Nick Walters

BBC Books Eighth Doctor series, 1999

After two books in the Eighth Doctor Adventures line which were rather typical of their respective, familiar authors comes Dominion from new boy Nick Walters. Well, sort of new: he did co-write Dry Pilgrimage with Paul Leonard, author of the preceding 8DA, Revolution Man.

Dominion is a solid and reliable tale of strange goings on in Sweden and an alien world. The TARDIS crew are soon separated and the quest for reunion becomes a quest to save the planet. A traditional plot is spiced up by some fine writing. The characters, regulars and new, are mostly well-crafted as Walters slowly draws us into his fantasy. Like his old co-author, Walters has a flair for alien cultures and the world of the Dominion would not be out of place in a hard SF book.

One slight annoyance is Walters' use of superlatives. "Sam had never seen him so distraught," Walters tells us at one point and throughout the book the Doctor, Sam and Fitz find everything to be in the worst possible state. It becomes all rather too much angst. That also comes through with an impotent Doctor. He seems lost and helpless through much of the book, which is perhaps in keeping with some of the other 8DAs, but it's not a depiction I enjoy.

Fitz comes out the best in the book. After two books which did not seem to know what to do with a new companion, Fitz develops in a more logical manner here. This is part of a comfortable handling of book-to-book continuity: there are references back to Revolution Man and the book leads straight into Unnatural History. Are these the first fruits of the new policy of greater integration for the 8DAs?

After a tense beginning, however, the book rather drags in the middle, with much to-ing and fro-ing to little effect, including the occasional running up and down of corridors. The book does start to build again as the pages run out, but the end is even more disappointing. Everything just sorts itself out, without much reason or much action by our heroes. Still, at least the book has an ending, unlike Revolution Man.

So, a sound book, traditional in execution but done with some flair, yet somewhat let down by a weaker second half. Oh yes, and the word 'pants'.
Big mistake. You will see why when you come to it. 7/10

Henry Potts, 1 Jun 99

Originally posted to rec.arts.drwho.

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