‘THE KNIGHT, THE FOOL AND THE DEAD’ (TLV)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
The Kotturuh and Brian the Ood with the Tenth Doctor
Has the Time Lord Victorious gone too far this time?
It’s time to take a look at BBC Books’ contribution to the ‘Time Lord Victorious’ series of ‘Doctor Who’! Two books were published including ‘The Knight, the Fool and the Dead’ by Steve Cole and ‘All Flesh is Grass’ by Una McCormack. I was looking forward to checking out these ‘Doctor Who’ books. 🙂
I wish audiobook readings of these ‘Doctor Who’ books were made so that I could enjoy reading and hearing the story in the background. I still enjoyed reading ‘The Knight, the Fool and the Dead’ when I purchased it as a download from Kindle and the chapters themselves are very easy enough to read.
‘The Knight, the Fool and the Dead’ is more or less where it begins for the Tenth Doctor in the ‘Time Lord Victorious’ series following the events of ‘The Waters of Mars’. I know it began for him in the ‘Defender of the Daleks’ comic, but that was set before ‘The Waters of Mars’ story even took place. 🙂
The writer Steve Cole has written plenty of ‘Doctor Who’ stories over the years in book and audio form. He’s written Fifth Doctor audios like ‘The Land of the Dead’, ‘Masquerade’ and ‘Alien Heart’ and he’s written the Tenth Doctor book ‘The Feast of the Drowned’. I’ve enjoyed his writing here. 😀
This ‘Time Lord Victorious’ story has the Tenth Doctor taking matters into his own hands when he decides enough is enough with all the deaths he’s witnessed. He takes it upon himself to stop death from ever happening. This is the dark, dangerous Tenth Doctor we saw at the end of ‘The Waters of Mars’.
It also has the Tenth Doctor meet significant characters featured in the ‘Time Lord Victorious’ series when he goes to the Dark Times era of history in the universe. He meets Brian the Ood who becomes a sort-of companion figure for him here and he meets the bringers of death – the Kotturuh.
The story is divided into sixteen chapters with a prologue at the beginning and three interludes throughout the story (more on this later). I’m thankful that the chapters aren’t lengthy when I read them via Kindle, which I found quite challenging when I read the original ‘Star Wars’ Thrawn trilogy.
In the story, the Tenth Doctor flees to the planet Andalia in the Dark Times where death seems barely known. Not sure how that’s possible, but still. There he comes across the Kotturuh who have come to declare death on all the lives of the Andalians when they’re about to protect themselves. 😐
The Andalians hope to use something called a lifeshroud which will protect themselves against the Kotturuh’s touch of death. Very soon, the Doctor meets Brian the Ood who helps him to find a way to stop the Kotturuh’s death spree. They also meet this young girl that holds the key to their answer.
I’m not sure how much the Kotturuh mirror the real-life coronavirus that seems to thrive on death when coming into contact with people. It might depend on when the ‘Time Lord Victorious’ series was conceived, but it’s hard not to compare real-life events when reading the Kotturuh in this story.
The Kotturuh seems to be wraith-like in appearance, except they have tentacles for feet. It’s intriguing how they’re developed as ‘the bringers of death’ in the story. I wonder how the Kotturuh will sound when it comes to hearing their audio appearances as opposed to reading them in prose. 🙂
It’s fascinating how the ‘Time Lord Victorious’ series seems to culminate in this particular story with the Tenth Doctor gone darker and refusing to accept the consequences of his actions when he decides to stop death from ever happening. It’s like everything from other stories is built up in here.
And I don’t just mean stories that would be featured in say the ‘Road to the Dark Times’ Blu-ray e.g. ‘Planet of the Daleks’, ‘State of Decay’ and ‘The Waters of Mars’. There are also the other ‘Time Lord Victorious’ stories set before and after ‘The Knight, the Fool and the Dead’. Stories I’ve yet to uncover.
At the beginning of the story, the Tenth Doctor is a rather troubled soul as he debates whether what he did in trying to stop Adelaide Brook’s death in ‘The Waters of Mars’ was the right thing to do. He still debates this issue when he tackles how to thwart the Kotturuh in their plans to spread death. 😐
By the end of the story, the Tenth Doctor seems vindicated in his approach to stopping death from ever happening and he’s determined to end the Kotturuh’s existence without mercy. However his actions may have consequences as I’m sure we’re due to find out when we get to ‘All Flesh is Grass’.
