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Spiral Scratch

Doctor Who: The BBC Past Doctor Adventures #72
Christian Petrie

Before starting this review, the first thing to state and get out of the way is that Spiral Scratch does contradict the reason for the Sixth Doctor's regeneration that was mentioned in the New Adventures line of books. With that said, and out of the way, I found Spiral Scratch to be an enjoyable book to read. The reason I decided to read this book in the first place was because of the regeneration of the Sixth Doctor.

Even though I was reading it for the regeneration portion, I was not expecting much from the story. My only concern was to see how the regeneration scene was handled. This opinion changed when reading it and I was hooked and had to finish reading it to see how everything tied together.

The brief outline of the story is there is a 'scratch' on the boundaries between different timelines. The Doctor and Mel are sent to Earth by his old friend Remmus to find the source of the problem. What happens next is you see two other versions of the Sixth Doctor and Mel sent to different places to find the source of the problem. The story covers different time periods early on while showing the Doctor and Mel arriving at the library. I did not find myself getting too interested book during the early chapters, but once they arrive at the Library things started to pick up. I found myself trying to tie all the other chapters together and the book started to get more interesting.

I enjoyed how Mel was written in the book. It was good seeing additional background information about her and how she and the Sixth Doctor interacted. This was great expansion upon their characters showing how they got along. Garry Russell did a good job of writing both characters and as others have noted, when an author gets the Doctor and his companion right, you can see the actors acting in your mind.

Another aspect of the storyline that was a change, were the other versions of the Sixth Doctor and Mel. I found myself wanting to find out more about these other versions. Even how the relationship between them written strongly. When the events of the story came to a close, the ramifications of correcting the 'scratch' upon these other versions were handled very well

In the fact, the major ramification was the regeneration, and it was written as part of the events and not a tacked on piece. When you realize what the Doctor was about to do, it brought up the same feeling when you realize the impending regeneration as in Logopolis, Caves of Androzani, and The Parting of Ways. I found myself thinking something would happen to prevent it, but still knew the outcome would be the regeneration. Once the regeneration occurred it did fit in with the events at the start of Time and the Rani.

The plot and events of the Sixth Doctor and Mel were done very well, but when it comes to the secondary characters, most of them were done well. Unfortunately, the two characters that did not turn out so well were the Lamprey creatures and Rummas.

Every time the Lamprey creatures were mentioned or seen in their regular form, I kept thinking about the Process from Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible. As I read, the character of Rummas was missing something. I thought his scenes with the Doctor were good. The problem was as a Time Lord he did not feel like a Time Lord. One key aspect of the story was seeing the different murders of Rummas. Yet it was not until close to the end of the story that we were told he was on his last regeneration. So when his murders are written, I felt it was more a human being murdered, until that comment at the end of the story.

Overall, this is a very strong story for the Doctor and Mel and works great into ending the Sixth Doctor's adventures and leading into Time and the Rani. The disappointment with it came from the secondary characters. If you haven't had a chance to read this yet, I would recommend it.

Will Hadcroft

For me, the essential criteria of a good book is simple: Does it interest me? Do I care about what happens to the characters? Am I motivated to keep reading and get to the end? Does the story resonate after I’ve finished it?

It is true that Gary Russell’s Past Doctor novel Spiral Scratch contains what some have called “clunky prose” and it is true that he and his editors have missed some grammatical errors. However I’m inclined to let these details go, partly because my own scribblings are no better in this regard, but mostly because this is one of the finest Doctor Who novels I’ve read in recent times.

From the moment the green skinned adolescents arrived in the English village in Chapter One, I was hooked. Because of my poor attention span when reading novels, the opening chapter of a book can be difficult for me, more so in a Doctor Who one because the Doctor is usually the most interesting character but tends not to appear in the opening scenes. Yet the setup in Chapter One drew me in and by the end of it I was keen to know what was going on.

Without giving away any crucial plot developments, I will say that Gary Russell has been extremely fastidious and clever in creating his ‘multiverse’, the concept of alternative time is stretched to the limit. I love concept stories - the What If? factor – and Gary has thought his through very carefully indeed. The Doctor meeting his previous selves makes continuity a headache at the best of times. Here, Gary has the Sixth Doctor bumping into, not his other selves, but various manifestations of his current self, and to boot Mel confronts her own alternates. One of the greatest benefits of this device to my mind is the Doctor being present in one form or another pretty much throughout, the same character and yet not the same.

