The Cosmic Hobo

Thoughts & reviews about the science fiction series Doctor Who.

Book Review: Past Doctor Adventures – The Final Sanction by Steve Lyons

The Final Sanction by Steve Lyons
Past Doctor Adventures #24 – Second Doctor
Featuring the Doctor, Jamie, Zoe, & the Selachians

Rating: B

In the follow-up to the author’s previous Second Doctor Past Doctor Adventure The Murder Game, the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe find themselves on a relatively wet planet under siege by the terrifying Selachians. While the general narrative doesn’t have much to do with its predecessor, the villains are the common thread. The Selachians are my favorite of any species created for tie-in media. They are pinkish, strange looking aquatic creatures that, by reason of being threatened for years, were forced to develop weapons technology in the form of battle suits that require their warriors to self-mutilate and remove limbs to fit into. It’s pretty twisted and would never fly on screen, but is absolutely compelling in literary form.

Steve Lyons writes the three main characters absolutely flawlessly. His Second Doctor is picture perfect, which is rare when it comes to most tie-ins I have seen related to the character, and Lyons also captures the personalities of Zoe and Jamie brilliantly. By having the TARDIS crew separate early on in the story, Lyons is able to develop each character significantly in giving them a chance to shine in their own story threads. It makes for a very compelling read, with a moral dilemma like the best of Who, and with great action that rarely showed up in the black and white days on television. It also helps a lot that all of the created characters for the novel are very believable; in a short span Lyons develops them all well, rather than cardboard cutout characters that only serve to further the plot.

With a great plot, perfect characterization, intriguing villains, social consciousness, and a solid stable of supporting characters, this is the second Doctor Who novel by Steve Lyons I have read and the second that I have really liked. Highly recommended for any Doctor Who fan (along with The Murder Game), but absolutely required reading for people like myself who think Patrick Troughton is the greatest Doctor, and Zoe Heriot is the greatest companion.

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