‘The Game of Death’ (DSL) (Book)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

Nocturns, the Silver Devastation and the Eternity Crystal with the Tenth Doctor and Gisella

Murder is the name of the game for this adventure with the Tenth Doctor and Gisella!

Here we are on the sixth instalment of ‘The Darksmith Legacy’ book series! It’s time for ‘The Game of Death’ by Trevor Baxendale! I’ve come across Trevor Baxendale before as a ‘Doctor Who’ writer as he wrote ‘Fear of the Dark’ with the Five, Nyssa and Tegan and ‘Prisoner of the Daleks’ with Ten!

It was fascinating to read this contribution by Trevor Baxendale for ‘The Darksmith Legacy’ series and continue the ongoing story with the Tenth Doctor and Gisella seeking to destroy the Eternity Crystal. And it’s a pretty engaging adventure filled with murder mystery and hideous monsters in it!

In the story, the Doctor and Gisella attempt to track down the Darksmith Collective’s robotic Agent from Paris, Earth into outer space. They soon end up in the Silver Devastation which happens to be located in the Isop Galaxy where the planet Vortis is and where it is said the Face of Boe came from.

The Doctor and Gisella find themselves at Devastation Hall, where they’re welcomed by their host, Miss Ameila Birch. Pretty soon, our heroes meet the other guests invited to dinner but are soon caught up in a vicious ‘game’ of murder where people are killed off one by one. Will our heroes survive?

I must say, I did get a sense of an Agatha Christie murder mystery going on in the story, which is what I’m sure Trevor Baxendale was aiming for. It was nice reading the story as the Doctor and Gisella find out who’s behind the terrible killings and what the true identities of the Nocturn aliens are in this.

The story is divided into 10 chapters, as per usual with these ‘Darksmith Legacy’ books. There are 3 activity pages for kids to enjoy in which they solve puzzles to get the chance to think like the Doctor. There’s also a TARDIS data bank page which includes extra information about the Silver Devastation.

The guest characters featured in this story are as follows. As well as Miss Birch, there’s also Ted the gardener; Stokes the butler; General Augustus Korch, Lenny Sprang, Horatio Hamilton, Miss Scarlett Plume and Professor Doofus. A lot of these characters aren’t what they seem. Some are even aliens.

At first, it seems Miss Birch is very accommodating and welcoming to her guests like the Doctor and Gisella. But once it’s revealed that this ‘game of death’ at Devastation Hall is real, things become serious. Miss Birch is even casual about her guests getting killed one by one by the dreaded Nocturn.

The story does mislead you into thinking who could be the real culprit in this story and who’s actually a Nocturn. At first, I thought it was one Nocturn in the story before it gets revealed there are more of them. I was surprised by what happened to Ted the gardener as I thought he was the culprit.

Something I didn’t mention in my review for ‘The Vampire of Paris’ is that Gisella happens to be an android. It’s easy to forget that when you’re reading the story since Gisella sounds like an ordinary human girl accompanying the Doctor on his TARDIS travels, except that she has this super-strength. 🙂

The alien Nocturn happen to be a race of vicious and merciless predators that can disguise themselves as anyone. They do look pretty vicious on the book’s front cover. It’s tricky for the Doctor and Gisella to know who’s human or not until the Nocturn unveil and remove their disguises.

The robot Agent is back to cause more trouble and becomes determined to get the Eternity Crystal off from Gisella as well as from the Doctor. This leads to a brutal combat between Gisella and the Agent, which ends with Gisella thankfully destroying the robotic Agent by the time the story finishes. 🙂

In the story, the Doctor gets the chance to wear a tuxedo and a black tie for dinner at Devastation Hall. This echoes David Tennant’s wearing of tuxedos and black ties in stories like ‘Rise of the Cybermen’/’The Age of Steel’, ‘The Lazarus Experiment’ and ‘Voyage of the Damned’ which I liked. 😀

Gisella also gets to wear an evening dress for dinner at Devastation Hall. I like how Gisella gets on well with the Doctor and works as a short-time companion in ‘The Darksmith Legacy’ series. I wish she was able to continue her adventures in ‘Doctor Who’ after ‘The Darksmith Legacy’ series is over.

I also like how it gets revealed that one of the guests happens to be a secret policeman going undercover. It was a surprise to find that when reading the book and it does echo what could be in traditional Agatha Christie tales such as ‘The Mousetrap’, which has been performed at London’s West End.

There are inclusions of the Doctor mentioning the planet Cheem where trees talk, which is a reference to ‘The End of the World’. I also liked it when a Judoon ship gets mentioned in the story as it’s being sent to collect wanted criminals in space. A pity the Judoon don’t get to appear in this tale!

Soon, once ‘the game of death’ is over, the Doctor and Gisella have the information they need from the robot Agent’s…brain, I believe, to track down where they need to go next to destroy the Eternity Crystal. They soon head off for the planet Ursulonamex, which also happens to be called Oblivion! 😮

At the end of the book, there’s an excerpt from the seventh book in ‘The Darksmith Legacy’ series called ‘The Planet of Oblivion’ 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. A shame! I would’ve liked to have joined in. 😀

‘The Game of Death’ is an engaging story in ‘The Darksmith Legacy’ series. It’s good it has plot twists featured throughout in this murder mystery type of adventure. I wonder what’s going to happen next for the Tenth Doctor and Gisella and how they will destroy the Eternity Crystal once and for all.

‘The Game of Death’ (DSL) rating – 8/10

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