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Reviews for The King of Terror

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Not your usual Davison

By:Anthony V., Queens, NY, USA
Date:Friday 26 April 2002
Rating:   8

I found "The King Of Terror" to be a lot like the television episodes that used to air on the public television station, but with expanded views of the characters and how they interplayed with one another. I was quite surprised when Tegan actually lip-locked with someone totally unlike her, and when Turlough nearly went berserk when he found a way out of capture. All in all, a first-rate book all around...may there be many more like it!

Too Many Loose Ends

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Friday 14 April 2006
Rating:   5

This one got a thrashing on other Doctor Who review sites, though the one other review here, so far, praised it. I lean more towards thrashing, but will not exactly take that course. Here is the basic premise - an international conglomerate that has swiftly taken over the communications systems of earth is really a bunch of aliens. The idea goes back at least as far as John Carpenter's underrated film "They Live" and has appeared in other Doctor Who novels. To give the notion some novelty, Topping has included a second group of aliens bent on wiping out the first. Earth is merely part of their strategies. The first seek domination and enslavement, while the second seek total annihilation. This is fine and provides plenty of room for cloak and dagger play. However, cloak and dagger requires carefully controlled and tight plotting, which "The King of Terror" utterly lacks. Far too much in this book is throw-away. For instance, there is a useless prologue involving an interview with an ancient Brigadier, which provides no clues at all about the rest of the novel. Much of the early going involves two UNIT operatives following a courier of illegal plutonium from Amsterdam to Los Angeles. Then, they get stopped, the courier makes his delivery, gets blown away, and that is the end of it. The whole carefully described extravaganza is merely a novelist's excuse to get our two UNIT men to L.A. Similarly, Tegan gets sent on a useless trip to the desert that again serves no particular plot purpose other than the convenience of having her see a UFO. There is a throwaway reference to a pop star that we are supposed to infer is the son of Ian and Barbara and who apparently had some kind of relationship with Tegan in his past but her future. This last incident is only one of the many pointless diversions in order to give a wink to the fans. The main characters are mostly wasted. Turlough spends 3/4 of the novel being imprisoned and tortured. Tegan spends 3/4 of the novel arguing with everyone and being utterly useless. The Doctor and the Brigadier spend most of their time chatting to this person, then that person, and not much else. Finally, there is the matter of numerous references to one of Topping's previous books, with Martin Day, "The Devil-Goblins From Neptune." The only actual carryover from that book is the head of the CIA, Control (yes, I saw "The Equalizer" too). In this case, I believe, there are some heavy hints that the CIA is not the Central Intelligence Agency, but really the Celestial Intervention Agency, or at least Control is. Again, what for? All in all, it is a frustrating read because of all the things it could have been.

King of mediocrity

By:Trevor Smith, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Date:Friday 12 September 2008
Rating:   5

An interesting enough premise that never really gets going. You wait for it to kick in & it never does before it fizzles out.

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