Book Review – Doctor Who: Binary

  • Title: Binary
  • Series: Doctor Who Companion Chronicles
  • Discs: 1 CD
  • Author: Eddie Robson
  • Director: Lisa Bowerman
  • Characters: Dr. Elizabeth (Liz) Shaw, Childs, Cpl. James Foster
  • Cast: Caroline John, Joe Coen, Kyle Redmond-Jones
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 07/13/2018

Binary is a story in Big Finish’s Companion Chronicles line. The Companion Chronicles features stories told from the point of view of the companion. Although many audios in the line feature one of the Doctor’s companions telling someone a story about “a time when I was with the Doctor”, this one is in the present tense and it is more like Big Finish’s completely produced audio plays, as it features two guest players as well as Caroline John as Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, a companion of the Third Doctor as played on the BBC television series by Jon Pertwee.

Dr. Shaw is sent to examine an alien computer by UNIT. The three previous people sent to examine it have disappeared. When Liz arrives she meets Childs, a UNIT soldier – she thinks. She begins to examine the computer and disconnects what she thinks is an automatic defense system. She and Childs are shrunken down and transported inside the computer.

Once inside, Liz finds she can communicate with the computer using the terminals inside. The computer points her towards the maintenance system. She and Childs are attacked by “drones” antibody-like beings. They find the body of one of the previous UNIT officials. When she and Childs are threatened with attack by a large number of drones, Liz orders the computer to make a new tunnel and seal it behind them. The tunnel takes them directly to the problem. The system that makes the maintenance drones is broken. Drones are coming out of the system and dying immediately. The few that survive are in horrible pain, unable to think clearly or perform their tasks. This is why the computer cannot repair itself – it’s maintenance and repair system is broken. Childs becomes pushy about Liz fixing the computer, but she isn’t so sure. She’s afraid this alien computer might be used for bad things. As Childs becomes pushier, Liz gets even more suspicious. She lobs a piece of pipe at him, and not only does he fail to catch it – it drops right through him. He’s an image, created by the computer. Liz asks him to explain why he lied to her instead of explaining what and who he was, but he doesn’t give her a satisfactory answer. Eventually, he disappears.

Liz returns to one of the terminals – and finds Foster there. She gets another communication from the Doctor. All his efforts to disable the force field surrounding the computer have failed. He advises her to start smashing vital components in the hope of destroying to force field from the inside, and eventually the entire computer.

Liz thinks this might be a good idea, and gets directions from the computer itself for the force field generator – but it’s too far, and it’s surrounded by drones. She gets directions for the computer core and finds it closer and easier to get to. She and Foster make their way there, but once they arrive, Foster becomes very pushy about her destroying the computer. So she hesitates – and tries the same trick, throwing a pencil through Foster. He goes through him – he’s another projection, this time of the computer’s Fail-Safe, which wants the computer destroyed rather than in enemy hands. Liz objects again.

She manages to repair the computer maintenance system, using directions from the computer itself. She then gets herself out. Once she’s safe and normal size in the UNIT lab, the computer disappears. Liz explains to the Doctor that she has freed a slave. The Doctor, though a little perturbed that she didn’t out and out destroy the computer, accepts this in the end.

This story is basically “Doctor Who Does ‘Fantastic Journey'” in an alien computer. But it is never the less an interesting story. I liked that they have three actors in the story. However, we only ever hear two of them at once – Liz and either Childs or Foster. This emphasizes the point of the story, that Dr. Elizabeth Shaw knows her own mind – and she isn’t going to do what anyone else tells her to do. In fact, Childs and Foster’s bullying is what clues her in that neither is to be trusted. Dr. Shaw is also struggling with her decision – should she leave UNIT and return to Cambridge. She decides to stay with UNIT. Recommended.

The CD includes trailers and a panel interview of the cast and director.

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

Click this link to order Binary on CD or download.