Then there are the settings, different times and places, and different variations of the same time and place. My favourite was Rome, which in the story is still a thriving world empire in the 21st century. The Doctor in this dimension is scar faced and wears black. He was my favourite manifestation.

There is no doubt as one reads this book that Gary Russell loves the Sixth Doctor and Mel. Like me and many others, he probably laments the absence of a third season on television. The version of Mel remembered by the general public is the one from Season 24. They recall Sylvester McCoy gurning and prat-falling, the cobbled together stories, the pantomimesque style and over the top acting. The name Bonnie Langford is uttered in disgust.

And yet, the Sixth Doctor and Mel in Terror of the Vervoids are a joy to watch. Colin Baker has settled into the role perfectly and has calmed down. Bonnie Langford demonstrates that she can play a character bestowed with intelligence and courage. The relationship between the Doctor and Mel here is more on equal footing (and not a million miles away from the kind of friendship enjoyed by Doctors Nine and Ten with Rose Tyler in the new series). Gary has harnessed the depth of characterisation on display in Terror of the Vervoids and exemplified it in the Big Finish plays and his Sixth Doctor novels. They are that third Colin Baker season which would have been so welcome on screen.

Concept stories tend to suffer when it comes to characterisation and emotional depth. I know certain commentators have said Spiral Scratch is a little lacking in this regard because of its employing so many different settings, but I thought it was actually rather good. I cared about all the characters, and one variation of Mel in particular.

The monster of the piece is a memorable one. I found its scenes absorbing. And the end was nicely done too, this book marking the temporary suspension of the Sixth Doctor range.

Respecting the questions I posed at the outset; the book interested me and hooked me in from the first chapter (although I have to admit this was partially due to the fact that I love the time paradox/alternative time concept. My favourite non-Who novel of the year is The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger: A truly wondrous book), I cared about the characters, I read the bulk of the book over four consecutive evenings (which is good for me; if I’d have had the mental stamina I would have read for longer periods), and I was rather disappointed when the story was over. In fact, after each phase of reading, I reflected on what had happened and where it might go next. The night I finished the book I had a dream about Colin Baker and Gary Russell!

Spiral Scratch left a deep impression. If you like the Sixth Doctor and Mel, if you like their Big Finish incarnations in particular, and you enjoy a good concept properly executed, this is worth buying.

Sean Stagg

Love is all you need. Among his many successes in his life Gary Russell’s greatest would have to be in helping to give us a sixth Doctor we can all love. Respect in no small part to Colin, who would never ever allow for it to be a small part indeed. (If in doubt, check out any one of his Big Finish audio plays. Even if the script isn’t one of the better ones Colin is always on fire.) With ‘Spiral Scratch’ GR provides the one thing that DW6 has been missing, something to help complete the continuity in his tenure, something a long time in coming…an end. In fact, it’s one of those things when finished I reading the novel I wondered why no-one has attempted it before. Considering the fact that any attempt couldn’t be undone, if it was going to be tried, it had to be worthwhile. The question then is simple really, was it worth it? Is it up to…ahem…scratch?

Yes…and no. Considering that, arguably, the regeneration concept is a brilliant one, and managed to perpetuate an already great idea across four decades, through various ups and downs, there comes great pressure for a ‘regeneration’ story. Consider the Hitchcock-esque set-piece on the radio antenna as DW4, in spite of best efforts, plunges to his doom. I was devastated as a child, unaware that the Doctor could regenerate, only to be overjoyed and slightly puzzled when Peter Davidson emerged into the role. As and for DW5…who could forget that heartbreaking moment when he reveals he only has enough bat’s milk for Peri…? That was the stuff of epic heroism, and a perfect exit for such a multi-faceted characterization. In fact, up until DW6 there had been this great pathos woven into the series, the dismay as DW2 loses his long term companions like Jamie and Zoe, to learn that they will have no memory of him. And the best part is that blissfully ignorant as a child, decades away from the internet, I would be unaware that this was ‘the one’, the regeneration story. And so it was, for ‘Spiral Scratch’.

