Seasons of War: Gallifrey

As the Time War breaks out, four Gallifreyans from different backgrounds try to survive and make sense of the conflict.

Following the 2015 War Doctor anthology Season of War, Kara Dennison and Paul Driscoll continue the saga with the first novel based during the conflict since George Mann’s Engines of War. As the title suggests, this book is about the events on Gallifrey and focuses on characters other than the Doctor. That said, some well-placed cameos show the Doctor’s development throughout the war, from his idealistic Eighth incarnation to battle-weary warrior who steals the Moment in Day of the Doctor. One of the great successes of Gallifrey over Engines of War or the Big Finish series starring John Hurt (which are very enjoyable) is that for the first time we see the ‘War Doctor’ behaving in a way that justifies abandoning his name.

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The four characters we follow here represent different areas of Gallifreyan society, from the upper echelons of the War Council to the Shabogans, or wastelanders. Tor Fasa is a Time Lord contemporary of the Doctor, in his penultimate regeneration, who stayed behind to change Time Lord society from within while the Doctor went off exploring with Susan. Fasa’s protege is Mordecai, a young TARDIS engineer who falls in love with Savilia, a Shabogan who has a Time Lord cousin in the form of Kendo. This novel follows these four characters efforts throughout the time war, and how the war changes them and their planet.

The Russell T Davies-era promises of a Time Lord race who will do anything to win the War is also fully brought to the fore, along with the long hinted-at concept that not all Gallifreyans are Time Lords, or all have the same abilities (such as regeneration). This is a more fully-realised Gallifrey than we’ve seen before. The story really builds on what’s known from the TV series, but also explores lots of new ideas.

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This is all set relatively early in the Time War. As each of the main characters try to do the right thing, but the circumstances of the war and their own bad decisions drive them further apart and initially make things worse. The characters have to fight not only the inequities and ruthlessness of the Time Lords, but their own failings and hypocrisies. The Daleks are not the main threat in this story, and the true nature of the mysterious Percusians only reinforces this theme.

This is an epic, ambitious and thoroughly entertaining novel. Despite the doom-laden atmosphere and the reader’s knowledge of the outcome of the Time War, the story builds to a great climax, with the characters finally re-united and salvaging hope for the future.

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Order Seasons of War: Gallifrey from Altrix Books website.

 

 

 

 

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