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

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Non-Fiction Book Review – Outside In: 160 New Perspectives on Classic Doctor Who

  • Title: Outside In: 160 New Perspectives on 160 Classic Doctor Who Stories by 160 Writers
  • Edited by: Robert Smith?
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 07/01/2018

It took me awhile to finish this book, but that’s not a slight against it. Outside In is a thick book with a unique premise – one unique essay for each episode of Classic Doctor Who plus the TV movie. Every article or essay is written by a different author and approaches it’s subject in a different way. About half to two-thirds of these essays have been published before, either online or in fanzines, but the joy of a collection like this is finding unusual or obscure essays, that, while technically previously published, one never would have found otherwise.

Many of these essays were inspirational or unique or had a different viewpoint on various episodes of Classic Who. Some of the essays, especially for Peter Davison’s Doctor were extremely critical, something I found a bit unfair – as I actually like Davison’s Doctor. But the articles on McCoy’s Doctor pretty much consisted of a uniquely positive look at the last Classic Doctor. Previously, McCoy’s Doctor was ridiculed as a “clown” by fans (based solely on his first episode). But then, Doctor Who fandom goes in cycles, and episodes that at one time were highly criticized – at another time are highly praised and vice-versa.

This is the first book in a series, there is a follow-up volume for New Who, and volumes for Classic Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation. This volume is recommended.

Book Review – Doctor Who: The Anchronauts

  • Title: The Anachronauts
  • Series: Doctor Who Companion Chronicles
  • Discs: 2 CDs
  • Author: Simon Guerrier
  • Director: Ken Bentley
  • Characters: Sara Kingdom, Steven Taylor, First Doctor
  • Cast: Jean Marsh, Peter Purves
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 05/25/2018

**Spoiler Alert** The Anachronauts is a two-disc story in the Big Finish Companion Chronicles line. It features the characters of the First Doctor, Steven, and Sara Kingdom and takes place during “The Daleks Master Plan” aired episode. The Doctor, Sara and Steven are in the TARDIS when there is a collision with another vehicle. The TARDIS crash lands on a desert island and meets the crew of the other ship – which has been completely destroyed in the crash. This other ship was an experimental time ship. The TARDIS is nowhere to be seen. The new crew and the Doctor’s crew join together, although the time pilots don’t entirely trust the Doctor and company. They trek through the jungle, in the rain, find a cave, and locate the TARDIS food machine – sitting by itself in the jungle. Sara and Steven are convinced the TARDIS broke apart in the crash. The two groups stay in the cave overnight.

During their stay, however, they are attacked by what can only be described as a Banshee – a wailing figure with long, white hair. The Doctor calls this figure a “Time Sprite” but says it’s a myth, a fairy tale, something that does not exist.

The next morning the Doctor and Steven head out to find the TARDIS. Sara stays behind. The Doctor leads Steven straight to the time pilot’s ship, which he wants to investigate – where they run into the “Time Sprite” again. They return to the cave, only to find Sara missing. Steven confronts the time pilots and gets shot.

Meanwhile, Sara and the female leader of the Time Pilots climb a cliff to get a better view. The Time Pilots leader takes readings to try to determine where they are, then sets a homing beacon. Sara gets hurt climbing back down and Steven gets shot confronting the Time Pilots.

In part 2, after a bit of a review, Sara and the leader of the Time Pilots return to their ship for medical supplies for Steven. When they get back – Steven is fine, it’s as if he was never shot. Sara falls asleep and wakes feeling better than ever, her broken arm healed.

The Doctor tells everyone the Island was an illusion, a dream – and they all wake on the floor of the TARDIS. But the leader of the Time Pilots attacks – trying to pilot the TARDIS and eventually firing a gun – at Steven.

