An asteroid in the furthest reaches of space – the most secure prison for the most dangerous of
criminals. The Governor is responsible for the cruellest murderers so he’s not impressed by the arrival of the man they’re calling the most dangerous criminal in the quadrant. Or, as he prefers to be known, the Doctor.
But when the new prisoner immediately sets about trying to escape, and keeps trying, the Governor sets out to find out why.
Who is the Doctor and what’s he really doing here? And who is the young woman who comes every day to visit him, only to be turned away by the guards?
When the killing finally starts, the Governor begins to get his answers.
My thanks to Netgalley for providing a reading copy
With Doctor Who back on our screens every Saturday night it is great to see BBC are keeping the books going with brand new original adventures. Particularly pleasing is that the new books feature Peter Capaldi as The Doctor – show of good faith in the writers that their interpretations of the new Doctor will be consistent with the show.
As I write we are 3 shows into the Capaldi run and I am very pleased with what I have seen thus far. It also means that as I read Blood Cell I could easily imagine The Doctor and Clara playing out the story – major Kudos to James Goss on this front as I really enjoyed his depiction of Capaldi’s Doctor.
The story its-self takes a less conventional approach. The Doctor has been arrested and is imprisoned in a secure prison in deep space. He is Prisoner 428 in the eyes of the Prison Governor and it is through the eyes of the Governor that we see the whole story unfold. The book is told in the first person from the Governor’s perspective.
The Doctor is a mysterious character at the best of times but to the Governor he is a puzzle, an irritation and a liability. The reader gets to enjoy seeing The Doctor get one up on his captors at every opportunity. While the reader knows the Doctor is most likely in a prison because it suited his purposes, the Governor has no idea that his problem prisoner is actually working in everyone’s best interests.
The reasons for Prisoner 428’s incarceration are not immediately clear but are revealed as the story unfolds. The Doctor’s travelling companion, Clara, is more of a cameo than a featured character but her apparent squabbles with the TARDIS provide some light relief as the tension in the story starts to ramp up.
This is the first of the novels I have read featuring Capaldi’s Doctor. Blood Cell was a strong start and I want to read more.
As an aside I ran a quick check on the other books written by James Goss and I noticed he co-authored one of my favourite Doctor Who books Doctor Who History of the Universe in 100 Objects. That too is highly recommended for fans.