‘The Art of War’ (DSL) (Book)

‘THE ART OF WAR’ (DSL) (BOOK)

Please feel free to comment on my review.

Krashoks and the Eternity Crystal with the Tenth Doctor and Gisella

The Krashoks almost look like the Borg from ‘Star Trek’! 😀

Here we are on the penultimate adventure in ‘The Darksmith Legacy’ book series called ‘The Art of War’. For the most part, I’ve enjoyed ‘The Darksmith Legacy’ series, finding each book featuring the Tenth Doctor to be good reads. At this point, I’m looking forward to the last instalment of this series.

‘The Art of War’ is by Mike Tucker, who you might know for being a visual effects man for the ‘Doctor Who’ TV series, both classic and new. He’s also written a number of ‘Doctor Who’ stories for BBC Books and Big Finish audio, such as ‘Illegal Alien’, ‘The Warehouse’ and ‘The Crawling Terror’. 😀

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Mike Tucker once at ‘The Capitol II’ convention in May 2017, getting my copy of ‘The Crawling Terror’ signed by him. Mike is what you’d consider to be an underrated ‘Doctor Who’ writer as the stories he writes are good. I enjoyed reading/hearing them. 🙂

So, I was looking forward to reading ‘The Art of War’ and finding out what Mike Tucker’s contribution to ‘The Darksmith Legacy’ series would be. I was gripped into the story from the word go, although I think it’s fair to say that the ending was quite rushed building up to a dramatic climax.

The story follows on from the end of ‘The Picture of Emptiness’ where the Doctor was onto the Darksmiths and Gisella in a warehouse. They’re about to hand over the Eternity Crystal to the villains of the story, the Krashoks. But with a distraction by the Doctor, the Krashoks don’t get the crystal. 🙂

It also turns out that Gisella hasn’t been reprogrammed by the Darksmiths at all. She was just pretending. And she had given the Krashoks the fake Eternity Crystal before reuniting with the Doctor. Well, she had me fooled as much as the Doctor. I truly thought she had been reprogrammed.

It’s good the Doctor and Gisella are back together again as a TARDIS duo. They soon set off to stop the Krashoks in their evil plans by going back in time to the Middle Ages. They end up in Medieval London where they get help from a bard called Oswald and uncover mysteries about the Krashoks.

Like before in previous ‘Darksmith Legacy’ books, ‘The Art of War’ is divided into 10 chapters. There are also two TARDIS data bank pages focusing on Medieval London and the Krashok Military Insignia. There are also four activity pages, giving the reader the chance to think like the Doctor in the story. 🙂

Incidentally, the Darksmith characters that feature in this book get killed off by the Krashoks early on in the story. Even High Minister Drakon gets killed off early. Aw, that’s a shame. I was hoping for Darkon to make an appearance in the final ‘Darksmith’ book. Why did the Krashoks have to kill him?

But yeah! The Krashoks! They’re a warrior race of hybrid cyborgs who have assorted scavenged and stolen weapons from other species, including Cybermen and Daleks. From their appearance on the book cover, they do seem to be Borg-like. I wonder if that’s where Mike Tucker got his inspiration. 🙂

The Krashoks have leaders like Commander Skraar (who gets killed off early) as well as Commander Grelt. There’s a Krashok called Sergeant Jorak. I do wonder if influences of the Sontarans are in the Krashoks. Mind you, my monsters, the Parntroltans, for my ‘Zorbius’ series are almost Sontaran-like!

The characters that the Doctor and Gisella meet in Medieval London include the aforementioned bard Oswald, who becomes an ally when helping out stop the menace of the Krashoks. Oswald wants to write a tale to impress people and meeting the Doctor in this adventure might provide that.

There are also characters like an unnamed psychic, who I believe happens to be a witch that we don’t get to know the name of. There’s also Sir Howard Blackheart and Sir Robert Markham, who I believe work for the Krashoks in their own way. There is also Father Meadows, who is a friar here. 🙂

I’m pleased that Gisella and the Doctor work well together in this story and have the bouncy camaraderie they had from previous ‘Darksmith’ stories since they met in ‘The Depths of Despair’. I’m relieved that Gisella didn’t switch sides and became evil halfway through ‘The Art of War’ story.

It was easy to visualise the Medieval London aspects of the story, especially with certain scenes taking place at night-time. The story could’ve easily gone in a ‘Castle of Fear’ route where most of the people living in that time were simple-minded and the tale ended up full of comedic proportions.

It did get a little confusing when reading the story, identifying who was who, including Sir Howard Blackheart and Sir Robert Markham’s characters, whose names sounded similar. Mind you, a thunderstorm might have prevented me to read the tale one night to cause that confusion to happen. 😀

The story did get rushed towards its conclusion, especially with Gisella being trapped aboard the Krashoks’ spaceship as it took off and headed into space. The Doctor soon says his goodbyes to Oswald, before he heads off in the TARDIS and pursues the Krashoks’ spaceship with Gisella aboard.

At the end of the book, there’s an excerpt from the tenth book in ‘The Darksmith Legacy’ series called ‘The End of Time’ to look forward to. Please bear in mind, the ‘Collected’ Party at the end of the book is out of date since October 2009 is over. It’s a shame. I would’ve liked to have joined in! 😀

‘The Art of War’ has been an enjoyable book to read in ‘The Darksmith Legacy’ book series. I wouldn’t say it was a great work of fiction by Mike Tucker, but it was pleasant to read. I’m currently looking forward to what happens in the last instalment and how the Doctor will defeat the Krashoks.

‘The Art of War’ (DSL) rating – 7/10


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