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By Gareth Roberts

Book review by Nicholas Withers

Gareth Roberts is back with the sequel to The Highest Science. 'The Return of the Chelonians' (aka Zamper) re-establishes the Chelonians as one of the most well-developed aliens to come out of the New Adventure canon. At the same time Zamper avoids becoming a straight Chelonian novel by maintaining a separate and strong storyline. The book has Gareth Roberts' usual sense of humour throughout and the characterisations are all impeccable.

If there is any major flaw with the book it is that it has too many central characters for a rather simplistic plot. Ideally the book would have suited the Doctor and Benny rather than the current foursome occupying the TARDIS. For much of the book Cwej and Forrester appear only to be along for the ride. It is only when Benny rejoins them that they start to do anything. Time to kill off a companion (or, judging by the rumours, marry her off).

The plot is relatively simple and straightforward. The Doctor, while being one step ahead of his friends, is still three steps behind the enemy for most of the book. There is not much of the 'Dark Doctor' in Gareth Roberts' characterisation.

Overall Zamper prides itself on being a typical Doctor Who story. There are no hidden meanings or convoluted abstract plots, no overt-continuity devices, references or blatantly obvious crossovers, just straight fun.

This item appeared in TSV 45 (September 1995).

Index nodes: Zamper