- Series: Doctor Who (BBC)
- Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: BBC Pubns; paperback / softback edition (February 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0563555912
- ISBN-13: 978-0563555919
- Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.5 x 7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,503,317 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Tomb of Valdemar (Doctor Who (BBC)) Mass Market Paperback – February, 2000
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Top Customer Reviews
Fortunately, this book ranks right up there with Zeta Major as one of Messingham's better Doctor Who novels. The story of the Doctor and Romana being sidetracked from their quest for the Key to Time (available on video from Amazon.com, of course) to stop a potentially even greater threat to the universe would fit right in with the TV episodes it is supposed to fit between. Long time fans will feel right at home reading about a crazed pseudo-magician/wizard tapping into forces that he doesn't understand in a mad quest for unlimited power. More contemporary fans should enjoy trying to figure out the politics of the society Messingham has created from the few hints he reveals here, and the postmodern comments he makes on storytelling in general, and Doctor Who storytelling in particular, by chosing to structure this as a story within a story.
Unfortunately, while the plot is fairly gripping, the characters are, for the most part, fairly thin. Messingham gives us a good sense of who most of them are, but I never felt like I truly understood most of their motivations, nor did I particularly care to find out.Read more ›
'Tomb of Valdemar' is set between 'The Ribos Operation' and 'The Pirate Planet', and takes advantage of the somewhat prickly nature of the relationship between the Doctor and Romana, only recently flung together by the White Guardian. This novel moves that relationship along so that the more relaxed dealings between the two travellers in later stories in the season makes more sense.
The novel also justifies its existence by claiming that the potential outcome of events told therein may be as significant as those forthcoming events that the assembly of the Key to Time are to prevent.
It also has an interesting storytelling device, not normally used in the range: that of a narrator who is involved in the events, retelling the story much later in life. This adds a different slant to the story, although it does remove any significant dramatic tension around the character who tells the story as you know she survives.
My main criticism would be that there are too many plot lines running in this book. Readers may find it useful to keep a score card to try to track who is doing what and their motivation!
Overall, I think the book's good points outweigh its bad, but Simon Messingham should think about simplifying his plotting in the future!
Being placed after the first story of the Key To Time season, 'The Ribos Operation', see the Doctor and Romana's relationship at edge. The Doctor not wanting a companion and Romana innocent to the wonders and threats of the galaxy. The Doctor's grumbling conversations with himself regarding this fact are quite humourous and fits well with the televised period this story is set in. Romana is also excellently portrayed as the 'newbie' traveller. K-9 is put out of action, therefore hardly appears in the novel at all.
The story is narrated in a third person view, you will find it is a bit distracting at first but you will understand (well kind of) at the end of the novel why this was done - so keep at it.
The plot is also quite busy, with lots of things happening at once which again can become confusing with keeping up with the events. You might have to read over passages to work out what is going on.
Overall, it's a good story with great characterisation, but you may need to force yourself to continue reading it - it's worth it if you do.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Sometimes it really is possible to just try too hard. Like most people of good will, I'm a fan of the Fourth Doctor and even somewhat of a fan of the first Romana, during the... Read morePublished on July 28, 2010 by Michael Battaglia
If your reading this you already know what the book is about, so here's an opinion of the story itself, without spoilers. Read morePublished on May 22, 2009 by Amazon Customer
This is a hard to find gem of a novel. Written by S. Messingham, it deals with the fourth doctor (played on TV by the wonderful Tom Baker). Read morePublished on May 10, 2009 by Mike Tocci