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Just War

By Lance Parkin

Book review by Paul Scoones

Lance Parkin's debut novel is a tour-de-force which out-strips many other New and Missing Adventures by seasoned writers. It is an exciting foray into the darkest days of the Second World War, when the Germans held Guernsey and the British lived under the terror of the blitz. There are no alien invasions or parallel universes involved here - this is for the most part history as it actually happened, and like McIntee, Robinson and Orman before him, Parkin has included a great deal of background research, building a rich and convincing background to events.

Comparisons with Timewyrm: Exodus are inevitable, and whilst I place myself among the many admirers of that early New Adventure, I believe that Just War is even better. Parkin examines the Nazis as individuals, each with their own interpretation of the morality of their cause. Somehow Parkin's fictitious Germans seem more convincing than the real-life characters of Exodus, and such is the power and conviction of Parkin's writing that at times I found myself actually beginning to see things from the other side. Just War is a sophisticated piece of writing which steers away from the cliché that all Germans were bad and all British were good.

As has become par for the course with the New Adventures, the TARDIS crew are split up to pursue different yet interconnected strands of the narrative and Bernice's first hand experience of Nazi torture methods is both harrowing and memorable. Parkin has a wonderfully effective technique in which the significance of a scene is revealed sometimes much later in the book; the prologue being the first of several examples. Even more delightful is the appearance of a Seventh Doctor Missing Adventure within the novel, told in flashback segments. The novel does require some persistence at first as the first few chapters are largely given over to establishing the period, but Just War soon proves itself to be an intense and worthy novel which has left me looking forward to Lance Parkin's next book with keen anticipation.

This item appeared in TSV 47 (April 1996).

Index nodes: Just War