The final Big Finish main range trilogy for 2012 was the Drashani Trilogy, previously referred to here as Prince Orpheus’ Castle. As we now know this was a multi-Doctor story telling the story of the Drashani Empire.
It is a sage of love, deception, war and revenge beginning with the doomed lovers Kylo and Aliona…
The individual stories
First up is The Burning Prince a John Dorney tale that sets the scene well for the trilogy giving us the love story of Prince kylo and Princess Aliona. This is a Romeo and Juliet like tale of the attempted unification through marriage of House Gadarl and House Sorsha. Unlike the bard’s story this is a tale of betrayal and deception with slave monsters and psychokinesis thrown in.
The pace is fantastic and one again Davison is on top form as the Fifth Doctor; that’s four great stories for him this year if you add in his own trilogy which I reviewed under Tigers, Comets and Zygma Energy.
Next we had The Acheron Pulse by Rick Briggs. This has the Drashani Empire suffering under its war with the Wrath and their leader Tenebris and their dreadful weapon the Ancheron Pulse. Step up the Sixth Doctor who neatly saves (most of) the planet, resolves (some of) Tenebris’s emotional issues and gets to realign the Wrath according to his own moral compass. Much action, a love story but also some rather one-dimensional mediaeval locals. We are, however, very much seeing the pieces come together ready for the the final part…
The saga came to a conclusion in the tremendously inventive Jonathan Morris tale The Shadow Heart. Amongst many other joys we have a cantina scene, space snails (stellar ammonites to you and me), interstellar garbage collectors, Vienna Salvatori the mercenary, the stiff upper lips of the HMS Trafalgar and more time-twisting than most people have hot dinners. We also get the closure for Prince Kylo and Princess Aliona. Oh, and the Wrath get sorted out!
A good trilogy though I think it suffered a bit from being released as such. Knowing the stories were linked meant I was on the look-out for continuity; had the stories been more separated I might have enjoyed them more individually.
Burning Prince was a great action tale setting up the arc and I have little to criticise.
I found The Acheron Pulse rather mixed, the dialogue between the Sixth Doctor and Tenebris was tremendous, I liked some of the action in the plot and the effect of the Pulse on the characters in the story, and even the protagonists themselves. For me it was let down by really poor pseudo-Viking warriors and failed to round out the story properly. I also found myself at the end wanting to shout at the Doctor and tell him not to set the Wrath going as it would lead to bad news in the next part!
Shadow Heart was a fizzling cauldron of creativity and had many threads which I enjoyed. The cantina beginning I loved and also being alongside the Seventh Doctor as he manipulated events across time was great. I wasn’t over impressed with Vienna Salvatore who became a bit repetitive but Chase Masterson’s interview did convince me that this is an actress that ‘gets’ sci-fi. Will I buy the spin-off? Not sure. The story wraps up well and I really enjoyed it!
That’s my views, how did you find it? Do you want more mixed-Doctor trilogies, do you want fewer trilogies? Let me know!