Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Book Review - “Lethbridge-Stewart: The Forgotten Son”

“Lethbridge-Stewart: The Forgotten Son”
Written by: Andy Frankham-Allen
Published by: Candy Jar Books – Cardiff UK

Are you a Whovian?  Do you like Classic Era Doctor Who?  Was the Brigadier one of your favourites of the Doctor’s friends?  If you answered yes to any of those, then “Lethbridge-Stewart: The Forgotten Son” by Andy Frankham-Allen (author - Space 1889) from Candy Jar Books should be on your “Must Read” book list.  This is classic Doctor Who story telling, and even without the Doctor expressly in the picture, his presence and influence is tangibly felt none the less – this is Doctor Who in every sense of the word.  Taking place shortly after the events that brought Colonel Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart of the Scots Guard face to face with the Doctor for the first time in “Web of Fear”, “The Forgotten Son” begins the story of what happened to Alistair in between his encounters with the Mad Man in a Blue Box.  What happens and where do these events take him?  Well, that you’ll have to read for yourself.

I will say this, however – once I picked up “The Forgotten Son” and started reading it, I flat devoured it, reading the entire book all in one go.  I could not just set this one aside and walk away in the middle of the story and I am certainly looking forward to the next installment!  It felt like I was watching it on television, picturing it clearly in my mind’s eye as I was reading, hearing the characters’ voices as I watched the events unfold.  Much like the “Sara Jane Adventures” offered a deeper look into one of the Doctor’s best loved companions; “Lethbridge-Stewart” offers a deeper understanding of one of his greatest human allies.  For me, while there were a couple plot twists I did predict as I was reading, other plot twists really caught me by surprise, rather like unwrapping a present you didn’t expect.  I won’t tell you which ones because that would just spoil the surprise!  Let’s see which ones you can figure out before they’re revealed.

I find it odd and slightly tragic that our beloved Brigadier’s story has not been written or shown before now.  He was the quintessential ally of the Doctor, a Companion who didn’t actually travel with him on his magical TARDIS, but he was there when our good Doctor needed him on Earth during the Classic series run in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s where he met with the Second Doctor and came to know his third, fourth, fifth, and seventh incarnations as the story progressed.  But with this series, that oversight is certainly being remedied and we get to see another side to the Brigadier not seen in the series, getting an inside look into what made him the man he was as glimpses of his past, the events of his relative present (within the context of the story), and his eventual future, play out with each new book.  Coupled with the episodes we know from the series, a more complete picture of Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart begins to take shape and he becomes even more the hero we cherish and friend of the Doctor we love.

This book is available February 26th, 2015 in paperback format directly through the distributor (10% off and free shipping), which I highly recommend.  Who knows, you might be able to get Andy to sign it if you get the chance to meet up with him at a convention or book signing.

Review by Elleinah "Katt" McCairn, podcaster/staff - Nerdversity 101