Home : Archive : TSV 51-60 : TSV 53 : Review

The Face of the Enemy

By David McIntee

Book review by Paul Scoones

It's an intriguing premise - the Third Doctor and Jo are off sorting out the problems on Peladon, but meanwhile the Brigadier and UNIT have a crisis of their own to contend with. Proving that Doctor-less novels aren't solely the domain of Virgin Publishing, this BBC book places the Brigadier in the limelight, forced to recruit outside help of a familiar nature when things go wrong in the Doctor's absence.

Making a welcome return are Ian and Barbara Chesterton, now married with a young son. Their presence as advisers to UNIT is a little hard to swallow - surely there are other people more qualified than a couple of schoolteachers? Speaking of unlikely allies, the big twist (made evident by the cover) is that the Brigadier enlists the help of the Master, currently serving time in prison.

Although it's not essential, there is some advantage to having read McIntee's The Dark Path, as many references to the Master's past are tied in with this novel, and it is pleasing to see that although BBC Books are not at liberty to adopt Virgin's continuity wholesale, it is accepted practice for an author to reuse concepts from their own back-catalogue.

McIntee is a great ideas man and plots a satisfyingly complex adventure, but a consistent drawback in his work is his propensity for laboured descriptions and long passages of impenetrable exposition. That said I do believe he's improving with each novel. [3/5]

This item appeared in TSV 53 (March 1998).

Index nodes: The Face of the Enemy