BBC Books
The Art of Destruction

Author Stephen Cole Cover image
ISBN 0 563 48651 1
Published 2006

Synopsis: The TARDIS arrives in 22nd century Africa, where agri-teams are growing food in the rich soil around a dormant volcano to feed the hungry millions of Earth. However, the time travellers detect an alien signal nearby. As something moves in the volcanic tunnels, the Doctor realises an ancient trap has been triggered.


A Review by John Seavey 16/10/07

By this point, Stephen Cole seems to understand exactly what his strengths are as a writer, and plays to them well in this book. He's got a gift for pacing, filling each chapter with plenty of incident and action and keeping the plot moving by continually upping the ante of threats and menaces until you've got erupting volcanoes, two alien factions fighting the last battle of an interstellar war, and human rebels with guns running around on top of all that. With all that going around, minor deficiencies in characterization and theme... it's not that they're not noticeable, it's that you're done with the book before you have time to think about them.

Special mention should go to the Wurm, by the way, for managing to be interesting aliens despite their stupid name and one-note "Hi, we're EEEVIL!" characterization. By actually basing them on worm biology, Cole creates interesting details from their ship construction, to their weaponry, right down to the second-in-command getting chopped in half and still surviving for a good long while.

The name's still stupid, though.