Doctor Who: Gods and Monsters
Starring: Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred
Published by: Big Finish
In this latest release from Big Finish, the Doctor faces his old enemy Fenric, last seen during World War Two trying to flood the world with the vampiric Haemovores, destroy the Doctor and revealing Ace to be one of his wolves.
The past stories have all been leading to this story what with the conclusion of the black and white Tardises. Characters from those stories all appear here with not only Ace and Hex but former travelling companions Captain Aristedes played by Shameless’ Maggie O’Neill and Private Sally Morgan who must all face their own private hells at the hands of Fenric because that’s where they all are – in hell itself.
We open with the Doctor as a prisoner and in chains at Fenric’s mercy as his friends find themselves on a foggy moor which suddenly fills with Persians and a horde of vampires. But there is something bigger going on, something that not even the Doctor has seen coming. As Fenric’s plan falls into place, the ancient Gods are gathering for the final battle but exactly but whose battle is it, especially when Hell is now a vast board game.
I have to say I really enjoyed this. Fenric returns stronger than ever and as it should be new layers are added to the character. An ancient god that needs our universe to give his own meaning and a battle that features all sorts of weapons and battles on a grand scale. Symbols are woven into the narrative and the image of Fenric’s castle, a giant chess piece rising out of the mist, is a powerful one and the story certainly fires the listener’s imagination. The original Curse of Fenric is an all-time classic story and this one is a superb sequel.
The seventh Doctor was always a master manipulator but here that is well and truly put to the test as he discovers there are always bigger fish to fry and he finds himself and his friends at the mercy of forces that they may not be able to stop.
The regulars, Philip Olivier, Sophie Aldred and Sylvester McCoy, are in great form with some cracking dialogue that completely captures their characters. Hex gets more to do here as his past is revealed and he discovers why he never died several stories ago, despite being fatally wounded. Secrets and revelations come thick and fast as gods battling gods plunges us into battles that leave no-one safe and rips the rug right out from under the feet of the past with an ending that will blow your mind – take note Mister Moffat.
Together with great cliffhangers, a fast-paced story and an inventive narrative, this stands shoulder to shoulder with its prequel as a classic. Highly, highly recommended.
Read Owen’s review of The Curse of Fenric here