The Blood Cell by James Goss


The Prison is a remote space prison built into an asteroid. The Governor must deal with the unruly and escape-prone Prisoner 428, as well as mysterious power failures that threaten to kill everyone.

Doctor Who is littered with bureaucrats who have no time for the Doctor’s wild claims and impede his attempts to put things right. This book is written in the first person from the point of view of one such individual. It was published after just three Twelfth Doctor episodes had broadcast (between Robot of Sherwood and Listen), so it’s a savvy move to has us discovering the new incarnation through another character’s eyes.

The Governor is an exceptionally well-drawn character. He is in a position of authority, but plagued with doubts; and the gap between what he is actually like and how he sees himself is subtly drawn. He has a great character-arc as he goes from self-deluding to finally accepting of the situation.


James Goss perfectly captures the Twelfth Doctor’s anger and intensity, and his misguided attempts at charming people. Tonally this story is perhaps closest to Into the Dalek; there is the same underlying theme of what constitutes a good man. They also share a resolution which is something of a pyrrhic victory, and leaves the survivors with little sense of satisfaction.

It is not out of place among the body horror that is more prevalent in series eight either. In a run that’s seen actual human faces being waved around in Deep Breath and the policeman’s charred, dismembered hand landing in shot in The Caretakerthere’s some even more visceral imagery at play here. All described in deliciously gory detail.


Order from Amazon:

Doctor Who: The Blood Cell (12th Doctor novel) (Dr Who)

On Kindle:

Doctor Who: The Blood Cell (12th Doctor novel) (Dr Who)

2 thoughts on “The Blood Cell by James Goss

  1. Well put (as always). I enjoyed having the 12th Doctor (and Clara) introduced solely through the eyes of another character. 1st-person POV is a rarity for the New Series Adventures but Goss carries it off remarkably well, with the revelations about the Governor being unspooled rather neatly along the way. I would point out that most of the gore is kept off-screen and implied… until late in the book, which only makes the visceral imagery that much more memorable.

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