I have a confession to make.
Whilst I love the Silurians (and by association, the Sea Devils), I find their stories a bit of a dead-end. If the world the Doctor lives in remains as similar to ours – but with added alien incursions – then the Silurians simply can’t take over the Earth. Logistically, it doesn’t bear thinking about either. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship added something new to the mix, but generally, their stories can only really reach one conclusion.
So it must always fall back on what Agatha Christie says: “the thrill is in the chase; never in the capture.” The Silurian Gift¸ then, fares wonderfully well.
It naturally feels like a sequel to Warriors of the Deep, but also has hints of The Tenth Planet, Inferno and Planet of the Ood – and not just because of the icy climes the Doctor finds himself in. As a Silurian tale, there’s a moral dilemma sitting at its heart and genuinely feels like a Malcolm Hulke-penned book. This isn’t just because it stars Homo Reptillia, but also as it reflects the concerns of this generation.
We all know there’s a fuel crisis and The Silurian Gift revolves around the Fire Ice, a miraculous new power source, originally stored by the former inhabitants of the planet. It adds weight to Eldane’s argument in The Hungry Earth/ Cold Blood (2010) that in return for space on the Earth, the Silurians can give humanity technology beyond our wildest dreams.
Writer, Mike Tucker, packs in a lot of narrative; it helps that the pace is fast, the prose very enjoyable and grabbing, and the characters all well realised. He’s got the Doctor down to a tee. Lizzie is, in some ways, a traditional would-be companion, but in other ways is pleasingly different. There are hints of Ace in there, certainly, but she doesn’t spend enough time with the Doctor to actually feel there’s a genuine connection.
The big news, however, is that the Myrkas are back!
Who groaned? The race of cybernetically-altered wee beasties may not have been realised fully in their sole TV outing, but the idea works. Tucker uses them fleetingly but well nonetheless. It’s great that their part in the Silurian-Sea Devils mythos isn’t ignored. After reading The Silurian Gift, I genuinely feel they could make a solid reappearance in modern Who. That’s an achievement in itself!
The book still manages to deliver a surprise or two, even if it’s a short burst of Doctor Who to fill the gap between series.
Yes, it’s a Quick Read. Yes, you can read it within an hour or two. But it’s without doubt one of the strongest Doctor Who books in the Quick Reads range.
Pick up The Silurian Gift from Amazon now for just £1.00!