There are moments when the Tenth Doctor shows compassion to others and he isn’t the manic vengeful persona he became at the end of ‘The Waters of Mars’. But that was like in the story’s first three acts before he assumes the Time Lord Victorious again in the fourth and final act of the tale. 😐
Brian the Ood is a mysterious character when reading him in ‘The Knight, the Fool and the Dead’. I believe Brian has met the Doctor before, though the Tenth Doctor doesn’t seem to remember him from a previous encounter. Brian happens to be an assassin once the Doctor comes across him here.
The Doctor is rather surprised to see Brian since the Ood aren’t meant to be in the Dark Times yet. I could hear Silas Carson’s eerie voice when reading Brian’s dialogue. Brian seems to rely on instructions from his boss ‘Mr. Ball’, who I think he communicates with using his Ood translator ball.
I like the reference made to the Doctor thinking that Ood Sigma who appeared at the end of ‘The Waters of Mars’ had caught up with him when he was on Andalia during the Dark Times. It reflects on how much the Tenth Doctor doesn’t want to meet his end which will happen in ‘The End of Time’.
I’m not sure how Brian is going to turn out in ‘Time Lord Victorious’ and it’s unclear whether he’s a good guy or a bad guy. This is my first encounter with Brian and I’m sure his character will be interesting when I’m checking out other ‘Time Lord Victorious’ stories set before and after this story.
The emotional heart of the story is arguably in the character of Estinee, a young Destran girl who seems to hold back death against the Kotturuh when she did it on her home planet of Mordeela. This is clearly emphasised in the prologue before she meets with the Doctor on the planet Andalia. 🙂
Estinee is a troubled individual who gets used by people like Professor Hana Fallomax in order to demonstrate the lifeshroud to the people of Andalia, which turns out to be a scam I believe, in order to hold back death against the Kotturuh when they attack. Estinee does have a rough time in this. 😐
I believe the Doctor forms a sort-of connection with Estinee when he and Brian are trying to find ways to stop the Kotturuh in their attacks on planets during the Dark Times era. In the end, Estinee kills Fallomax when she’s being manipulating by the Kotturh and she too ends up dying in the tale. 😦
Like I said, there are three interludes featured in this story. The first interlude features the First Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan when they’re trying to escape from the cavemen in the first ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘An Unearthly Child’. Interesting Steve Cole has that interlude featuring those characters.
The second interlude features the Ninth Doctor and Rose which takes place before ‘Monstrous Beauty’, I believe. And the third interlude has the Eighth Doctor with Brian the Ood in a scene set during the events of the audio story ‘He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not’, which I’ve yet to discover here. 😀
All three interludes have one thing in common. Each group of characters talks about the fairy tale called ‘Godfather Death’ by the Brothers Grimm. I don’t know much about that fairy tale, but it’s intriguing how it’s told in the three interludes and how it builds up to what occurs for the Tenth Doctor.
The last chapter has the Tenth Doctor don his Prydonian Chapter robes when aboard the flagship of High Ambassador Chalskal. I wondered when the Tenth Doctor would wear those robes once seeing him on the main ‘Time Lord Victorious’ poster. The Doctor means business with the Kotturuh here. 😐
Just before the attack on the Kotturuh on the planet Mordeela begins, the Tenth Doctor sees a Dalek saucer drop out of warp with the Eighth Doctor on board. Then there’s a vampire coffin ship with the Ninth Doctor on board. Ignoring their protests to stop, the Tenth Doctor orders Brian to open fire. 😐
And that’s where the story ends on a cliffhanger, leading into ‘All Flesh is Grass’. I enjoyed reading ‘The Knight, the Fool and the Dead’. It’s intriguing how the Tenth Doctor’s involvement in the ‘Time Lord Victorious’ series takes into full swing as he does mean business when he decides to defy death.
I’m curious about what’s going to happen when checking out Una McCormack’s story in ‘All Flesh is Grass’. Of course I’d need to check out the other ‘Time Lord Victorious’ stories in audio and video form to appreciate what’s happening. Hopefully it won’t be long before I check out ‘All Flesh is Grass’.
In some respects, I wish ‘The Knight, the Fool and the Dead’ was adapted into a full-cast Big Finish audio drama starring David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor. I wish all of the ‘Time Lord Victorious’ stories were audio dramas rather than be a mix-mash of books, audios and comics for ‘Doctor Who’ fans to track down.
‘The Knight, the Fool and the Dead’ (TLV) rating – 8/10
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