Book Cover for The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Book Review – Doctor Who: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

  • Title: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
  • Series: Virgin Publishing Missing Doctor Adventures
  • Author: Christopher Bulis
  • Characters:  First Doctor, Ian, Barbara, Susan
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 3/27/2013

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is part of Virgin Publishing’s Doctor Who Missing Doctor Adventures . The Missing Adventures were companion books to Virgin Publishing’s The New Adventures line. Both series were published following Doctor Who being put on hiatus by the BBC in 1989. The Missing Adventures feature Doctors 1-6, and are independent novels. The New Adventures feature the Seventh Doctor and Ace, and later Bernice, in an inter-connected series.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is great fun and I really enjoyed it, much more than I expected to enjoy it. The First Doctor (William Hartnell), Ian, Barbara, and Susan, set down on what appears to be an idyllic forest glen — Barbara and Ian even think they may have finally made it home to 1960s England. Well, until they find a body burned to a crisp, and a village with similar burn damage. Ian convinces the Doctor they should head back to the TARDIS at least for the night, because the forest is too dangerous. The Doctor, for once, agrees. But he also decides to take a short cut back to the TARDIS, and they encounter a downed spacecraft that’s been over-grown with forest. The Doctor, Susan, and Ian investigate briefly, but soon Ian and Barbara convince the Doctor they can leave the spacecraft alone for now and return to the TARDIS. One the way back, they are attacked by a dragon.

Yes, a dragon. When they reach the TARDIS, it’s doors are jammed and they cannot get inside. However, though Barbara is injured, they are rescued by a knight. Before long, the four are involved in the affairs of Albion, literally a fairy-tale world of magic and wonder. On Albion, knights and castles, witches and wizards, fantastic creatures, and magic all exist. Susan and the Princess Mellisa are kidnapped by flying monkeys and taken to the Dark Tower of an evil wizard. Ian, and the Doctor, join a quest of a knight, elf, dwarf, and leprechaun to find the mystical Helm of Merlin to defeat the evil wizard. Barbara, recovering from her dragon injuries, starts to investigate the situation on Albion (or Elbyon as the natives call it) while staying at the castle, but eventually wonders off and into her own adventure. As wild as this description sounds, the story was great fun. There are references to classic fairy tales and fantasy novels, including Baum’s Oz, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and CS Lewis’s Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The story itself moves quickly, and again, is just fun to read.

Of course, the Doctor, manages to figure out what’s going on for real, which I’m not going to spoil. However, this novel does, even with the fantastic settings, by it’s end, fit into the Doctor Who universe. Highly, highly recommended.

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