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By Robert Perry & Mike Tucker

Book review by Brad Schmidt

Upon learning of Jack the Ripper's involvement in Matrix, I was immediately reminded of the Doctor's comment at the beginning of The Bodysnatchers, in which he morosely evades Sam's enquiry into the Ripper's true identity. Now, in a novel as disturbing as the most disturbed of the New Adventures, the Seventh Doctor and Ace confront the truth behind the savage killer.

Horribly effective, Matrix typifies the final run of televised Doctor Who, weaving all of Season 26's memorable plot threads ( particularly semi-mythological British figures, Victorian England, the Church, and Ace's disturbing character development) into a tapestry of horror and intrigue. While Perry's and Tucker's Illegal Alien was compelling in its recognisable construction, Matrix is sly in the face of familiarity, re-introducing unexpected themes and characters. The new characters it introduces are often as memorable as they are disturbing, particularly the delightfully unlikeable Malacroix, head of a not-atypical nineteenth-century circus.

Victorian London is a familiar backdrop for Doctor Who now, which is disturbing considering it is a cesspool of poverty and prejudice. Perry and Tucker's is no exception - indeed, this backdrop plays an important role in the story. The idea presented by the infuriatingly unexplained character Liebermann, that a city is just as evil as the villain, is uncomfortably interesting.

Divided into six parts, Matrix is highly reminiscent of a television story, but is all the more exciting when read in one sitting. Even if, like me, you are not a fan of the Seventh Doctor, Matrix still has a smorgasbord of such variety to please most appetites. [5/5]

This item appeared in TSV 56 (October 1998).

Index nodes: Matrix