‘Spiral Scratch’ is an ambitious novel in many ways, a real head-banger, a multi-doctor story with multiples of the same doctor for a change, and very much a novel of two halves. The first half juggles a great number of concentric storylines, and teases the reader with a several solid hooks. In contrast the second half hangs a sharp right hook, the story going out in all directions, mixing high concepts, masses of exposition, and several missed opportunities for greatness. The opening sequence with the green star-children, while interesting, and engaging, seemed protracted, whereas the several scenes with The Doctor and Mel that follow feel too swift, and succinct. That GR takes time to create a rich mixture of supporting characters is part of the novel’s success, and eventual frustration. He gives us DW6 and Mel with familiar bluster and patient understanding respectively, his affection for the characters prominent in the zealous dialogue. Initially these perfunctory scenes with the Doctor and Mel are wedged between the more detailed and interesting passages establishing Professor Tungurd and his wife Natjya, Monica and Pike, to Sir Bertrand Lamprey and his daughter Helen, each storyline possessing a great tension. Until the midway, there was considerable pleasure in the concentric circles coming together much like the titular phenomenon. Dramatically, there is a welcome maturity in the early part of the novel; when Monica exposes her duplicity, and hints at an ulterior agenda with Tungurd and the bedridden Natja, and in the relation ship with Helen and Sir Bernard. The half birthday notion, the lovelorn housekeeper and chauffer, even to Helen’s art, are great details to sell the characters, though unfortunately it adds to nothing in the second half of the book.

Going to visit an old friend of the Doctor’s is a familiar artifice in DW; DW6 did this in ‘Revelation of the Daleks’. There is even the shadow of ‘Shada’ hanging over events here. The fact that Rummas is another rogue Time Lord exploiting Gallifreyan technology for his own end is a great contrast with the Doctor, though it is no surprise that Rummas’ exploits have had a hand in what is going on. The mystery of Rummas’ murder and the time-zone overlaps is a great hook, as much as Mel’s own initiation into the phenomenon of being ‘temporally challenged’ in the library when she meets the custodians Mr Woltas and Mr Huu. These two come from the classic DW tradition of the ‘double act’, right back to Quill and Oak in ‘Fury from the Deep’, almost obligatory really, as much as corridor acting.

The scale of the story that GR is telling here was probably too much for the 280 pages he is limited to; there’s enough for another novel at least. Careful reading is required, and a breeze back through helped considerably. But a glut of ideas doesn’t mean depth, and when dealing with these notions of time/space paradox and alternate realities baffling the reader doesn’t make the material complicated, only confusing and difficult. Clever ideas go adrift in the chaos, constantly. The engaging ‘new’ Rome scene, with a darker, disfigured Doctor, a man in black (another concession to Colin), and a great background, gets one showing and is never seen again. While the ‘Ground Hog Day’ repetition never becomes tedious, and the confrontation between the various alternate selves handled well, replaying Helen’s party again feels like padding; especially when there is so much more story to be tackled. It’s a shame too that the other/alternate Doctor weren’t defined more explicitly; rather they need to be defined by the various versions of Mel. Non-linear stories shouldn’t be formed by cut and paste, rather stout structuring, remaining tight, consistent. ‘Spiral Scratch’ goes right off the rails even coming to a climax with a SFX heavy lightshow ala ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ that is completely unmoving. Like Mel we are mere spectators with barely an idea what is going on.

The real let down is the central artifice, the Monica/Lamprey attempting to take over the Vortex. In the DW3/Pertwee era, the Master would be manipulating the Lamprey somehow. There is a DW tradition with creatures of the Vortex; Vortisaurs, the Chronivore, the Reapers from the new series and now the Lampreys, and often rather than a way to explore the theories of time/space travel, they become a device to end ‘everything’, and little else. The idea of the Lamprey threading its way across multiverse, perpetuating consistency where there should be diversity and flux is most interesting, though the theft of the time-sensitive characters doesn’t work as it should. The notion of common thoughts/experiences/characters, and symbols, names and words, are ideas Jungian in abstract and offer much to consider and perhaps something worthy of exploring with greater depth down the line. It is a shame that the story wasn’t contrived so that we learn more of what Professor Tungard was working on. ‘Sounds like magic to me’, Mel says, and she’s right. And this was my big niggle, that if only we had shared this moment of discovery with Tungard, understood what it was he was working on, and how his initial experiments led to the Lamprey breach. Instead, we have a truck load of exposition dropped on him, and us, via the Carsus library, as the conclusion is clumsily reached. The inadvertent villain, the accidental architect of the end of everything is always good dramatically; it’s a shame that it didn’t mean more. That the Lamprey are able to shape-shift into human guise gives a personification to the evil, convenient as that is, unfortunately Monica (ouch) didn’t cut it as the ultimate evil force. The more this reader learned of the Lamprey concept, the less fun the book became, sadly.

