Doctor Who: City of Death

By James Goss, Douglas Adams (contributor), David Fisher (Contributor)

ISBN13: 9781849906753

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt


You’re tinkering with time. That’s always a bad idea unless you know what you’re doing.’

The Doctor takes Romana for a holiday in Paris – a city which, like a fine wine, has a bouquet all its own. Especially if you visit during one of the vintage years. But the TARDIS takes them to 1979, a table-wine year, a year whose vintage is soured by cracks – not in their wine glasses but in the very fabric of time itself.

Soon the Time Lords are embroiled in an audacious alien scheme which encompasses home-made time machines, the theft of the Mona Lisa, the resurrection of the much-feared Jagaroth race, and the beginning (and quite possibly the end) of all life on Earth.

Aided by British private detective Duggan, whose specialty is thumping people, the Doctor and Romana must thwart the machinations of the suave, mysterious Count Scarlioni – all twelve of him – if the human race has any chance of survival.

But then, the Doctor’s holidays tend to turn out a bit like this.


I have to first say that although I am a fan of the television show Doctor Who, I am not a diehard Whovian. I came to the show late in life and in the series. Also I am not a huge fan of science fiction, although I know the original screen writer Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide) is a legend. That said Doctor Who: City of Death is a fascinating read with wonderful dialogue and exceptional writing in the way the series does. If you do not know who Doctor Who is, but are a fan of SciFi, you will enjoy it. If you are a fan of dialogue that intrigues and entices, you will love it. If you enjoy the writing style of Douglas Adams, you will probably enjoy this fun romp in the always entertaining world of Doctor Who. This is a novelization of the original episode and in such some slight changes have been made and the character development is more intense.

This book came to be in a rather offhand way. It was originally partially written as a story for the series Doctor Who by David Fisher who wrote many of the episodes at the time. At the time they wanted to get a script written he was no longer available, so Douglas Adams was called in. He wrote under a nom de plume for the series. It is said to be one of the greatest episodes in the series. The fans of this series will know the story and plot of this episode and those that are not will enjoy the fun and outlandish situations The Doctor finds himself and his cohorts in. The Doctor and his partner Romano go to Paris for a “holiday” (vacation) and find that there are fluctuations in the local time continuum. Alien experiments are at the root of the problems. And a local detective is already on the case. The pair team up with detective Duggan who is on the hunt of an art thief. As always there is tons of misdirection and last minute saves involved.

Doctor Who: City of Death is a fun read and true fans of the series will bask in its glory. Others may find it lacking in substance, but if you are a fan of the genre I think you will still enjoy it. For fans this may just become the holy grail of books since it has so much history involved in it. As a casual fan, it was fun and entertaining, while not astoundingly awesome. There really is no way to sum up the story in a short form. Like all Doctor Who stories there are just too many layers upon layers of happenings to even begin to get the point across. James Goss has done a wonderful job of turning the Douglas Adams script into a fun read that still holds up to the original. The characters are as great as always.

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*