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The Blue Angel

By Paul Magrs & Jeremy Hoad

Book review by Brad Schmidt

Concluding The Blue Angel reminded me of two things: how very frivolous the Eighth Doctor series can be, and how long it has been since it was so. After one such novel I hoped the Doctor would return to the Galactic Federation era, which he does - and just as Placebo Effect was an upbeat twist to the range after Seeing I, The Blue Angel is a relief in light of the very serious Interference.

Magrs' latest cooperative effort is not quite so endearing as his previous masterpiece, The Scarlet Empress, perhaps because there are still many unresolved and worrying questions from the previous novels, which are referred to often throughout the narrative. It's also far less coherent (which Empress dissenters may find hard to believe). Giant owls attack a shopping centre removed from its space and time, a spaceship crashes into a glass city and its glass inhabitants (which seems to be no more than an extended allusion to the Daleks and their history), and a dictatorial elephant wants to be the Doctor.

He's not the only one. There's also Iris Wildthyme - whose origins are vaguely explained - and quite literally, a scarf-wielding Fitz. There are also another two Doctors, but like much of the novel, they're never fully explained. Only Magrs could leave a novel satisfyingly unresolved.

Amidst all the oddity, there are serious scenes. The Doctor confronting Compassion suddenly, already exasperated with her, is one of the most powerful interactions between the Doctor and companion since Benny's departure. It's an ominous interlude, contrasted nicely in the following pages with an amusing banter between Iris and Fitz.

The novel and the Doctor build with an overwhelming silliness that seems different from the norm - until suddenly, everything becomes deadly serious and impending. One gets the impression the series at present is rather like the eye of a hurricane - there are further winds of change to come. [5/5]

This item appeared in TSV 59 (January 2000).

Index nodes: The Blue Angel