On a windswept Northern shore, at the very tip of what will one day become Scotland, the islanders believe the worst they have to fear is a Viking attack. Then the burning comes. They cannot run from it. Water will not stop it. It consumes everything - yet the burned still speak.
The Doctor is looking for a game on the famous Lewis chess set. Instead, he encounters a people under attack from a power they cannot possibly understand. They have no weapons, no strategy, and no protection against a fire sent to engulf them.
Add in some marauding Vikings with very bad timing, a kidnapped princess with a secret of her own and a TARDIS that seems to have developed an inexplicable fear of water, and they all have a battle on their hands. The islanders must take on a ruthless alien force in a world without technology, without communications, without tea that isn't made out of bark. Still, at least they have the Doctor on their side - don't they?
©2012 J.T. Colgan (P)2012 AudioGO Ltd
On the positive side, the narrator is great, and the book has a strong start, which is interesting and entertaining. Then about halfway through the plot just drops off a cliff. Turns into a cheezy romance between 2 characters who at the beginning were interesting, bright and likeable but then get twisted into romance plot characters. They start saying unlikely things given their character development to that point, and it becomes difficult to care about them at all. The Doctor becomes extraneous to the plodding plot that drags on and on. Probably would have made a great short story, but there isn't enough material for a whole book.
I looked up the author after writing the above to find out J.T. Colgan is actually Jenny Colgan who has made her literary mark writing (wait for it) "romantic comedies". She should stick to that, or at least try to remember what genera she's shooting for when she's trying to write science fiction. The crossover is poison.
I do hope the narrator goes on to do other, better books.
This Eleventh Doctor story started off well and was gripping enough, but the story lost it's way half way through and it became a chore for me to finish listening to this. I ended up having no interest in whether the characters lived or died... I just wanted to get to the end! 'Dark Horizons' might have been better suited to the shorter format of other Doctor Who novels, as there just wasn't enough meat on the bone in this adventure for me.
The narration of this audiobook was done by Neve McIntosh, who did her best to get to grips with all of the voices. But as the plot meandered they all merged in to one, and the various characters sounded much the same, which ended up getting a bit confusing. Of course, the lack of an interesting story might have meant that my concentration was slipping away, which could have contributed to this as well.
Probably not the worst Doctor Who novel ever... but not the best - by a long way - either!
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