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Doctor Who: Fear of the Dark Paperback – April 23, 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Trevor Baxendale was born in Liverpool in 1966. He has been contributing to a variety of Doctor Who fiction ranges for both BBC Books and Big Finish Productions for over ten years. Trevor is a regular contributor to BBC Magazines' hugely popular Doctor Who Adventures, scripting the further exploits of the Doctor in comic strip form. His Torchwood novel, Something in the Water, was a national bestseller.
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Product Details

  • Series: Doctor Who (Book 171)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Books (April 23, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849905223
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849905220
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #833,976 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Fear of the Dark is a Dr. Who novel by Trevor Baxendale. It's his fourth Dr. Who novel, and the first one to involve a different Doctor than the eighth. Baxendale does an excellent job with this one, creating his very own Who horror novel with some chills and a tight cast of characters. It's only marred by an ending that seems to take forever and some wooden characterization.
Baxendale is known for his traditional Who stories, and this one is no different. One can imagine the dank cave sets, perhaps wobbling a little bit as they were wont to do on the television show. It has a limited cast, and even fewer actual speaking parts. The only thing that couldn't be done is some of the special effects, and even those may have been able to be faked. Yes, this is televised Who on a book budget. And you know what? I loved it.
One of the things the television series often had going for it was atmosphere. Fear of the Dark has this in spades. It's spooky and it's (yes, this word will keep coming up again) dark. The dank mood of the caves just wafts off the page, and when one of the characters is completely cut off and alone in the dark (there it is again!), I could feel my own gut clench a little bit. Even when the characters are in bright lights, the book still feels a bit dimmed. Baxendale does a very effective job in conveying this, and the mood is perfect for what Baxendale is trying to show us. It's positively chilling when the Dark is siphoning away any visible light, and we watch as even open flames slowly dim until they are just embers, and then finally even these go out.
Often, when books go for an atmospheric effect, they do so at the expense of the characters. Baxendale is bitten by this bug, unfortunately.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Before I review Fear of the Dark I have to admit I was kicking myself for not having read any of the 50th Anniversary Novels until now. Don't ask. Having decided to kick off with Fear since Davison's Doctor was always a favorite I can definitely say I wasn't disappointed. It was very well written and while I could expound on every high point of the novel (of which there were many) I will instead say the minute I finished I thought "Damn,this would have made a great episode!" ; )
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One of the best fifth doctors stories ever great read the only reason I gave it four stars instead of five was it seemed like it went on a little too long but it was a great read, great job with the characters of the 50th anniversary books, this is one of the best!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Do NOT read with the lights off! In fact don't read it as bedtime stories unless you like having nightmares. Very creepy and terrifying make you think that you are also endanger. This book is not kidding with high death counts, violence, and the Doctor being brought to his knees.

*Update:
This book reminds me of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley in the way that you have arrogant scientists who thinks he above Mother Nature by taken creation into their hands. Only difference is while you can understand and maybe feel sorry for Shelley's "monster", the monster in this story you don't.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Fear of the Dark" is quite the engaging thriller. Written by Trevor Baxendale, it follows the fifth incarnation of the Doctor as he winds up on the dark and desolate planet Akoshemon with companions Nyssa and Tegan. On the planet, they run into an "archaelogical dig" lead by one Jyl Stoker. She's the somewhat brash, cigar-chomping leader of the crew on the planet. We are also introduced to the massive man-boy Bunny Cheung and Vega Jaal, a sensitive alien from a planet known for its inhabitants' mastery of geology. Of course, the reader automatically knows that this is not an archaelogical dig, but an expedition to find something of value on Akoshemon.

As expected, the Doctor, his companions, and the crew run into something terrible on the planet. However, it isn't your run-of-the-mill alien intruder. This "thing" is actually a "darkness" of evil. I won't say much more on this so that I don't give away the entire plot. Just know that a few other characters show up, the main ones being Silas Cadwell and Lawrence, which change the course of events and make for a very interesting tale full of atmosphere.

This is one of the most violent tales that I've experienced involving any of the Doctors. The body count is high, and the deaths come in quick succession once they begin. Mind you, some of the characters are given deep backgrounds and then swiftly exit the story in violent death sequences. This makes the reader feel more for the characters, and thus makes the story that more engaging.

Baxendale nailed the fifth Doctor's mannerisms on the head. You can actually see Peter Davison running around in the dark corners of Akoshemon. Baxendale also visualizes Nyssa and Tegan perfectly. They are perfect foils to one another.
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Format: Paperback
The fifth incarnation of the Doctor, along with his companions Nyssa and Tegan, finds himself on a moon to the planet Akoshemon, which has a notoriously bad history. While helping what they first think is a crew of archeologists (but who are really pirates), it becomes clear to the Doctor that something evil is lurking, trying to break free. The situation escalates to a point beyond darkness.

I have been reading scary books since childhood. Upon reaching the age of 9 or so, my favorite genre became horror, both in movies and in literature. Rarely do I ever have nightmares from reading scary stories. But this book gave me nightmares. The darkness and evil in this book is so terrifying, and I believe symbolic of the evil that is possible in all people. I think the writing in the book is terrific. I was torn between wanting to put the book down because it frightened me, and staying up all night to read because it fascinated me.

I really liked the way the Doctor was written, I felt it stayed very true to the feeling of the series. However, this story does seem so much more violent that what is typical of Doctor Who, and it made me a little sad. Sure, there are times when there is a high body count, but the nature of the deaths in this book is particularly insidious, and it make me uncomfortable. The supporting cast of characters is a little weak as well, though in the end I was glad I did not get too attached to most of them. For me, the standouts are Stoker and Bunny Cheung, which are sort of like warring factions of the nature of man. There is strong emphasis on the them-us, dark-light motif in this story, but you will be surprised who all ends up on which sides of the equation.

All in all, a solid story that will appeal to most Doctor Who Fans.

I received a review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.
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