintentionally - separately written, by debut Who author Nick Walters. ‘Loss’ reads dismally, and seems to do so unintentionally - as if in writing it, Walters was finding his balance. However, after the much more upbeat atmosphere apparent in the second half, I'm led to suspect Walter's uninteresting weaving of an interesting concept in the first half was perhaps intended. Therefore, it's far cleverer, and wonderfully ‘Virgin’ - but not only in style, also in plot.

The TARDIS is (yet again) in jeopardy, resulting (again) in Sam flung into the unknown. The Doctor and Fitz arrive in present-day Sweden, a location as fresh for Doctor Who as it in the novel. Much of the story takes place around Kerstin Bergman, a character presented in such detail that a return appearance would be welcome - particularly to see how she eventuates after the traumatic events she experiences. Destructive vortices are slicing through Sweden, accompanied by manifestations of vicious creatures, whose place of origin becomes the main setting for the second half. The end of the novel, as fortuitous and confusing as the television movie, along with the Parasite-style Dominion, makes Dominion an ideal example of the frenetic, deadly style of nineties Who - and an enjoyable one.

In the best Hartnell tradition, the closing scenes in the TARDIS set the scene for Unnatural History, with a strangely-amnesiac Sam noting San Francisco as being where the Doctor regenerated, yet failing to acknowledge one of her most influential adventures, Vampire Science, as taking place there.

A hilarious line must be mentioned, despite the fact the rest of the novel more than makes up for its unbelievable inclusion: “Fitz landed softly, on something soft.” Sometimes I wonder if these novels are even edited... [4/5]

This item appeared in TSV 57 (July 1999).

Index nodes: Dominion