Sunday, 14 February 2010

The Shadow in the Glass

Every now and then you get a story in a SF series that is far better than it has any right to be. The Shadow in the Glass follows in the tradition of City of Death or Yesterday's enterprise in being a hastily written fill in by a "staff writers" which ends up being a classic story.

This one takes the generic stock SF/Conspiracy idea of "what if Hitler survived the war" and treats us to a cracking story which twists and turns right up to the very last pages. It reads as part historical, part speculative fiction and part conspiracy thriller.

Featuring a rare combination of the 6th Doctor and the Brigadier together with stand-in companion Claire Aldwich, this is a story which stands head and shoulders above most, if not all, of the 6th Doctor's TV stories. The characterisation of the regulars is spot on and Claire Aldwich is a better companion than we ever got in the JNT era of the show, albeit somewhat reminiscent of House of Card's Mattie Storrin. The Brig gets a decent amount of stuff to do and shows himself to be a cunning old fox (this is a post Battlefield, pre-Shadows of Avalon/Sarah Jane Adventures Brig).

The novel would not feel out of place as a modern Who historical satisfying the "celebrity historical" tag by featuring both Churchill and Hitler and also having a pace more akin to a Modern Who historical that the historicals of the classic series. The use of Hitler as a "historical celebrity" results in some of the best moments in the book with Hitler viewing the Doctor as a trusted ally, much to the Doctor's understandable discomfort.

Top notch stuff!

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