Doctor Who: A Device of Death - Review

The greatest appeal of The Missing Adventures range of novels is the prospect of reliving a particular period of the show that is no longer around because of the passing of time. So to my mind the best novels from this set are those which capture perfectly the tone of each series it is set in. Author Christopher Bulis hasn't always had the best of luck when it comes to that but with A Device of Death, he seems to have found his groove.

Set in the perhaps unlikely gap between Genesis of the Daleks and Revenge of the Cybermen, the Doctor, Sarah and Harry are travelling VIA the time-ring when they are diverted by a strange force. Bulis then pays homage to the tried and true method of splitting the group up and giving them all their own adventures before bringing them together at the end.

The Doctor here is undoubtedly the Fourth Doctor as played by Tom Baker in his opening adventure. He is the wide-eyed tourist with a strong moral code who doesn't have the same level of humour that crept into the stories later on down the line. And Sarah Jane and Harry are similarly written and Bulis has even gone to so far as to explore what makes these characters tick.

There are also some surprisingly strong parallels to be made between this story and the previous adventure, Genesis of the Daleks, which also included an age-old-war, underground bunkers and battlefields. But it would be unjust to call this story plagiaristic as the whole story is original and enjoyable. Of course the scope of the story sets it apart from those which surround it because it would been completely unfilmable in 1975. Otherwise, A Device of Death feels exactly like a Fourth Doctor story from his first series and is a very enjoyable read...