Sara and Steven wake up in the dark and fog in a city devastated by war – and on the run, pursued by armed police, they quickly find shelter. They are in East Berlin in 1966. They hide, and run, but are eventually picked up by the police for having no papers. They are interrogated but can’t say anything – Germans and Russians in 1966 aren’t going to believe they are time travelers. They are jailed but escape. They are captured again. Sara tells Steven they will betray each other, betray the Doctor, just to get the torture to stop. So Steven decides to get ahead of the game and tell the Stasi he and Sara wish to defect. To back up his claim, he hands over a piece of paper with basic scientific information from his own (future) time period.

Sara and Steven are taken by car to a house in the suburbs and told to wait. Sara, meanwhile, every time she and Steven are jailed, is freaked out by hearing a creature and claims to see it outside the house. Steven tells her she’s imagining it. When the Stasi come around, asking questions and offering the two a house and a weekly allowance – Steven suddenly becomes belligerent. He refuses to answer questions. Sara is perplexed.

The two are separated, and when Steven return to Sara, he apologizes and tells her it’s not real – this whole scenario is fake, like the one on the island. And, he tells her – she’s also not real, part of the illusion. Sara screams but fades away. The Doctor, what Sara had seen as a mysterious creature, pulls Steven out of the illusion. They rescue Sara from her dream, which was quite the happy one.

In the TARDIS console room, the Doctor explains they were in cells in the TARDIS – continuing to heal from the collision, and that the time pilots are still in cells. He pilots the TARDIS to the Cobalt Moon, long after all the cobalt is mined, and drops the time pilots off. There is a beautiful pink sea and sky, and a nearby city – the pilots will be fine. The Doctor, Sara, and Steven return to confront the Daleks.

Peter Purves (Steven) and Jean Marsh (Sara) take turns narrating each of the four parts of this adventure, but also play their own characters during the sections that the other is narrating. And Peter also plays the First Doctor. So, this story – with music and sound effects as well, is closer to a full-cast audio drama than the typical, performed, audiobook style of the Companion Chronicles. This is also a good story – plenty of twists and turns, with excellent performances by Peter Purves and Jean Marsh.

Recommended.

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

Click this link to order The Anachronauts on CD or Download.

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

Book Review – Doctor Who: Here There Be Monsters

  • Title: Here There Be Monsters
  • Series: Doctor Who Companion Chronicles
  • Discs: 1 CD
  • Author: Andy Lane
  • Director: Lisa Bowerman
  • Characters: Susan, First Doctor, Barbara, Ian, First Mate
  • Cast: Carole Ann Ford (Susan), Stephen Hancock (The First Mate)
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 5/15/2018

**Spoiler Alert** Here There Be Monsters is a story in Big Finish’s Companion Chronicles line of stories. The companion chronicles feature stories told from the companion’s point of view. This one is told by Carole Ann Ford as Susan. Susan’s never been one of my favorite companions (I preferred Barbara in the very first Team TARDIS). However, Carole Ann Ford does a really good job here, and she plays Susan in a slightly more mature fashion. This story seems to be set just before “The Dalek Invasion of Earth” – when Susan leaves.

The TARDIS is hit by some strange energy in space and has to materialize immediately. Upon landing the Doctor, Susan, Ian, and Barbara leave the TARDIS and find themselves on a spaceship occupied by a plant. The plant’s leaves follow them as they move through the ship, and they even find a secondary control room where the plant is operating the controls with vines and branches.

The TARDIS crew follows the plant’s branches and vines until they find the main control room. There they find the captain of the vessel, a “vegetable life form” named Captain Rostrum. The ship is a Benchmarking Vessel, named Nevermore – which is punching holes through the galaxy, creating artificial black holes as an aid to navigation. The Doctor is appalled. Not only are black holes dangerous – but by punching holes through the fabric of space and time – Rostrum could destroy the galaxy. Rostrum steadfastly insists the process is safe and he must complete his mission. The Doctor insists he’s wrong and messing about with dangerous forces he doesn’t understand. Susan gets bored and wanders off.

