So with April we hit the Philip Reeve book Roots of Evil which is a Fourth Doctor story in the Puffin books anniversary series. Featuring Leela as the companion and by an author whose works I have some familiarity with I was cautiously optimistic about this – I was also expecting some steampunk!
What was it about and how was it? Find out below – if you like the picture, have a read of Sarah McIntyre’s blog – she wrote about the book and also drew the picture I have borrowed.
When the Fourth Doctor takes Leela to visit an immense tree space station known as the Heligan Structure, little do they know that the tree has been asleep for centuries, dreaming of vengeance against a man in a blue box … As the tree awakes, the Time Lord and his companion soon discover why they are such unwelcome guests.
The Doctor takes Leela back to a tree city to balance out the number of cities and space stations she has endured since leaving the forests where they met. On Heligan they are captured and the Doctor identified as cause of the colony drifting in orbit around a planet in need of terraforming. Sentenced to execution the Doctor escapes as the tree itself sends spore creatures to kill him. Exploring the heart of the tree-world the Doctor comes face to face with an aged foe that he hasn’t met yet! Needless to say all ends for the best!
The Story Telling
Lots of insight can be gained from Philip Reeve’s own blog entry. When I read this myself I find this an absorbing story that rang true of the Fourth Doctor‘s time and Leela in particular seemed to be captured quite accurately. The idea of the tree in space is sound and the name conjures up the Lost Gardens of the same name.
The device of the Doctor being the enemy from the past who even has a statue set up to remind people is rather derived from Face of Evil but this, though is a future bow-tie wearing Doctor! Imagine that! The story is overall well paced, sets up the situation and gets to a plausible resolution – no real complaints!
I thought having the Eleventh Doctor as the original enemy of the colony a bit unconvincing though who else could he pick if new fans are to read this story – for them it probably works well. A lack of steampunk aside I enjoyed this and would be happy for Philip Reeve to write some more Doctor Who.
What did you think? Let me know!