That GR is a good writer, I have no doubt. His text is tight, sharp, his speech snappy (as you’d expect due to Gary’s affiliation with Big Finish), the energy is consistent, if the narrative isn’t. Continuity nods abound, and he has fun playing with the alternate versions of his beloved heroes, Mel certainly fairing better with several florid versions of herself, and an interesting sub-plot involving her own past (well one of them anyway). During Helen’s debut, the cheeky use of the word ‘scratch’ throughout, as people ‘scratch’ their heads at her painting, or rebuilding her life from ‘scratch’ cleverly foreshadows her fate. The painting in fact, of the recurring pentacle symbol gives the Doctor a great opportunity to pontificate, as only he can. You can virtually hear Colin spouting these lines; it’s a such a joy. There is talk aplenty in this novel, and there were a couple of times I was wondering if it were a left over or unfinished audio-play script. High-falutin’ techno-babble is everywhere. The encyclopedic definition of the Vortex worked well but personally my fave babble belonged to Rummas: ‘I honestly think we’re facing a pan multiversal rip. A scratch right through the grooves of the vortex spiral, causing jumps and gashes. And if something bleeds through from one multiverse to another…” Classic. Unfortunately GRs’ structure lets him down. When the Doctor and Mel arrive at the Wikes Manor the Doctor spills the exposition of the green children rather than save this as a revelation down the line, to connect the dots. That’s a let down, but what is really shameful is the segue at the start of chapter five, detailing the Time Lords and their involvement in the creation of Carsus. Woeful, and embarrassing.

The argument then is whether it is worth the work burning through the novel to reach the epilogue in which the drained, near-dead Doctor and Mel are caught by the Rani’s tractor beam and dragged into regeneration and the next season? Largely, yes I think. This is an enjoyable read, for all its frustrating qualities. This epilogue works well enough, a surprise for sure, (unless you read all this first), wowing you, but reflecting on the novel it is frustrating that the journey wasn’t completely up to the end. See it’s done now, and no amount of temporal jiggery-pokery can undo it. Something so significant shouldn’t have read like a chaotic patchwork as much as the Doctor’s much maligned coat. The last speech of DW6 feels worthy of Colin indeed:

“Don’t cry Mel. It was my time. Well, maybe not, but it was my time to give. To donate. I’ve had a good innings you know, seen and done a lot. Can’t complain this time. Don’t feel cheated.”

Okay, Doctor, I’ll try.

Lawrence Conquest

Gary Russell had me going for a while here. For about 150 pages in fact I thought that Spiral Scratch might actually turn out to be a decent book. For sure, the first half of this novel consists of nothing but unconnected fragments, but I was under the happy illusion that they would all neatly come together into a greater while, rather than knotting up into a cat’s cradle of technobabble.

Once upon a time, time travel was merely a device used to radically shift settings between the Doctor’s adventures via the TARDIS, but increasingly in recent years time travel itself – with all the attendant paradoxes and parallel worlds it throws up – has been the actual subject of the Doctor’s adventures. Sometimes these stories can be enjoyable, as authors circumvent traditional linear narratives to build up complex but rewarding plot structures, while at other times they can be downright messy. Spiral Scratch is practically incomprehensible.

The storyline – something about a monstrous Lamprey that lives at the centre of the vortex and wants to capture a number of time sensitives to open a gateway to consume the multiverse – is primarily concerned with the quantum theory of parallel worlds. Unfortunately Spiral Scratch has a very close relative in the form of Paul Leonard’s 2003 EDA The Last Resort which, even if Gary Russell himself isn’t aware of, you’d think editor Justin Richards might be. Both novels have various parallel universe TARDIS teams running around getting in each other’s way – both turn out to be confused messes. Spiral Scratch does have one benefit over The Last Resort, as instead of an infinity of TARDIS crews for the most part the novel stops at just 3 sets of 6th Doctor and Mel’s. As such, and with each pair easily distinguished by very obvious character traits (e.g.: a half Martian Mel, a one-eyed Doctor) it is at least possible to work out what’s going on, although this is rendered somewhat pointless as the resultant explanations for the Lamprey’s actions appear to be pure ghaffleblab. When seen from afar this Fendahleen-like apparition is effective, but when transformed into a walking and talking nemesis it turns into a sadly hammy villain (named Monica of all things).

