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By Andrew Cartmel

Book review by Nicholas Withers

Warchild is Andrew Cartmel's third (and final book) in his War trilogy (which also comprises of Warhead and Warlock). While in many ways Warlock stood apart from Warhead, Warchild is more of a proper sequel, essentially tieing up many of the loose ends from both books.

Once more the Cartmelian Doctor has returned with a vengeance; he appears in very few pages of the book, but every event seems to be under his influence (to an even greater degree than the two previous books).

The setting plays an even less important part than Warlock. Without reading the earlier two novels you could easily mistake the setting for the present day, and not the dark dystopian cyberpunk setting established in Warhead. This is a sign of the continuing evolution of Cartmel's writing style, which has enabled him to move beyond genre-bound cyberpunk rip-off (Warhead) to 'techno-thrillers' such as Warlock and Warchild.

Most of the characters are expertly crafted and executed, from the mellowed but still edgy Creed through to his children (especially Ricky). Roz takes the place of Ace as the gun-totting warrior woman, while Cwej is in a situation almost too ridiculous to entertain. Bernice gets the lightest workload, hanging around the Doctor and asking all those questions needed to enlighten the readers.

Although initially slow to get into, once Warchild takes off it is nearly impossible to put down. As the final act of a trilogy the novel ends the most successful linked-series of books in the New Adventures canon, and establishes Creed as one of the more developed of irregular companions (along with Kadiatu). Cartmel once more proves to be one of the New Adventures finest writers, even if his style is not strictly Doctor Who.

This item appeared in TSV 47 (April 1996).

Index nodes: Warchild