Susan wanders off and meets a character we will later learn is called, “The First Mate”. The area this man is working in is dead – and the leaves are brown and falling away. Ian, Barbara, Susan and the Doctor had found similar dead areas in the ship while exploring. Susan and the stranger talk and he encourages her to spread her own wings, to live her own life, and to stop always accepting her grandfather’s word. While talking, Susan starts to feel weak. The First Mate then tells her the engines where he is working, emit radiation that’s dangerous to her – and she should leave. Reluctantly she does, and she returns to the control room.

When Susan arrives at the control room, she finds that everyone is staring out the viewport at a spaceship. The spaceship is attacking. As a scientific vessel, the Nevermore has no weapons, no defenses, not even shields. A group of missiles is heading towards the ship. However, just as it seems everyone is heading for certain death, a rip in space appears. This tear drags the missiles and the spaceship into it. Everyone on the Nevermore hears the message from the captain of the formerly attacking vessel. The benchmarking vessel’s artificial black holes had really messed up the ship’s home galactic system’s trade routes. This was viewed as an unprovoked attack. The Doctor uses this to try to convince Rostrum he’s right about the dangers of the benchmarking process but Rostrum doesn’t believe him. He is a stubborn vegetable.

Susan wanders off again, and this time she again ignores the First Mate’s warnings for her to leave when she feels ill from being near him. She ends up collapsing. Barbara finds her and gets her back to the control room.

However, the Doctor and Ian are now wondering about the dead areas in the ship, and they ask for a map of the dead areas so they can explore. Susan had told them all about the First Mate, but Rostrum insists no one else is on the ship – and that if there was, they must be part of the Doctor’s party. Soon, the Doctor, Ian, Barbara, and Susan are searching for the First Mate.

They find him – and find he’s from the other universe, the one on the other side of the rip that’s appeared in space. The benchmarking process is devastating to his universe and he’s been sent to stop it. And because he’s from another universe, he drains energy from people in this universe, including Rostrum. So it’s the First Mate who’s caused the dead areas on the ship.

When the Doctor tells Rostrum this, he isn’t believed – after all, Rostrum can’t see the First Mate.
But Susan talks to the First Mate and with the rest of the TARDIS crew, they decide they must end the Benchmarking process. The First Mate can shift back to his “natural” state – which will destroy everything within a light-year. The TARDIS crew runs for the TARDIS and barely makes it. The TARDIS protects them from the explosion. The benchmarking ship is destroyed, and the rip sealed. Just before he is also destroyed, the First Mate sends out a message – praising the courage of the people he met on the other side of the universe, stating they are not monsters. However, he suggests that people from his own side of the universe not travel to the universe due to the basic incompatibility of their species (e.g. the energy-draining thing).

I liked this story. It runs a bit shorter than some Companion Chronicles but the comparison between early navigators trying to discover how to determine longitude when sailing, and the benchmarking process were really interesting. I also loved the idea of a plant crewing a vessel in space. Stephen Hancock brings the First Mate to life particularly well, even if at first I thought it was David Warner (he sounds just like him). Carole Ann Ford did a particularly good job as Susan too. Finally, this story harkens back to the Age of Discovery with its title, Here There Be Monsters – the old way of marking off the unexplored areas of maps. The Doctor, as he talks about the dangers of benchmarking, talks about the universe as fabric, with weak spots. And beneath the fabric is an unseen place – where monsters come from. The Doctor’s worry is the universe could be destroyed, at the very least – rips could allow the monsters through. The First Mate also states that in his universe it was assumed that the “other universe” was occupied by monsters. As both the Doctor and the First Mate learn – the Other is not a monster. All you need is to talk to someone in a non-threatening environment to learn that people are people no matter what. The audio also plays the captain of the other ship’s message, which assumes the benchmarking vessel is aggressive and attacking without reason, to the First Mate’s message that states that the damage was an accident, and the people of the other universe aren’t monsters but courageous – and helpful in ending the damaging program, against each other. The two messages are polar opposites. And it’s the First Mate’s message, the message from a being from another universe, that correctly describes the Doctor and his TARDIS crew, as trying to help. This was a good story and I recommend it.

