Cover by Two Associates/Woodlands books
KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES
TIME TRIPS BOOK 3
Publisher: BBC Books/Ebury Publishing
Published: 6 February 2014
On the cover:
(From the publisher's website.)
Deep in the gap between the stars, the TARDIS is damaged by a temporal mine. It’s not life-threatening, but the Tenth Doctor will need a while to repair the damage. But he’s not alone. The strangely familiar-looking Christina thinks the Doctor has arrived in her bed and breakfast, somewhere in Wales. In fact, the TARDIS seems to have enveloped Christina’s entire town – and something else is trapped inside with it. A violent, unnatural storm threatens them all and – unless it’s stopped – the entire universe.
This is a story from the end of the Tenth Doctor's time. And it is unmistakenly the tenth Doctor too, you can clearly hear Tennant speak his lines in your head while you read this. Harkaway has managed to capture the personality of the tenth incarnation perfectly. The author has also found room for some signposts as to when this is happening, I'll refrain from divulging the biggest one, since I thought it was a very pleasant surprise myself. There's also a tie to a story of the Doctor's future, a nice Easter egg for those that remember that particular incident.
So the story is placed into the canon of the television show, but it is certainly not constrained by it in any way. This story stands very well on its own, and it is a very good one too.
The narrative starts quite literally with a bang, as mentioned in the cover copy above the TARDIS hits a temporal mine, and from there the story takes some very interesting turns. Harkaway is good at hiding where his plot is taking us, it takes quite a long time before we get any certainty to what is happening. This certainly heightens the suspense, but it also allows the Doctor to shine. The author really shows off the curiosity and inquisitiveness the Doctor has, something that has made him such a lovable hero to so many people.
There is a sense of fun and wonder throughout the story, even though it is quite far from a humourous story. What we do get is a story that is pervaded with a sense of tension. We know all the time that something serious is happening, and the author manages to really make the reader feel it.
It's not unusual for the TARDIS to be an important location in a Doctor Who story, but the way it is done here feels fresh. There's another location here that is totally new, and that has a very interesting history behind it. One that isn't immediately clear.
Harkaway has managed to make the locations very much part of the story, as well as something that adds to the mystery and suspense. The ambiguity when it comes to where we are is very well done, and the reveal of the reality behind it was a satisfying one.
All in all this is a very enjoyable Doctor Who story. It has some very interesting ideas behind it, and they are very well executed. For me this was an excellent addition to the Doctor's world, and I think it will be of interest to Science Fiction fans who are unfamiliar with his written adventures.
For those Doctor Who fans that miss the Tenth Doctor this is an absolute must. If you haven't got this yet you really should point your browser at your preferred e-book retailer, you won't regret it.
NOTE: I got an e-ARC of this from the publisher/NetGalley.