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Time's Champion Review

Filed in: Doctor Who.

You can order Time's Champion from here, although currently the first edition is sold out and they're contemplating a second...

Time's Champion, as previously mentioned is Craig Hinton's last Doctor Who book, completed by Chris McKeon and published with the proceeds going to charity. It's a direct sequel to Craig's previous sixth Doctor and Mel books, The Quantum Archangel and Millennial Rites and, as you'd expect from one of his books, is chock full of continuity references to many many television stories as well as Virgin and BBC novels. It's also a little over 400 pages, well deserving of the label 'epic', so I'm sure had it been published as part of the BBC books range, it would have been severely cut.

As a random piece of trivia - this is the first time Mel's appeared on the cover of a book (and it's one cracking cover!) since Millennial Rites and Head Games back in 1995...

Anyway, as the story starts, the Doctor and Mel are attending Benton's 70th birthday party in 2008, along with a couple of returning characters from The Quantum Archangel. In 1908, George McKenzie-Trench is attempting to work on his latest book, Time's Champion, while in 9908 another George McKenzie-Trench is working on a computer supervirus to defend his world against an impending attack by the Cybermen.

I'm going to try to avoid spoilers and keep things vague for the rest of this review, but just in case, I'm hiding it under a cut anyway.

It'll come as no surprise to anyone who's seen the cover that this novel involves the Valeyard, and is tied in with the long-running New Adventures arc concerning the Doctor's somewhat nebulous role as "Time's champion", which you can find discussion of in Time's Chump in the TSV archives. I suspect it's somewhat of a late stage to be revisiting these concepts, but apt given the unlikelihood of any official books dealing with them in the foreseeable future. Without going into details, Time's Champion deals with both quite well.

The plot itself manages to sustain itself over the length of the book and is, without going into details, both universe-spanning and epic in scope. Somewhat disappointly (for those of us who happen to be fans) Mel doesn't get a lot to do, though the scenes she does appear in, she's at least well written. I'm not entirely certain which parts were written by Craig Hinton and which by Chris McKeon.

In a nutshell: if you're expecting something along the lines of The Quantum Archangel, you won't go far wrong. [7/10]

For those who have already read it, an Epilogue has been posted up on the official site as an extra.

Posted August 16, 2008 12:40 PM

Comments

Mel's body and head match about as well as Lee H. Oswald's do in those photos of him with the rifle and newspapers. Nice paintings of Colin and Jayston there, though.

Posted by: Jeff Stone | August 16, 2008 8:54 PM

Good review. Yes, Mel doesn't get a lot to do, but at least she's got something to do, unlike Sergeant "I'll just stand over here out of the way, shall I?" Benton. Honestly, what was the point of including that character...? I enjoyed the book as a nostalgic throwback to a time when 'new Who' came from the offices of Virgin Publishing.

Posted by: Paul Scoones | August 18, 2008 2:34 PM

Indeed! Poor ol' Benton...

Posted by: Alden | August 18, 2008 3:00 PM

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