It’s a pity the plot turns into such drivel, because there are moments of characterisation that are quite nice, particularly in the relationship between the 6th Doctor and Mel. Unfortunately the supporting characters don’t far as well – fellow Time Lord Rummas is woefully underdeveloped, while his ultimate library seems a tad too reminiscent of the ultimate library from The Genocide Machine. The other characters initially seem a little better fleshed out, but as they invariably turn out to be mere pawns of the Lamprey they ultimately act as little more than marionettes.

Continuity buffs may find some reward in non-speaking cameos from the likes of Frobisher and Real Time’s Cyber-Evelyn, and the fact that Russell has written Spiral Scratch as the 6th Doctor’s last adventures – ending with the much derided regeneration scene from Time and the Rani (and in the process presumably shunting the New Adventures explanation for the 6th Doctor’s demise into a parallel universe), but beyond such geekery there’s little to recommend here.

Reading Spiral Scratch is very similar to a night a heavy drinking – at first you feel pleasantly disorientated by its fractured comings and goings, but by the end you feel sick as a pig and start regretting the whole experience. For alcoholics and continuity buffs only.

Joe Ford

The omens were not good. In one of the few rare times I agree whole heartedly with Finn Clark the line up of PDAs this year was the least inspiring in years with names cropping up that have produced some of the all time worst Doctor Who books I have ever read. Whilst Gary Russell is not quite Boucheresque or even Lettsian bad if I am totally honest I have never really enjoyed any of his books before, with the possible exception of Divided Loyalties which is the literary equivalent of Time and the Rani, so bad its bloody fantastic. When Spiral Scratch’s cover was first posted online I was tempted to ring Black Sheep up and sue them for damage to my retina. It was a striking abhorrence. And finally the blurb seemed to suggest this story was proud to flaunt the fact that it deal with alternative realities, which are about as popular as sleeping with Granddad these days (unless of course you enjoy that…) thanks to the confidence shattering alternative universe arc that destroyed peoples faith in the EDAs.

So how comes I gobbled this book down in less than a day, not able to put it down, absolutely riveted to the pages into the very last line? It comes as much of a shock to me as it does to you to admit there has only been one book I have enjoyed more than Spiral Scratch this year (The Gallifrey Chronicles, obviously) and speaking of entertainment it blows Match of the Day, To the Slaughter, the three NDAs and (obviously) Island of Death into the second division. I always knew Gary Russell had a great Doctor Who book in him somewhere and finally, so close the PDAs end, he has proven me right.

You could (if you were that sort of person) call this The Last Resort II: Simpler and more fun! This resembles that Paul Leonard novel in a variety of ways; the troubled alternative realities slipping into each other, the multiple Doctors and the cross eyed insanity that comes with such temporal shenanigans…but this is far less angsty and melodramatic…obviously Gary Russell hasn’t been hypnotised by Jim Mortimore lately (unlike Leonard) and the book is much easier to read. For such a complicated non linear narrative (and trust me it is complicated…you have characters leaking into each others scenes, several sudden fresh plots springing out of nowhere and scenes with loads of Doctor’s and Mel’s having conversations together!) it is astonishing how much this book actually makes sense and even more amazing how bubbly and frothy Russell manages to keep it. Whereas The Last Resort was content on tying you in knots and offering perhaps 50% pay off for its loosely wrapped together plotlines Spiral Scratch genuinely ties everything up satisfactorily…if two plots meet unexpected, say Mel meets up with an alternative Doctor, then later in the book you will see that book from the alternative Doctor’s point of view...it all comes together nicely. Nothing is left unexplained and the book ends on an unpredictable climax, which sees the blame for this whole sorry mess with the multiverse, fall on an unexpected source.

