Book Review – Doctor Who: Millennial Rites

  • Title: Millennial Rites
  • Series: Virgin Publishing Missing Doctor Adventures
  • Author: Craig Hinton
  • Characters:  Sixth Doctor, Mel
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 12/24/2015

**Spoiler alert** Millennial Rites is the last Doctor Who Missing Adventures book that I have in paperback, though I have a few more to read as e-books. It was published by Virgin Publishing, and it’s an original novel featuring the Sixth Doctor as played by Colin Baker and Mel (Melanie Bush) as played by Bonnie Langford. The story is told in three distinct parts.

In part one, the Doctor is unusually pre-occupied with his own future, having just gone through his Trial at the hands of the Time Lords and the Valeyard. He and Mel land in London on New Year’s Eve 1999. There they run into Anne Travers who after the events of the Doctor Who Missing Adventures novel, Downtime, has become even more determined to defeat the Great Intelligence. Mel attends her 10-year college reunion, only to have someone slip her a request to hack a computer company that’s closing it’s doors on New Year’s Eve, making the staff redundant (in other words, they are all fired except a small research group). Two of the fired employees: Barry and Louise, get involved in the situation (as does Louise’s very young daughter, Cassie).

Barry shows Louise a CD of computer code he lifted from the office – but when he does so, her computer becomes alive, then a monster attacks them. The three escape, Louise leaves her daughter with her mother, then they attempt to find the other fired employee that Barry stole the computer disk from. But another of the Cybrid monsters has already killed him.

In the fracas, Barry and Louise meet up with the Doctor and Mel. The Doctor fears Ashley Chapel of the computer firm is trying to bring back Verocyl – but he’s wrong. The Doctor tries to prevent Anne Travers from casting her banishment spell – and fails. Everyone rushes to Ashley’s computer company to stop him running the Millennium Codex – and again, the Doctor fails.

In Part Two, everyone suddenly wakes in a fantasy world ruled by three continuously fighting monarchs: The Technomancer, Majestrix Melaphyre (Mel), ruler of the Ziggurat of Sciosophy; The Archimage, Magnus Ashmael (Ashley Chapel), ruler of the Tower of Abraxis; and the Hierophant, Bibliotrix Anastasia (Anne Travers), ruler of the Labyrinth of Thaumaturgy. Mel is attended by fantasy versions of Barry and Louise, who have a daughter, Cassandra, in the fantasy world as well.

The Doctor appears to be unchanged at first, and quickly escapes the Archimage. However, in the fantasy world he is slowly being changed into the Valeyard. However, it is the Doctor who establishes an alliance between Melaphyre and Anastasia – who must prevent Magnus Ashmael from further destroying not simply the new and unstable fantasy universe, but the real universe. This time he succeeds.

The final part wraps up the story. As life in London in the New Millennium is returned to normal.

Millennial Rites is two stories in one – part one is a Cyberpunk “nightmare” as a computer guru attempts to take over the world with malicious code. Part two is an intriguing fantasy. I enjoyed both parts – and I liked the idea that the Doctor, especially Colin’s Doctor would be so arrogant about his ability to stop Chapel – then he fails. Though the Doctor gets to do the same thing again in Part Two. Besides the fantasy elements, Part Two is also fueled by the Doctor’s fears of becoming the Valeyard – something never really dealt with in either televised Doctor Who or the various novels, comics, and audio plays that I’ve read. It made Colin’s Doctor surprisingly vulnerable and approachable.

Recommended!

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