I am seriously on the fence for how to review this audiobook. So I've decided to give it a middle rating, and tell you why.
Until now, I've been eagerly waiting for each installment of this audio series. Each is read by a companion of the specified Doctor, and for Six that's Peri and no other.
Nicola Bryant slips back into her American accent like she's never left it. Which is the first of my problems with this book: I never liked it. Her character was a reluctant companion, better suited to the Doctor she first met rather than the unhinged one she is known for. It's unclear how long the two traveled space and time, but during her final adventure she was very comfortable with her role as the Doctor's conscience, and played it to the hilt. 3 stars out of 5, but there's more to talk about here.
From the performance, this adventure is set sometime in the first of Colin Baker's seasons, which brings me to my second dig. This adventure could be slid in amongst any of them, and no one would be the wiser. It's a perfect homage to the madcap, nonsensical stories on air in the mid-80s, and which ultimately led to both the cancellation of the series, and Baker's untimely ousting as the title character. So while overall I found it trite and banal, it was perfect in its awfulness, so I'm giving Nev Fountain 5 full stars for his effort.
And now we have to touch on the subject matter. I've already lauded Fountain's too-accurate portrayal of the Sixth Doctor, but the meta-narrative of the Destiny of the Doctor Series is barely present. For those who don;t know, 11 is sending himself messages and tasks to his incarnations in preparation for some big to do in the indeterminate future. I personally think it's building the full resurrection of River Song, but after her portrayal in the latest televised episode, I now am hedging my bets.
So with the framing device mentioned and discarded in the first five minutes, we then join the intrepid duo on the deck of the Santa Maria, as all time bastard and horrible explorer Christopher Columbus makes anchor off the coast of Hispaniola.
I'm not going to go on here about how much of a prick Columbus is/was, but Fountain (through Peri) nails it right on the head. And although I'm a fan of the historicals (Marco Polo being my favorite), I can't think of a subject matter I want to hear about less than the vile, perfidious acts of the "discoverer of the Americas."
And yet, Fountain throws in enough Timey Wimey to at least keep me listening. And while he doesn't die in the manner he so richly deserves, CC is revealed as the villain he truly was, a far greater threat than the entirely unbelievable Monster of the Week thrown at the Doctor to drive the plot along. We see (or rather, hear) some great bits about the Doctor, the T.A.R.D.I.S., Peri, and the nature of time travel, but the utter failure of second reader Cameron Stewart to engage me in the antagonists drops us back to 3 out of Five.
And compared to the rest of the audio adventures so far, this is far and away the worst of the lot. Even the over-the-top antics of Not-Pertwee are better than suffering through another round of Baker's affected snobbery, even second-hand through Nicola Bryant's voice. So while I gave Fountain full props above for his faithfulness to the source, the very idiocy of that source when compared to the other Doctor Eras drops us to 2 of 5. I was not entertained, considered several times not finishing the performance, and started composing this review within minutes of the first listen.
If you're a completest, this audiobook doesn't cost a lot and gives you important information about the overall Destiny of the Doctor Plot. But you can easily skip it, and I honestly can't recommend you do otherwise.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.