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Scales of Injustice:  The Edwardian Cricketer Book Review

Scales of Injustice: The Edwardian Cricketer Book Review

3rd Doctor, Liz Shaw, and UNIT

Author: EdwardianCricketer/Friday, December 19, 2014/Categories: Blog, Book Review

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Well this one was just a bit of a mess, to me. Admittedly, I started this book with a little bit of bias against it. Nothing against the author; I’ve read other books by Gary Russell and I like his writing style, his voice. I like authors who paint vivid pictures for their readers and Russell colors in all the corners so his writing is really right my street. No, my bias is somewhat against the Third Doctor, or more to the point, his first season stories. There weren’t but four stories in his first season and three of them were seven parts each.  And Russell seemed to trying to compact the whole first season, or as many elements from it as possible, into this book.

This book felt like a struggle to get through and maybe my bias had something to do with it or maybe it was Russell’s deep push into the private life of the Brigadier and his attempt to get inside Liz Shaw’s head that just didn’t sit well with me. I’ll admit I don’t know the character of Liz Shaw very well so I can’t speak to how well I think Russell recounted her characterization on the page. I liked Liz and thought she was a good foil for the Third Doctor. I liked her in this book:  tough, independent, intelligent, resourceful. My one quibble was this idea of Liz smoking a pipe. Did that ever happen in the series? It did bother me quite a lot that Russell dove eyeballs deep into the Brigadier’s private life. I’ve never heard of the Brigadier’s first wife or the divorce in Doctor Who lore so I don’t know if Russell made this up for the book or if there is established non-canon mythology in the books I haven’t read. It felt out of place, though, and had nothing really to do with the telling of this story.

There really is a lot going on in this story and this C-19 group and the Glasshouse are new to me but Russell makes them sound like something that’s been in existence for since the events of The Web of Fear. This story has elements from several UNIT based stories and strongly pulls events from the Third Doctor’s first season into a very convoluted story. There’s a huge amount of back story that’s woven very well into this book but it makes for a long, involved story. There are numerous subplots, most of which get tied up. The main plot seems fairly well resolved, even if there are elements that got away.

The Scales of Injustice is a well-written book that feels a bit more like a spy novel or something that would have worked well in MI-5 or Torchwood. It has all the right hallmarks of a Doctor Who story that somehow just didn't work as a Doctor Who story.


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