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

Click this link to order Here There Be Monsters on CD or Download.

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

Book Review – Doctor Who: The Invasion of E-Space

  • Title: The Invasion of E-Space
  • Series: Doctor Who Companion Chronicles
  • Discs: 1 CD
  • Author: Andrew Smith
  • Director: Lisa Bowerman
  • Characters: Romana II, Fourth Doctor, Adric, Marni Tellis
  • Cast: Lalla Ward (Romana II), Suanne Braun (Marni Tellis)
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 5/9/2018

The Invasion of E-Space is a volume in the Big Finish Doctor Who Companion Chronicles line, featuring the Second Romana, the Fourth Doctor, and Adric. Romana, having left the Doctor at the Gateway [in the aired episode, “Warrior’s Gate”] ten or more years ago, and, having freed the enslaved Thralls, is about to go into battle. She records a message of another battle as a testament and a warning.

The Fourth Doctor, Romana, and Adric are in E-Space, looking for a CVE to use to travel back to their universe. Suddenly, a huge CVE opens up. But there are a lot of military and other spaceships facing the CVE. As we learn from the second narrator, Marni Tellis, a law enforcement officer, when the CVE appeared it devastated the planet, causing earthquakes, Tsunamis, and other natural disasters. Marni is a logical and practical person, so she’s surprised when she is summoned to give testimony about her recent case, a case of serial murders where the victims were killed by energy weapons and bladed weapons. Since similar murders were discovered on the inhabited moon, she is sent by shuttle there to investigate and report back.

The TARDIS is hit by the energy wave from the CVE and Romana and Adric are shaken up a bit, but the Doctor is injured. Romana has Adric help her take him to the zero room to recover. The TARDIS lands on Ballustra’s moon in one of the habitats and Romana and Adric are taken into custody. Marni interviews them, asking about the anomaly, which Romana explains is a CVE, and about the murders. Romana denies all knowledge of the murders but explains the CVE and its dangers. The interview is interrupted by something coming through the CVE – a lot of something, in fact, a Ferrian Raider fleet of teleport discs to transport in raiders to conquer Ballustra. Romana gives a warning, but she’s too late and the warriors appear. They kill a large number of people, but Marni escapes, briefly. Romana and Adric, we learn later, are taken captive by teleport to the Ferrian leader’s battle cruiser.

Marni calms herself, pulls herself together, and attempts to call other survivors. She’s attacked by Ferrian rocket fire. Fortunately, the Doctor rescues her. He takes her through the CVE on a recce. They discover a small Dwarf Planet with a noxious atmosphere that is home to thousands of Ferrian troopers. Marni thinks there is nothing they can do but go back and report what they saw. The Doctor has other ideas and sabotages the CVE generator.

Back in E-Space, Romana learns the Ferrian attacked Ballustra to obtain Gelintin (sp?) a rare mineral and power source. Extremely rare in N-space, it’s abundant on Ballustra. However, with the Doctor’s destruction of the CVE-generator, the doorway between universes is collapsing. Romana convinces the lead Ferrian that they must leave or they will be trapped with no supplies or backup and no way back. The Ferrian general agrees and orders a retreat. Romana and Adric escape in a lifeboat – but the Ferrians attack it. The Doctor rescues Romana and Adric and brings Marni home. Marni reports the entire incident united the if not exactly warring, but distrustful nations of Ballustra.

I enjoyed this story – it gave a hint of what else the Doctor and Romana ended-up doing in E-Space. It was also a rip-roaring SF adventure and a lot of fun. The story is performed in the normal Companion Chronicles two-hander style by Lalla Ward as Romana and Suanne Braun as Marni Tellis.

