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By Jim Mortimore

Book review by Brad Schmidt

Never has Doctor Who been more at home than when dealing simultaneously with people's trivial personal lives and imminent galactic catastrophe. Particularly adept at such a technique is Jim Mortimore, whose latest work, Beltempest, is no exception.

Told at breakneck speed from the beginning, Beltempest is far more straightforward than Mortimore's earlier contributions. A star is facing death, along with the billions who inhabit its satellites. The Doctor and Sam rather abruptly arrive and the strangely arrogant Time Lord becomes involved in their salvation.

The first half is undoubtedly the most exciting, but the plot becomes chaotic towards the end - simply because there is no climax; the action remains at a steadily insane rhythm all the way through and resolution is sparse. Our lack-lustre point of identification, Sam, is distanced after becoming a latter-day messiah, and the result of this is never fully explained.

The supporting characters are grimly interesting, most of them struggling with their religion and ideals. Typically of Mortimore, Beltempest is as much about religious philosophy as it is about Doctor Who. The atmosphere is cleverly built on despair, and while I enjoyed the novel, I hope never to have to read it again. But it is recognisable Doctor Who, and in its own hectic way is far more a celebration of the show than this month's other novel. [4/5]

This item appeared in TSV 56 (October 1998).

Index nodes: Beltempest