Book Review – Doctor Who: The Emperor of Eternity

  • Title: The Emperor of Eternity
  • Series: Doctor Who Companion Chronicles
  • Discs: 1 CD
  • Author: Nigel Robinson
  • Director: Lisa Bowerman
  • Characters: Victoria Waterfield, Jamie McCrimmon, Second Doctor
  • Cast: Deborah Watling, Frazer Hines
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 4/16/2018

**Spoiler Alert** The Emperor of Eternity is a volume in the Big Finish Companion Chronicles line of audiobooks and audio plays. The Companion Chronicles feature stories told from the companion’s point of view and usually rather than being a full play in the audio format like most of Big Finish’s productions, they are a smaller, two-hander production. The Emperor of Eternity is a purely historical story featuring Victoria, Jamie, and the Second Doctor (as played on the Doctor Who television series by Patrick Troughton) set in Ancient China during the end of the Chin Dynasty in 200 B.C.

Victoria tells most of the story with assistance from Jamie. The TARDIS materializes in space, gets hit by an asteroid and the re-materializes in Ancient China to make repairs. But as the Doctor, Jaime, and Victoria wander while waiting for the TARDIS to repair itself, they come across utter devastation. It seems that the general for the emperor took the “falling star” as a sign of the gods’ displeasure with the village where the meteor fell, so he ordered the destruction of the village and the killing of the men, women, and children living there. The TARDIS crew is appalled, especially Victoria.

They meet a young woman and warrior who takes them to another village. There they meet a wandering monk. The people of the village argue about who might be a spy or assassin out to kill the emperor. Some of the people in the village insist that as strangers, the TARDIS crew, especially Jamie must be assassins. Jamie insists the strange monk must be the assassin because he doesn’t really look like a monk. But Victoria says that the village should show kindness to everyone. She says that she and Jamie and the Doctor are travelers, and no doubt they should show a holy man respect. The Emperor’s warriors also arrive. Victoria also convinces them not to hurt anyone. But they take the Doctor prisoner in the night.

The next morning, discovering the Doctor missing, Jamie and Victoria decide they must rescue him. One of the people in the village agrees to lead them to the Imperial City. They sneak in through the underground tunnels, that her father built. In the tunnels, they discover rivers of mercury, which freak Victoria out a bit, but they successfully get to the throne room. They discover the Doctor is fine, and that the Emperor has asked him to provide an elixir to grant him eternal life. But in the throne room, the woman who led them to the city kills the old man on the throne. She blames the emperor for her father’s death because the mercury vapors in the underground tunnels killed him. She is executed by the emperor’s general – and the old man turns out to be a decoy. Victoria is appalled by this turn of events and the death and violence. Victoria, however, still argues for clemency, for understanding. She shows sensitivity and caring for all. The emperor insists the Doctor take him to his machine of wonders, TARDIS, which would allow him to wander in eternity. The Doctor refuses of course.

The Doctor and company are sent to the dungeons. That night, someone arrives and lets them out and offers to help them escape. They make their way to the TARDIS in the foothills of the mountains, but Victoria insists they must warn the village, thinking the emperor might target them for allowing prisoners to escape. Near the TARDIS, they again meet the monk from earlier. The general arrives also and captures Victoria. Victoria insists the Doctor and Jamie should leave without her. The monk reveals he is the real emperor, who disguises himself to find out what the people really thought of his rule. He is impressed by Victoria’s kindness and caring – and angered by his general’s violent answer to everything. But most importantly, the emperor has had a change of heart. He no longer thinks he needs to live forever to avoid the wrath of the gods. And he is angered at how his general has exploited and harmed his people. He fires and executes the general, vows to be a better emperor, and lets the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria go to the TARDIS unmolested.

The Emperor of Eternity is a good story. It’s nice to have a purely historical story for a change – and Deborah Watling does a wonderful job telling the story as Victoria. Frazer adds to the story as Jamie. Overall, this is an enjoyable tale and I recommend it.

Find out more about Big Finish audios at their website: www.bigfinish.com.

Click this link to order The Emperor of Eternity on CD or Download.

Note: No promotional consideration was paid for this review. I review because I enjoy it!

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