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Strange Novel

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Tuesday 9 October 2018
Rating:   6

Terrance Dicks has long been a Doctor Who traditionalist, a writer with very clear ideas about both what The Doctor should be like and "Doctor Who" should be like. This novel is, then, an utter surprise as he abandons both of those lines. This Doctor 5 is very little like the Doctor 5 we saw on TV, and very little like any other Doctor. And this story is very little like traditional Doctor Who stories. Ostensibly, the novel takes the reader to the backstory of "Brain of Morbius." The reader gets to see Karn prior to its war-torn ruins on TV, the Sisterhood as a powerful and influential organization, Solon as the self-absorbed chief surgeon, and Morbius on his rise to power. Of course, getting a later Doctor to an earlier period on Karn where he knows all these characters, but they don't know him, is a tricky matter. So, the Doctor spends much time and effort preserving an incognito. That is all fine, as it is. The difficult part for this reader is the elaborate plot Dicks has built around that central idea. To get The Doctor to Karn at the right time, the plot (but not the story) begins when The Doctor takes Peri to a planet unencumbered by civilizations and their various problems, so she can get some R&R. In less than half an hour, Peri is almost fatally wounded by a prehistoric creature, and the Doctor takes her to the best surgeon he can think of - Mehendri Solon, chief surgeon at the Hospice of Karn, a hospital renowned in the galaxy. There is some business with Peri's stumbling upon Solon's secret experiments and The Doctor's surprising uninterest in that, at least surprising to her. There is quite a bit of this before Morbius arrives, nearly midway through the novel. At that point, the novel takes a sudden turn to full not-Doctor-Who territory while using all the trappings of Doctor Who. The Doctor ends up going back to Gallifrey to convince the Time Lords to do something about Morbius. They do, mainly by setting up The Doctor as military leader who gathers forces from various, and given Doctor Who history highly unlikely to join such an endeavor, races. The Doctor becomes supreme military commander, must become everything he hates, but somehow finds that he actually kind of likes it. Meanwhile Peri, of all people, becomes a guerilla leader by accident.

Dicks with his later Doctor Who novels seems to be very interested in war, the phenomenon of war, the political necessity of it, and the tactics of it. With this novel, Dicks has forced the Doctor, who is otherwise both uninterested and opposed to all those things, to share these interests out of necessity.

As I read the book, I kept thinking of it as being much like Lance Parkin's "The Infinity Doctors." Like that novel, "Warmonger" has the recognizable characters, the references to various episodes and periods of the show, the trappings of "Doctor Who." And yet, like "The Infinity Doctors," "Warmonger" reads as if it occupies a parallel universe to Doctor Who's. It reads as a kind of "what if" exercise.

It might have worked in some way. However, Dicks, who is usually pretty careful about keeping his plots tidy, has left many loose ends; plus, he has created an unresolved paradox in which Borusa meets The Doctor and knows who The Doctor is before The Doctor is even born, if I get my time lines right. Certainly, it is before Borusa is a teacher at the academy and the young Doctor his pupil. How is it that the CIA know who The Doctor is before he becomes The Doctor? Why aren't the Time Lords panicking about time paradoxes and crossing one's own timeline? Plus, the whole beginning of the story (though not of the novel, which uses flashback storytelling) when Peri gets injured seems a mere contrivance to get The Doctor to Karn.

Audacious in some ways, "Warmonger" just does not quite hold together well enough to make the ambition pay off.



Absolutely Smashing!

By:Michael McGovern, Edmonton, Canada
Date:Wednesday 27 April 2005
Rating:   10

Terrance Dicks is a marvel. Warmonger is one of the most brilliantly written things I have ever seen. Possibly his very best.

If children ever discovered Terrance Dicks in Canada, Harry Potter would be finished. Lord of the Rings would be laughable. Warmonger is an adventure that reads like a movie, and it takes one talented writer to create a work that does not require dull effort to read. Brilliant plotting, lovely suspense, epic battles, and some great character work that only Terrance could do.

The Doctor shines. As a general, he is magnificent, a brilliant stratagist and a powerful leader. Peri is excellent as a guerrilla warrior, as are the Sontarans, the Cybermen, the Ogrons, Morbius, Solon, and pretty much everyone else.

