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By David A McIntee

Book review by Nicholas Withers

I had been looking forward to Sanctuary. It is set during the years of the crusade against the Cathari heresy in medieval France, a period of history that interests me. However, despite the usually high standard of writing from David McIntee, I was disappointed.

Sanctuary feels patchworky, as though the entire novel was written not because of a good storyline, but because someone wanted to have a purely historical New Adventure. As a result the beginning, which is required to get the Doctor to the past, feels out of place and distinctly 'convenient'. When we arrive in the past it becomes obvious what the main inspiration was for Sanctuary, and David Mclntee even has an in-joke about this at one point.

However, on the positive side was the humour and Doctor-Benny relationship. The presence of the annoyingly angst-suffering Ace in the past led to a feeling of hostility in many of the New Adventures between the TARDIS crew. In Sanctuary, with Ace long gone (but not forgotten), there is finally room for a more humour-filled verbal sparring relationship between Benny and the Doctor. This side of Benny is also continued with some of the other characters she interacts with.

My ultimate feeling was that Virgin shouldn't bother with any more pure historicals. They have a tendency to lack the excitement, and also the interest, usually present in those with more of a science fiction theme. Like it or not, bug-eyed monsters and time rifts work; Sanctuary does not. The end result is mediocre.

This item appeared in TSV 45 (September 1995).

Index nodes: Sanctuary