The Knight, The Fool and the Dead (Time Lord Victorious).

Books As many of you will know, Time Lord Victorious is a cross-platform Doctor Who festival spread across various ranges and licencees. In essence it's the Eighth Doctor era but with a more cohesive structure and narrative thronds weaving in and out various audios, books and comics. Individually they're supposed to make sense but the user gains a richer experience from listening and reading it all.

Steve Cole's novels seems to be at the epicentre.  In the aftermath of The Waters of Mars, the Tenth Doctor runs from his mistakes into the Dark Times and discovers a race of beings, the Kotturoh are travelling the galaxy rewriting the DNA of other races to some master plan, potentially being the source of the very concept of death as its expressed in the Doctor's own time.  He decides to stop them.

From the beginning we can tell that something has broken inside the Doctor, that without anyone to stop him, his usual benevolence has become infected by malignancy.  He's sharper, more cantankerous, less patient and more than ever willing to trying to bend reality to his will if he believes its for the good of the cosmos and damn free will.  In his head, the ends justify the means.

He's become the kind of figure that David Collings inhabited in the Big Finish Unbound story Full Fathom Five.  Still the Doctor, but something is off and we can only imagine how Tennant would have played it, this whole portion of his life having almost been skipped over on screen ten years ago.  So it's quite a bold step to make it the premise of a story which is ostensibly for children.

The Eighth Doctor's participation is limited to a flashback interlude perhaps set during the Big Finish strand of stories (I presume, I'm saving them) then a huge, barnstorming appearance at the end.  Judging by his costuming on the cover of this book's sequel (coming soon!), it's his Time War iteration so he's traveled from one universe wide wave of destruction to participate in another.  Busy life.

Steve Cole was series editor during Eighth's formative prose years and it's a pleasure to see him write the character again, coming across as a more meditative soul than his counterpart from four incarnations hence.  He's more clearly defined here and closer to his Big Finish counterpart than in some of the short stories of recent years, which just demonstrates the co-ordination at play across this whole project.

Placement: Just before the first Big Finish Time War series?

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