The First Sontarans by Andrew Smith is a Lost Story for the Sixth Doctor and Peri. It was originally conceived as a Marie Celeste tale. At the time it was being considered it lost out to The Two Doctors but, with a new setting, we get the chance to hear a story billed as an origin story and to find out just where did the Sontarans come from?
In brief, and from the product page, the story is:
1872. After finding a strange signalling device on the moon, the Doctor and Peri travel to the depths of the English countryside to track down the source of its transmissions. But they’re not the first aliens to arrive on the scene.
Old enemies of the Doctor are drawing their battle lines in the forest and the local humans will be lucky to escape the conflagration unscathed.
For hidden within this village is a deadly secret – a secret that could destroy the entire Sontaran race… and reveal the terrible mystery of their creation.
This story is hindered by its title – knowing the Sontarans are coming is one thing, that we will learn their origin another. The story is fast paced and layers several alien races into an otherwise simple seeming Victorian setting. The setting doesn’t add much to the story but does give a chance for Peri to start on the moon looking down on Earth before spotting alien technology. Apart from that the era is just a means of having spaceships and aliens without too much fuss from well meaning military types.
The build towards the reveal is good and the story is really not focussed on the Sontaran origin although it is an important factor. This is really a story about grief, revenge and relationships with plenty combat and technology thrown in for good measure.
Dan Starkey is, yet again, fantastic and John Banks also adds a range of voices to the story that seems to have a much larger cast than it actually does. Peri has a proper part to play and the story resolves by a combination of events rather than just the Doctor being clever. The Sontaran origin is distinctive – like the Daleks they were born out of war; unlike the Daleks they have honour and a purpose other than nihilism.
Anthony Howells (Avengers range and Foyle’s War) is perfectly cast as Jacob the scientist seeking a permanent solution to the threat of the Sontarans and a return to his homeworld.
Overall this is one of the better Lost Stories and well worth a listen.