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Autumn Mist

By David A. McIntee

Book review by Brad Schmidt

David A. McIntee's novels have never been terribly wonderful - they have often seemed more like screenplays to big-budget action movies, rather than richly-layered novels. It's somewhat appropriate, then, that his tenth work - Autumn Mist - should be just that.

It's another war novel; in particular, another European World War II novel. But instead of the suitably gloomy Seventh Doctor in the field, it's the lively Eighth - who is strangely even more suitable. Inexplicable disappearances of the dead and manifestations of shadowy creatures are the mysteries the Doctor has to solve, while Fitz works for the enemy again (albeit with an agenda) and the reader has to accept the most shocking of occurences yet that has happened to Sam.

There is little lengthy moralising on the morality of war, nor of the life or death involved. Quite simply, by not including this as many Who war novels have done, McIntee presents directly the true horror and futility of such battles. This makes for his most emotive of novels yet, which is a saving grace considering the story is not quite as strong as usual.

This much is evident in the scant blurb. The “third side” it mentions is another extra-dimensional race, based on “magic” apparently, which even the Doctor endorses. Granted, he claims the truth would be just as scientifically-incomprehensible, but little comprehensible is presented about this “elven” dimension. Every foray into it would be accompanied by windchimes and breaking waves, had Autumn Mist a soundtrack.

However, the problem - and the resolution - are interestingly presented, the characters are convincing, and the novel is far more balanced than one would expect from McIntee. Rewarding. [5/5]

This item appeared in TSV 58 (September 1999).

Index nodes: Autumn Mist