I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Review: Doctor Who: Players + a Giveaway

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , , , ,
Doctor Who: Players
by Terrance Dicks
#6 of The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Collection

Plot Summary:

Arriving on the sun-baked veldt in the middle of the Boer War, the Sixth Doctor is soon involved in the adventures of a struggling politician and war correspondent Winston Churchill.  Of course, he knows Churchill is destined for great things, but unseen forces seem to be interfering with Winston's historic career...  The Doctor suspects the hidden hand of the Players, mysterious beings who regard human history as little more than a game.  With time running out, can the Doctor find the right moves to defeat them?

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who this year, BBC Books will be reissuing eleven classic Doctor Who novels – one for each Doctor – from across their fiction range. Repackaged with new introductions, bold new covers, and 50th anniversary branding, they are not only a collectable set for fans, but a brilliant introduction to the depth and range of the Doctor Who list.


This novel delves into some real history with the life of Churchill, the rise of the Third Reich, and some real facts behind Edward VIII's relationship with Wallis Simpson.  The novel also allows the Second Doctor to make an appearance when the Sixth Doctor shares a memory with Peri.  For fans who have seen the Second Doctor serial, The War Games, this book also provides some great continuity.  With the amount of ground this book covers, I was very impressed by how well it weaves in and out of time periods without letting the pace flag.  The Doctor and Peri moves through time, cleverly adapting to the challenges the mysterious target on Churchill and later the Doctor and Peri presents.  What I was also impressed with in this book was the subtle way the author made the Sixth and the Second Doctor so distinct in the storytelling.  And having more than one Doctor in one story felt like a great bonus!  For a Doctor Who fangirl like me, I was so thrilled to have some great characters from The War Games reappear and again help the Doctor.

I've always loved the playful antagonism between the Sixth Doctor and Peri, and their interactions in this book perfectly captured that.  Peri's quiet resignation as she plays along with Sixie's extravagant gestures was so funny!  There were some scenarios that I thought very interesting to put the Doctor and Peri in - one was the Doctor's efforts to become integrated in the social circles of 1930s London and the other is a rather hazardous situation Peri finds herself in.  There are twists and turns I didn't see coming in this book, that kept me eagerly turning pages.

And then there's the main villains, the Players.  While it is understandable that they are shrouded in mysteries as that is their nature, they aren't very convincing as bad guys because you really don't know anything about them.  I didn't think the Players were really evil but they just had no regard for life and justice and they felt because of their nature they felt entitled to that.  But because they are supposed to work indirectly I felt more antipathy for the misguided people who helped them.  The Players were a necessary device to make the story work, and in that I think I was disappointed because that was all they functioned as.

But that didn't dampen my enjoyment of this adventure because it moves so quickly and has some great comedic moments.  The Doctor and Peri were both realized so well, and this book also gave me a very interesting history lesson, especially with the life of Winston Churchill.

I received this book from the publisher or author for a fair and honest review.  I was not compensated for this review.

Who-ology Trivia!

  • 1st Regeneration: Old Age (The Tenth Planet)
  • 2nd Regeneration: Forcibly regenerated by the Time Lords prior to his exile on Earth (The War Games)
  • 3rd Regeneration: Exposure to Metebelis III crystal radiation in the cave of the Great One (Planet of the Spiders)
  • 4th Regeneration: Fall from a great height, specifically the Pharos Project radio telescope (Logopolis)
  • 5th Regeneration: Fatal contraction of Spectrox Toxaemia after handling raw spectrox (The Caves of Androzani)
  • 6th Regeneration: TARDIS show down by the Rani, who then tried to confuse and control the Doctor in his befuddled post-regenerative state (Time and the Rani)
  • 7th Regeneration: Shot by local gang and operated upon by Grace Holloway, who accidentally administered a lethal anaesthetic (Doctor Who)
  • 8th Regeneration: Unknown.  So far...
  • 9th Regeneration: Absorbing the Time Vortex to save Rose Tyler, and nobody's meant to do that (The Parting of the Ways)
  • 10th Regeneration: Radiation poisoning (The End of Time, Part Two)
(p 95-96)

~ Giveaway ~

With many thanks to the publisher, BBC Books and TLC Book Tours, I am offering a choice of ONE of FOUR of the Doctor Who books I'm reviewing for the Book Tour.  So with the Rafflecopter giveaway, the winner can pick EITHER

Beautiful Chaos by Gary Russell,
Festival of Death by Jonathan Morris,
Players by Terrance Dicks, or
Who-ology by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright (the official book of miscellany, celebrating 50 years of Doctor Who)


Please enter through the Rafflecopter form below.  The winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond with a mailing address before another winner is chosen.  The mailing address will be forwarded to the publisher who will send the winner their copy.  The contest runs until June 28th Midnight.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  1. Yay, another Doctor Who review! =) I love the little trivia bit at the bottom.

    I can just imagine the Doctor trying to be socially acceptable in 1930s London... and failing, in his very eccentric manner.

    These books have some great covers =) Thanks for the review!

    1. I love these book covers too - they have old ones from when they were first released, and these covers are alot more stylish. I'm glad you enjoyed the review!

  2. I have to admit that I don't know a lot about the older doctors but I'm a huge fan of the newer ones. I'll have to check out these books to get an idea of what I've missed in the classic Doctor Who!

    Thanks for being on the tour!

    1. Oh the old Doctor Who series is so great! I hope you get a chance to watch some of them!
      And thank you for stopping by!