So it is the middle of February and I have another two books down on my yearly goal, I intended that it would be somewhere around a book a month if I could, thankfully I have averaged better than that thus far.
The Purity Plot continues EE Doc Smith's D'Ambert family series in fine form, if anything there is more coherence to his themes of hidden agendas and natural succession of nobility (though as always with an undercurrent of some nobility being bad, but nevertheless overall it is nobilis oblige). The second book is a Doctor Who book (picked up at a bargain bookstore) from the New Adventures Series (note the book is Asylum by Peter Davril-Evans not the Sanctuary pic above which is now just for illustration and to remind me that my mind is dead, finally dead). it follows a non-canon meeting between the Fourth Doctor and Nyssa. I have a few comments on the story that I am just going to bullet:
* Historical elements: Felt a little sub-par Name of the Rose, similar feeling with their being death in monasteries but without Eco's excellent sense of narrative pace and timing to religious day. The similarity made for an uncomfortable echo that really upset what the author was trying to achieve, especially since the Doctor was portrayed well.
Aside from that the monastery, history of Oxford and English history was skilfully woven into the narrative without it becoming overbearing or Scamarised to death.
* Nyssa. The writer caught Nyssa particularly well and gave her a believable inner turmoil and then ditched her to a castle courtyard for the majority of the novel. Whenever we returned to her it was to find her shying away and although this was to be as part of the final denouement it was un-subtle and I felt she was badly underused.
* Sci-fi: Well this was almost totally absent, just an essence of the real story (perhaps) hidden in an intriguing prologue-epilogue combination. Unfortunately this then felt tagged on to the rest of the story and quite frankly I would have left it out, it was a good enough Who story without it.
The writer had a big task as he introduced a mix whereby a later companion had to interact with a previous doctor without there being too much causality/paradox elements as that would upset balances, so instead we had a feeble (mental state) companion brushed aside and deserted by one of the canon's greatest emotional doctors. The fourth doctor has always emoted, even with the enemy, who can forget that he debated destroying the Daleks in the mighty Genesis, so there was an internal dichotomy that wasn't rationally presented, just brushed aside in a casual manner by separation.
On the whole I enjoyed the book, the pacing was slow but involving I just felt niggled too much (maybe I'm getting grumpy in my old age).
Currently still reading Web navigation, though now I can add Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to that list (always revisit your childhood if you can) so two books in reading production. Got to find my next book to read 😉