What a story. What a story indeed. Wow.



space opera

By:wow, london
Date:Wednesday 13 October 2004
Rating:   10

I loved this book ! it runs smoothly and both grips and entertains . Terrence dicks has probably wrote the book of his life here . I like the way the sontarans , cybermen , draconians and ogrons work together to fight for a cause , something the real series would never have done . The shock inclusion of SOMEONE is great and only adds to the excitement .



This summer's blockbuster: Warmonger!

By:Xantos, London
Date:Saturday 11 September 2004
Rating:   10

Words cannot describe it; sheer brilliance!
This should be a Film!



War and Peace

By:Stephen Carlin, Bangor, Northern Ireland
Date:Monday 24 May 2004
Rating:   9

I have only quibble about this story - the character that Peri develops into in this book does not sit well with the Peri we see in The Caves of Androzani.

And that's my only quibble. Setting that aside this book is brilliant, by far one of the best Doctor Who novels I have read. I will admit to not being keen on some of Dick's novelisations and to most of his Virgin or BBC novels. So this book came as a surprise.

For me a book has to have a number of factors - it has to be readable, it has to be enjoyable and it has to be a good story told well. I've come across too many badly written books which fail to tell what could have been a good story. So it was a delight to read Warmonger which is readable, enjoyable, entertaining, well-written and a very good story.

The Doctor's transition from simple traveller to the leader of a stellar alliance which includes Sontarans, Draconians and Cybermen is well told. This is as close to the plot for a brilliant multi-million dollar Doctor Who film as you are ever going to get. Contrary to what some people say, the character of the 5th Doctor does sit well in this book. Davison ably demonstrated that there was a harder side to his Doctor, not just the vulnerable aspect which people tend to fixate on.

If you want a book that you really can't put down this has to be it. It is sheer fun and, without giving to much away, serves as a prequel to events that the Doctor was involved in earlier in his life.



The Wrong Doctor

By:J. Harrison, UK
Date:Saturday 21 December 2002
Rating:   1

This is the book where Terrance Dicks really loses the plot. I suppose it sounded like a good idea to try and present a darker side to the 5th Doctor by tempting his most humane incarnation with the trappings of power. Trouble is, the way Dicks handles the transformation of the adventurer in cricket whites to jack booted military leader is heavy-handed and unconvincing. Also, are we really supposed to believe that the whining Peri we see in The Caves of Androzani had previously been something of a military strategist and leader herself?
Dicks seems to tire of the concept about mid-way through the book and starts throwing in old enemies and Time Lord conspiracies to pep up the book but it doesn't work.
Oddly enough this book could have worked very well if it had been written for the 6th Doctor and Peri and set between Revelation of the Daleks and The Mysterious Planet. It might have provided a good explanation for the mellowing of the realtionship between Dr. 6 and Peri, and the temptation of the Doctor might have linked in with the creation of the Valeyard.
As it stands, Warmonger comes across as Terrance Dicks' darkest hour not the Doctor's.



Good 5th Doc Story

By:Peteley, London, England
Date:Thursday 24 October 2002
Rating:   9

I have to admit it took me a while to get into the book but glad i did. The problem was at first i though it was very unlike the 5th Doc, but that is wrong it is a very good 5th Doc book but atypical type of story for hes era. I enjoy sequals or thous that bring back compaions or Villans, the problem is new Dr Who fans can find them a problem. This book is good for both it builds as a prequil to Brain of Morbius but stands very well on uts own,Another good Dicks book from one of the best Who writters



Best Davison book so far

By:Adrian Sherlock, Melbourne, Australia
Date:Tuesday 4 June 2002
Rating:   10

I loved this book! This is the fifth Doctor I remember, the charming but utterly ruthless young man who shot the Cyberleader dead, shoved a Dalek out a second storey window, blasted Omega into the anti-verse and told Davros "I'm not here as your prisoner but your executioner." After seeing him wasted in boring books like Deep Blue and irritating books like Divided Loyalties, this one is a page-turner and an galaxy spanning adventure on a star wars movie scale. Terrance Dicks is the best DR. Who novelist there is and I loved every page of this book. I was never tempted to skip a single word or skim read a paragraph and it made me want to go back and watch Brain of Morbius again, even though I never really liked that story very much. All in all, Warmonger is exciting, gripping, enjoyable stuff with much humor and suspense and I recommend it to anyone who loves the Fifth Doctor or just likes a damn fine Who space adventure!




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