Doctor-trapSimon Messingham
BBC Books
2008

Sebastiene was perhaps once human. He might look like a nineteenth-century nobleman, but in truth he is a ruthless hunter. He likes nothing more than luring difficult opposition to a planet, then hunting them down for sport. And now he’s caught them all–from Zargregs to Moogs, and even the odd Eternal. In fact, Sebastiene is after only one more prize. For this trophy, he knows he is going to need help. He’s brought together the finest hunters in the universe to play the most dangerous game for the deadliest quarry of them all. They are hunting for the last of the time Lords–the Doctor.

Here we are, with another story involving the Tenth iteration of The Doctor, along with the companion that had to take some time to grow on me: Donna Noble. This one, according to the oft-referenced TARDIS Wiki that I have wasted countless hours on in my free time, takes place some time after the events in “Planet of the Ood”, as that and “The Fires of Pompeii” were referenced. As one of the mass of Doctor Who novels I managed to purchase at Half Price Books on the eve of my 41st birthday, I finally got around to reading it a short time after, and now am getting around to the review a year later. Wacky.

In The Doctor Trap, The Doctor and Donna check out a distress signal originating from the South Pole. Turns out, there’s an excavation of some alien thingie, and if John Carpenter’s The Thing taught us anything, it’s that this kind of thing never ends well. While there, someone manages to steal the TARDIS, and the Doctor and Donna are tricked by a Doctor doppelganger (I just said that sentence out loud, and…gads…). They end up on the mysterious Planet 1, which is run by someone (or something) named Sebastiene, who has recently convened a group of intergalactic hunters to hunt the Most Dangerous Game in all the galaxy: The Doctor! The idea is to disperse the various hunters onto separate quadrants on the planet and given a chance to bag the Doctor at their respective areas. Turns out, though, there’s a super-fan of the Doctor that’s been genetically altered to look like the Tenth Doctor, who was the guy who kidnapped Donna and stole the TARDIS, leaving a transmat device for The Doctor to get to Planet 1 for the festivities. Of course, The Doctor has a plan…one that involves subterfuge, slight of hand, and of course, good ol’ fashioned Time Lord ingenuity. By the end, the twists and revelations will have you reaching for the aspirin bottle.

Overall, The Doctor Trap could have just been another reworking of “The Most Dangerous Game”, with The Doctor on a planet full of hunters gunning for the Last of the Time Lords. Which it is; but it’s written as kind of a Scoobie-Doo like mystery, if that’s the proper way to describe this. There were some good twists and turns, and even the villain of the piece received a bit of depth of character near the end, despite at first coming off as clichéd. Not a bad way to spend a few hours reading, methinks.

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