Doctor Who: Feel the Literary Love!

Russell Cook checks out the new Doctor Who novels from BBC Books, available now…

Doctor Who novels Ruby Red and Caged (BBC Books, 2024)

Season fourteen of new Doctor Who – or season one, if you are a friend of Mickey Mouse –  has just concluded on various streaming platforms, not forgetting terrestrial TV (yes, it still exists!) in its traditional Saturday evening slot. To say that this eight-part series has received a mixed reception would be an understatement of epic, huge and Inferno like proportions. On the plus side, you don’t have to enter into a parallel world to watch the Doctor Who forums self destruct in a flame filled line of explanation marks and internal fan base squabbling. Just go online and type Give me the Lovin’ into the browser.

Since the series was relaunched in 2005, BBC Books have published original novels to accompany whichever Doctor was on the screen at the time. Beginning with the Ninth Doctor, the books series was at its peak during David Tennant’s reign as the Tenth Doctor, when it felt like an original novel was released on a monthly basis – very on Target. However, in recent years, the release cycle has slowed down considerably with the last three releases featuring Jodie Whitaker’s Thirteenth Doctor coming out in 2018!

Doctor Who literary devotees will be pleased to know that two novels featuring Ncuti Gatwa as the Fifteenth Doctor and Millie Gibson as his companion Ruby, have now hit the shelves. 

Doctor Who - Ruby Red by Georgia Cook (BBC Books, 2024)

First up is Ruby Red by Georgia Cook, and it’s a historical time travelling tale which takes the reader back to 1242 and Estonia. We meet teenager Ranavere, who has sent a distress call into the far reaches of space, as she is not that keen in taking part in a coming-of-age ritual which is to survive in the midst of the ongoing conflict between the armies of Novgorod and Estonia. Understandable in a way, plenty of other things to do as a teenager than get involved in a war! 

Enter the Doctor and Ruby. Distress call received and acted upon. However, it’s not just the intrepid tine travellers that pick up the signal, so do Ranavere’s sisters. Up the family tension! 

Georgia Cook captures the characters of The Doctor and Ruby well, and their first foray onto the printed page is a colourful story of a teenager’s resistance to a life that she is expected to follow. It’s an involved, engaging tale of conflict and loyalty to things that matter. As for a rather unpleasant entity that lives beneath the icy lake and the TARDIS landing on said lake. It’s a ten on the tension scale. Chills all round.

Doctor Who - Caged by Una McCormack (BBC Books, 2024)

The second novel, Caged by experienced Doctor Who writer Una McCormack, is a humorous take on alien abduction. On a nameless world, the furry guinea pig-like Chirracharr spends a lot of time gazing up into the star filled skies convinced she has been abducted from her original world, much to the constant amusement of her siblings and other members of her race who are beyond certain they are alone in the universe. Enter the octopus-like beings the Ixites, who also believe they are alone. Clearly the word YANI is not often used at the dinner tables of both races. 

Una has set the scene for a fun mystery that also involves robotic space armadillos a mysterious Area 51 type place experiment, which has been run by the Ixites for a millennia. There is enough activity going on here to keep everyone on their toes then the Doctor and Ruby arrive. Time to discover the secrets of this alien world. 

Caged is a glorious romp that is also moving and thought provoking as shown by the machinations and motivations of races wanting to discover the truth which is somewhere out there. The answer to life the Universe and Everything may be here within these pages but not on page 42.

Caged and Ruby Red are welcome additions to the world of Doctor Who original fiction. Later in the year, a third novel featuring The Doctor and Ruby, Eden Rebellion by Abi Falase, will be published. Let us hope it’s not the last.

Russell Cook

Doctor Who – Ruby Red by Georgia Cook is available now from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

Doctor Who – Caged by Una McCormack is available now from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

Doctor Who - Eden Rebellion by Abi Falase (BBC Books, 2024)

Doctor Who – Eden Rebellion by Abi Falase is available to preorder now from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link) – out on 14th November 2024

On the crystalline planet of Yewa, the Gardens of Kubuntu are a true Eden, said to be the most peaceful destination in the universe. At least, until the Doctor and Ruby arrive.

Ancient rivalries between Yewa and its more prosperous sister world of Bia are being stirred by forces unknown, threatening to plunge its people into anarchy. With Ruby swept up in the fire of the Yewan rebellion, the Doctor finds dark secrets buried deep in the planet’s ancient history – and his hopes for a lasting peace hanging by a thread. For sinister guardians stalk the Gardens of Kubuntu, while an implacable enemy plots in the shadows – and in plain sight…

• Russell Cook’s memoir, Castles in the Sky. A story of love, loss and learning to live again is available from Amazon

Categories: Books, Doctor Who, Features, Other Worlds, Reviews, Television

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