Doctor Who: The Deviant Strain by Justin Richards (3.5 out of 5)

I spent a hour, dear reader, trying to get the image of this Doctor Who novelization to load. NO DICE. I hate Mercury Retrograde, and this is just another example of why. This Doctor Who book is ten years old. 2005 was quite a year. I am jumping around reading different Doctor Who books, since I am WAY behind on all things Who novel-wise. This one is out from BBC Books, or in America, my buddies at Penguin Random House. This Doctor Who novel features the Ninth Doctor (still my favorite, Mr. Christopher Eccleston) and his companion, the wily, feisty often immature Rose Tyler. Captain Jack Harkness is around for this adventure. They find themselves in Mother Russia after Harkness answers a distress signal aboard the Tardis while the Doc and Rose are off elsewhere. They are then obliged to answer the distress signal. Sometimes it just pays to ignore…..

The Novrosk Penisula is the site of the former naval base, long deserted and forever desolate. As if Russia isn’t desolate anyway! The Russian Special Forces are on the move, and upon arrival, they find the Doc, Rose, and Captain Jack prowling around, trying to figure out what is killing people and leaving them aging prematurely, before they turn into jelly. Jellified remains, to be more scientifically correct. They have a few supporting locals to help them, but are they helping them, or trying to do them in as well? There’s a stone circle on the top at the cliff in Novrosk, an enigma that may be as dangerous as it is mysterious. Something is killing these locals, and it’s behind a pulsing blue light and bearing the description of something that sounds suspiciously like an octopus. Tentacles, you say? Octopus’ Garden this isn’t, fellow Whovians. The Doctor, Rose, and Harkness all have their individual battles to get away from this tentacled homicidal maniac and its band of living, breathing octopi posse. This was a quick read, all of the characters were written exactly as you imagine they would be as played by the actors who played them, and the MotherLand is written exactly as you imagine it is in all of those Cold War novels written by Tom Clancy. Except this isn’t Tom Clancy, nor is it the Hunt For Red October. What is it? A fun, entertaining, often frightening little story that will capture Whovians in its lure (not unlike the murderous tentacle monster). It’s still a merry prance through indigenous pathways in the Time Wars, and yes, there is imagery about of Bad Wolf. So, there is definitely kinship with the good Doctor and the other two. It’s not the scariest one I’ve read, but it’s also one of the earliest ones written. The Crawling Terror by Mike Tucker? It came out last year and scared the crap out of me. I wasn’t that bothered by spiders until I read that one! But again, not a bad little romp, this one. I wasn’t terribly surprised by the ending, so that made it lose a little of the allure for it. Still not too shabby, though. Give it a whirl.

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~ by generationgbooks on October 6, 2015.

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