Beautiful Chaos by Gary Russell

The Doctor takes Donna to visit her family, but an old enemy is once again planning to invade the Earth…

Doctor Who polymath Gary Russell has written many Doctor Who books, often taking the opportunity to flesh out the lives of the characters that get less time to breathe on the small screen. One of his best works is The Scales of Injustice, which gives Liz Shaw the farewell the series never provided, sees Mike Yates given his commission, fleshes out the Brigadier’s home life (including his daughter Kate, now a recurring ally) and explains how the Fifth Doctor knew of the Myrka in Warriors of the Deep. The other two volumes in this trilogy are Business Unusual and Instruments of Darkness, the former of which provides an introductory story for Mel Bush. In Beautiful Chaos  it is Donna’s family that are explored in a way there isn’t time for in the television series. Donna’s father died between The Runaway Bride and Partners in Crime, and the impact on Sylvia and her daughter is well-handled, as is Wilf’s relationship with his dementia-suffering friend, Netty.

Another aspect of Beautiful Chaos and the other novels mentioned above is that the Doctor gets involved in the actual plot relatively late in the day, as in Colin Baker-era stories like Revelation of the Daleks. Whereas the Ninth Doctor tale in these re-releases, Only Human, is very much in the style of the series (fast-paced and irreverent), here the format is taken full advantage of, to produce a slower paced tale, with the Doctor and the villain only meeting at the end. He draws the characters well, and they all benefit from time more time to develop. In common with Instruments of Darkness, the Doctor has to take a lengthy journey using only earthly means of transport.

All of which helps Russell deftly pull off a very difficult trick. There is a returning villain in Beautiful Chaos, and by the time it was revealed I was kicking myself. It’s hidden in plain sight and when revealed it clicks into place perfectly. For me it hit the perfect balance of not being too obvious and yet seeding enough clues to make the reveal satisfying.

Order Beautiful Chaos from Amazon:

Doctor Who: Beautiful Chaos: 50th Anniversary Edition

On kindle:

Doctor Who: Beautiful Chaos

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2 thoughts on “Beautiful Chaos by Gary Russell

  1. – ooooh, i like it! as for sahm-gyup-sahl stinking up your house, you sound like my mom!! she’s always telling me not to make dejiganj-jn–gae b/c guests will say it stinks!as for the afghan guy, it’s sad that even today, christians — or anyone subscribing to any other religion — should be persecuted. we definitely need to join in prayer.

  2. You know what my biggest problem with that returning villain in “Beautiful Chaos”? Its presence in the book was spoiled! Not on the front cover, or on the back blurb… but on the *@#$ copyright page!! That’s right, I read the copyright page first, and it gave away the ending! Still annoyed about that … now I’ll never know if I’d have been able to guess it on my own!

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