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The Banquo Legacy

By Andy Lane & Justin Richards

Book review by Paul Scoones

Given that The Banquo Legacy was a hastily scheduled replacement for cancelled Rebecca Levene novel Fear, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this is a delightful read which doesn't betray the speed with which it must have been written.

Two of my favourite Doctor Who authors have collaborated on a Victorian murder mystery told as a series of alternating first person narratives by a solicitor, John Hopkinson, and a police detective, Inspector Ian Stratford. It seems likely that the two authors each contributed the writings of these characters, but if so, I'm not sure who wrote which.

I'd also be interested to learn if the excellent Christopher Priest novel, The Prestige influenced the authors, as it shares several elements in common. The Banquo Legacy's first person narrative, murder mystery and historical setting will certainly appeal to readers who enjoyed Andy Lane's Sherlock Holmes crossover novel, All-Consuming Fire. It's Conan Doyle meets Agatha Christie - a blend perfectly suited to Doctor Who, and unsurprisingly brings to mind favourable comparisons with The Talons of Weng-Chiang, Horror of Fang Rock and Ghost Light. Despite its setting, however, this is not entirely an historical adventure — as with the TV stories I've just mentioned, the period trappings are tinged with scientific advances resulting in some gruesome injuries to some of the characters.

Although capable of being enjoyed as a stand-alone story, The Banquo Legacy also plays a valuable part in advancing the story arc in which the Doctor is on the run from his own people. In this book there's a growing sense of impending disaster for the TARDIS crew and it sets the scene for the shattering events of The Ancestor Cell. In another sense, however, this can be seen as the first of a recent trend for setting Eighth Doctor novels in the past hundred or so years of English history, and as with The Burning and Casualties of War, it's a book not to be missed. [5/5]

This item appeared in TSV 61 (December 2000).

Index nodes: The Banquo Legacy