Highly recommended.

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

Click this link to order The Invasion of E-Space on CD or Download.

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

Book Review – Doctor Who: Luna Romana

  • Title: Luna Romana
  • Series: Doctor Who Companion Chronicles
  • Discs: 2 CDs
  • Author: Matt Fitton
  • Director: Lisa Bowerman
  • Characters: Romana I, Romana II, Future Romana, Fourth Doctor, Stoyn
  • Cast: Lalla Ward (Romana II), Juliet Landau (Romana I, Future Romana), Terry Molloy (Quadrigger Stoyn)
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 4/27/2018

Luna Romana is a two-disc Big Finish Companion Chronicles story. It features Lalla Ward as the Second Romana and Juliet Landau as a future Romana and as the first Romana, a role originated by Mary Tamm. Tom Baker does not actively play the part of the Doctor (his voice is not present on the audio) but this story is firmly set in the Tom Baker era of Doctor Who, and Terry Molloy plays the villain. Each of the four episodes in Luna Romana is set in a different time and place, so I did have to listen to this audio twice to figure it out, and even then I found it a little confusing.

Part 1, after a short intro in which future Romana reflects on her early days with the Doctor, has the first Romana and the Fourth Doctor landing in ancient Rome to track down the Sixth Segment of the Key to Time. The Doctor takes in some local theater, but Romana is quickly bored by the coarseness of the play, so she decides to explore the nearby temple dedicated to the moon goddess. She finds a hidden room, and a very precise instrument to track the position of the moon and the calendar. She also finds a strange man, well, six of them, all with the same face. This man threatens her.

In part 2, the Second Romana and the Fourth Doctor land in what Romana takes to be ancient Rome again, but they quickly discover to be an amusement park on the moon: Luna Romana. The only person left in the park beside automatons is an insane Time Lord, named Stoyn. Stoyn’s been trapped on the moon for 2000 years. His only company is a time-space visualizer, which constantly shows the Doctor’s adventures. Stoyn has developed quite the hatred for the Doctor whom he blames for his predicament. Once the Doctor and Romana arrive, he takes the Doctor hostage. Romana quickly rescues him. However, during the resulting fight after Stoyn realizes that Romana disabled the robotic guards with her sonic screwdriver, Stoyn falls through the Time-Space Visualizer, which shatters around him, and into a time tunnel. Then Romana arrives. Realizing that she remembers seeing herself, this other Romana urges the Second Romana to jump through the time tunnel – which she does.

Back in ancient Rome, Romana lands on the temple roof, and nearly falls off, before being rescued. She and the Doctor discover the Key to Time, but it’s the Fifth Segment which they already have. Earlier Romana had let the “injured” Time Lord in the TARDIS to use the Zero Room to pull himself together (literally – the six identical men were splinters of Stoyn who was splintered by the journey through the broken Visualizer). But the TARDIS is stolen. Fortunately, the Future Romana sent the TARDIS back from the moon.

There is another confrontation on the moon, and this time the Doctor and Romana succeed in defeating Stoyn for good. Both return to ancient Rome, where the Doctor encourages an ancient playwright. The Doctor, who had been nervous about completing his mission for the White Guardian, realizes he can’t avoid it any longer. And Romana, in her future version, is more confident in herself and assured of her past lives and adventures.

I did listen to this audio adventure over a week ago (thus the April posting date on GoodReads). It was a good story, but a bit confusing in places. Lalla Ward does an excellent job telling the story, however, as does Juliet Landau. Terry Molloy is suitably angry and crazy as Stoyn (Molloy is known for his portrayal of Davros in “Genesis of the Daleks”.) Recommended. I still, though, prefer the single-disc Companion Chronicles but I do like the entire premise of the series as “missing adventures” and stories told from the point of view of the companion.

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

Click this link to order Luna Romana on CD or Download.

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

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!