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Heart of TARDIS

By Dave Stone

Book review by Jamas Enright

Dave Stone is, in many ways, England's answer to Peter David (an amazingly successful American writer, who writes books for Star Trek and Babylon 5, and many comics), writing great stories full of humour and respectful of continuity while at the same time subverting continuity for their own needs. In Heart of TARDIS, Dave Stone intended to give continuity a kicking ‘like it was the Marquis de Sade’ but the worst niggle merely involves Sergeant Benton.

That aside, what we have are two Doctors and two stories. Most multi-Doctor stories involve the Doctors teaming up to solve the problem. In Heart of TARDIS the stories are kept separate, although they are linked. The plot tends to get a bit convoluted, but everything comes together at the end.

The Second Doctor, with Victoria and Jamie, are in the town of Lychberg, containing many parodies, some subtle, some not so. Most of this part of the story is seen through the eyes of Victoria, and she is portrayed wonderfully. Jamie is very under-used, but the Troughton Doctor comes across well. It's very hard to show Troughton's physical humour, but Dave Stone's own humour makes up for it.

The Fourth Doctor and Romana part is supposedly in the middle of the Key to Time arc, but there is no sign of that search here. The Doctor is asked to look into a disaster that threatens the universe, but he goes after an old friend in trouble. Romana is written beautifully, showing the wonderful sense of hauteur that she displayed in the series.

The best character here is Katherine Delbane, an outsider who's investigating UNIT, someone who we can still sympathise with when she gets shut out, even though we know what UNIT is up to. This also makes it easy to side with her as the pawn who gets the power to kick some ass.

The downside is that in many places Dave Stone tries too hard, and doesn't always succeed, usually in his humour. The addendum at the end, culled from something he wrote for Perfect Timing 2, is an add-on, but I liked it as it contained some interesting ideas. However it could have easily been left out without any ill effect.

This isn't Dave Stone's best story; I liked The Mary Sue Extrusion more, but a very enjoyable read nonetheless. It keeps its surprises, and contains two Doctors for your dollar. Works for me. [4/5]

This item appeared in TSV 61 (December 2000).

Index nodes: Heart of TARDIS