BBC Books, s/b, £7.99

Reviewed by Matthew Johns

James Goss takes another of Douglas Adams’ Dr Who treatments and turns it into another superb novel. As with The Krikkitmen, this features the fourth Doctor (aka Tom Baker), but this introduces a new companion – the Lady Romanadvoratrelundar. Many readers will be familiar with Romana, but this introduces her as fresh from the Time Academy, only on her second trip with the Doctor and still obsessed with always being right, and following instructions to the letter. Accompanied by the ever-faithful K9, they have been sent on a mission by the Guardian, seeking the second segment of the Key to Time.

Their mission takes them to Calufrax, but the TARDIS encounters some difficulties when trying to materialise there. When they finally land, all is not as expected. The inhabitants say their world is called Zanak – a prosperous world filled with precious stones and metals, ruled by the tyrannical Captain.

Being based on two Douglas Adams treatments – the Pirate Planet (which was actually televised in a four-episode story arc in 1978) and the Perfect Planet, this is naturally filled with lots of humour, and Goss seems to channel Adams’ spirit creating a work that could easily have sprung from Adams’ own pen. It’s easy to picture Tom Baker when reading the Doctor’s dialogue – all his mannerisms are perfectly captured in the pages, and the story is naturally filled with action. Lots of running away, the Doctor being terribly clever, Romana being even cleverer, K9 saving the day, and of course the Doctor and his companions coming out on top despite finding themselves in a number of tight scrapes.

This excellent novel should find a place on every Dr Who, Douglas Adams and sci-fi fan’s shelves. James Goss has taken two different treatments and produced a work of pure genius – an absolute delight to read that will have you laughing out loud and on the edge of your seat as the Doctor and his companions go up against the fiendish Captain.