I have never made any secret that the sixth Doctor is my all time favourite Doctor (and Eccleston did nothing to make me change that opinion, sadly) and this is the second time in a row I have been horrified at the chosen author to represent his era. However, just like Mr Hinton, Mr Russell captures everything I love about this Doctor to a tee. Whilst I’m on the subject of praise (come on its better than me moaning all over the place) the best thing Gary Russell has ever done for the Doctor Who universe is allow Colin Baker the chance to shine in scripts that were worthy of his Doctor (the second best thing would be allowing McGann to continue his association with the show of course!) and it would appear his close association with Baker has paid off in spades. This is the sixth Doctor, brought alive in print as perfectly as I can recall. He makes an excellent book Doctor; loud, cuddly, rude, fun, insulting and witty! And that is just the regular version of him! Spiral Scratch treats you to several possible sixth Doctor’s too, all quite fascinating (especially scar-face) but (like Mel) I would rather keep ours. Considering this is well into the depths of his incarnation he has finally become the Doctor Colin Baker wanted, somebody you would love to travel the universe with, unpredictable and yet still approachable. I loved it when he ingratiated himself at Helen’s party, I loved his childish squabbling with Mel (especially when he totally steals her thunder at the party!) and I loved when he turned on the true villain of the piece and unleashed a barrage of theatrical threats (when he wants to bop him on the nose! Genius!). His sacrifice at the climax is very touching and leads to an amazing final chapter, one that I never thought any author would get away with. It certainly makes this book far more important than it was and tops off a nourishing read.

Nobody is unaware of Mel’s flaws are they? The One Doctor took the piss out of her florid (Pip’n’Jane) vernacular, Business Unusual painted an extremely unflattering picture of her suburban middle class paradise that created such a bubbly fitness freak and Instruments of Darkness compares her one dimensional background against Evelyn’s far more interesting past. What is clear is that a very few authors (Hinton and Russell again, mostly) are determined to fill out her time on the show and give her some jolly good adventures in print and audio (although I would strongly dispute that she didn’t have good adventures on the telly!). Spiral Scratch comfortably takes place long after their meeting in Business Unusual and they are extremely relaxed around each other, having lots of fun travelling together and pretty much drunk on each others company. I have always thought (given their excellent chemistry in their two stories together) that Colin and Bonnie would have made a great team and with scripts like this I am certain it would have worked. It is like coming home to good friends; Mel is still chirpy but tempered with a little cynicism after travelling together so long to temper that bubbliness a bit (and she even gets to be a real bitch in several hilarious scenes) and Gary even manages to exploit the parallel universe idea to reveal something about Mel that we never knew. It is a great moment because when Mel is confronted with the uncomfortable news you suddenly realise she is a fully fleshed character rather than a cipher. Good work.

The book is blessed with a cornucopia of fantastic ideas. The Spiral, the Carsus Library, Rummas’ thieving habits, the Lamprey, the alternative universe spillages, the several fascinating alternative worlds we visit (I loved the Roman-influenced 2005), the insterstial trap…I could go on all day! Its almost as though Russell is making up for the lack of imagination last month and blasts the reader with one mind-boggling concept after another. I was often ahead of him (I kinda guessed what the Lamprey was looking for), occasionally behind him (I read over the bit about the trap for the Lamprey three times to make sense of it) but was always impressed by the amount of thought that had gone into this book to keep you on your toes. Russell makes wiping out a multiverse of realities sound like throwing a bad book in the bin, that’s how big the scale of this book gets.

A book written by Gary Russell…what is the first thing you would expect? CONTINUITY! I don’t know if Justin Richards whispered something in his ear but it is cut down to the absolute minimum here and only used when it is absolutely necessary. The result is a book, which stands on its own merits rather than feeling like a thrown together collection of past Doctor Who elements. Although I have to admit there are a few rewarding moments jotted about, a hilarious moment where Mel reads one of Benny’s books (the Doctor, yet to meet Benny, says its written by some grumpy Professor on the Braxiatel Collection with an anti-Time Lord stance! Hah!) and a quick mention of the Hallum’s (Mel’s mothers family recently explored in the Big Finish audio Catch-1782) is a very welcome, rewarding use of continuity. The book is far more concerned with makings its own continuity to be bothered with any other, exemplified by the last few pages.

Brilliant, bold and completely around the twist, Spiral Scratch epitomises the sixth Doctor. Blessed with a sense of fun and lots of imagination, this is a story that is worthy of being the sixth Doctor’s last novel. Gary Russell has finally managed to deliver a great book and not before time!

You might be confused by this, you might hate it, but I love it. And wait until you read that last line…