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Timewyrm: Revelation

The Virgin New Adventures promised much upon their initial release. Unfortunately, while the first three books had varying degrees of success at holding the readers' interest, they hadn't done much in the way of fulfilling their back cover promise. The closest thing they'd done to being "too broad and too deep for the small screen" was (apart from having a lot of night filming) to include characters who had been played by on television by actors who were now dead. And then, on the fourth book, came TIMEWYRM: REVELATION. Instead of cleverly sidestepping the Timewyrm Arc in the way that EXODUS and APOCALYPSE had, Paul Cornell dove right into the elements and constructed the story right around the Timewyrm and her mysterious powers. Instead of having cameos of previous Doctors just for the sake of it, here we have the Doctor's past popping up to give us a different point of view. These sections are excellent. These are enduring images that capture the very essence of the Doctors that they are displaying. Apart from a few places of awkwardness at the conclusion, this whole concept works very well -- which is a relief, since in the hands of a lesser writer one could imagine this going horribly, horribly wrong. Thankfully, it works well here. The book splits its time between doing things that don't work well if you think about them too hard and doing things that work exponentially better the more you think about them. It's a strange combination, but one that ultimately succeeds. Several characters are drawn quite realistically. We really get inside the Doctor's head, of course, but we also get some excellent characterization out of Ace and a handful of the secondary characters. The Reverend Trelaw and Saul are some of the most interesting people we've seen in Who. --Andrew McCaffrey, Amazon reviews

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