Monday, May 4, 2009
Review: The Resurrection Casket by Justin Richards
The Resurrection Casket
By: Justin Richards
Publisher: BBC Books
About the book:
Starfall – a world on the edge, where crooks and smugglers hide in the gloomy shadows and modern technology refuses to work. And that includes the TARDIS.
The pioneers who used to be drawn by the hope of making a fortune from the mines can find easier picking elsewhere. But they still come – for the romance of it, or in the hope of finding the lost treasure of Hamlek Glint – scourge of the spaceways, privateer, adventurer, bandit…
Will the TARDIS ever work again? Is Glint’s lost treasure waiting to be found? And does the fabled Resurrection Casket – the key to eternal life – really exist? With the help of new friends, and facing terrifying new enemies, the Doctor and Rose aim to find out…
The Resurrection Casket is my first foray into the world of Doctor Who fiction, and I have to say I’m pretty pleased with this introduction. This novel features the tenth Doctor, as played by David Tennant, and his companion Rose, as played by Billie Piper. It’s not too much of a stretch to envision this novel as an episode set sometime during series 2 of the current television show. While not quite the caliber of the series 2 episodes, the characterization of Rose and the Doctor is strong enough to make Casket a nice and believable addition to the chronicles of their adventures. When the TARDIS encounters a powerful EMP (electromagnetic pulse), all systems shut down and Rose and the Doctor are unceremoniously stranded on the world of Starfall, where the most advanced technology is steam-powered. Many of Starfall’s inhabitants, like young Jimm who befriends the Doctor and Rose, dream of escaping their hardscrabble existence and striking it rich – perhaps even finding the fabled lost treasure of the dread pirate Hamlek Glint. The whole pirate angle of the story – especially the way the “Black Shadow” is used to mark someone for death – owes a great deal to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Those elements of Treasure Island translate well into the fantastic, science fiction realm of the Doctor Who universe. Richards’ story accomplishes what so many of the Doctor’s adventures do so well – adding a though-provoking, or terrifying, or fantastical new element to the familiar and known, changing all the “rules.” The biggest strength of The Resurrection Casket is Richards’ characterization of the Doctor – as far as I’m concerned he nails David Tennant’s mannerisms, perfectly capturing the wonder, joy, intensity, and manic energy Tennant brings to the Doctor on-screen. If you’re like me and can’t get enough of the Doctor’s adventures, Casket’s an enjoyable read, suitable for whiling away a couple of hours lost in the Doctor & Rose’s company.