Bane of Kings reviews The Coming of the Terraphiles, a Doctor Who novel by Michael Moorcock published by BBC Books
“A humour-filled galactic adventure. Top notch-stuff.” ~The Founding Fields
If you’ve been following this blog for a while now, you’ll have noticed that I’m a fan of Doctor Who, the longest-running British television series that has graced our screens. I’m one of the few who had no idea who Michael Moorcock was before The Coming of the Terraphiles, but now that I’ve read the latest addition to the Doctor Who Novels, I’ve decided that he is an author that I want to check out more of. Just like the others, Jim Butcher, David Gibbons, Chris Wooding… the list goes on. But regardless, I delved into The Coming of the Terraphiles recently, not all too sure what to expect.
It’s not that I haven’t read any Doctor Who novels before, oh no. I own about twenty of them myself, a mixture of tenth and eleventh Doctor Novels with various companions. It’s just that I haven’t read anything by Michael Moorcock before. You see, there’s the thing. Apparently a bit of hype was created around the fact that Moorcock was doing a Doctor Who novel, and this really does beg the question – was it worth the hype?
Well, there’s only one way to find out. Here’s the blurb, stolen because I’m too lazy to knock a summary up right now:
Miggea – a star on the very edge of reality. The cusp between this universe and the next. A point where space-time has worn thin, and is in danger of collapsing… And the venue for the grand finals of the competition to win the fabled Arrow of Law.
The Doctor and Amy have joined the Terraphiles – a group obsessed with all aspects of Earth’s history, and dedicated to re-enacting ancient sporting events. They are determined to win the Arrow. But just getting to Miggea proves tricky.
Reality is collapsing, ships are disappearing, and Captain Cornelius and his pirates are looking for easy pickings.
Even when they arrive, the Doctor and Amy’s troubles won’t be over. They have to find out who is so desperate to get the Arrow of Law that they will kill for it. And uncover the traitor on their own team. And win the contest fair and square.
And, of course, they need to save the universe from total destruction.
Moorcock’s take on Doctor Who is enjoyable. He manages to get the characteristics of Amy and The Doctor, just as I feel that any tie-in novel should do. It makes you really feel as though you’re in the middle of a TV episode, and – just like all TV episodes of Doctor Who, you’ll know that The Doctor will live to see another day, along with Amy.
If I had read something of Moorcock before, I would probably now talk about how this is either different or similar to his other works, but sadly I haven’t – so I’m going to have to leave it up to you to find out.
I don’t need to be an expert to tell you that Moorcock has not expanded on the Doctor Who Universe. He’s instead, brought The Doctor, Amy and the TARDIS into his own creation – which after reading this novel, I would love to find out more about. The ending is a good one as well, and getting there is just as satisfying. I understand from reading other people’s criticisms that The Coming of the Terraphiles may not be for everyone, but I have enjoyed it, perhaps better than any other Doctor Who book that I’ve ever read.
The Description is top-notch as well, as we get to fully understand what Moorcock’s universe is like, and even though he’s included such aliens like the Judoon, even I can tell you that this isn’t typical Doctor Who Novels. I only hope that Dan Abnett does the same with his Doctor Who Novel, The Silent Stars Go By, which is coming towards the end of the year – because although it probably isn’t going to happen, I would love to see how Ibram Gaunt and his Ghosts would react with The Last of the Time Lords. Matt Smith’s Doctor in particular.
I found The Coming of the Terraphiles to be engaging, amusing and gripping, keeping me reading to the very end, almost non-stop. Which I admit, was partly due to being stuck in a moving car – but I still probably would have not been able to put this book down.
More Eleventh Doctor Novels: Apollo 23 by Justin Richards, Night of the Humans by David Llewellyn, The Forgotten Army by Brian Minchin, Nuclear Time by Oli Smith, The King’s Dragon by Una McCormack, The Glamour Chase by Gary Russell, Dead of Winter by James Goss, The Way Through the Woods by Una McCormack, Hunter’s Moon by Paul Finch, Touched by an Angel by Jonathan Morris, Paradox Lost by George Mann, Borrowed Time by Naomi Alderman, The Silent Stars Go By by Dan Abnett.