Target Novels' Companion Series
Turlough and the Earthlink Dilemma

Author Tony Attwood Cover
ISBN 0 426 20224 4
Published 1986

Synopsis: Turlough has returned to Trion and discovers a shocking and terrifying link to the planet Earth.


A Review by Graham Keeling 11/4/01

I finished this book last week and I have to say that it was quite hard going. Maybe this is because I have become used to the original Doctor Who novels of the nineties which make this 1986 attempt seem slightly amateurish. I mean this in terms of the actual physical text - spelling mistakes abound throughout this novel (for example, references to 'Time Lord frinds') and this can distract from the pleasure of reading. The storyline is reasonably entertaining, although events that would happen over a period of time tend to occur in just a couple of lines. This makes the story 'fast-moving', but also makes it awkward to read in short chunks (like on the train to my kickboxing class) as the effect is quite disorientating. I managed to finish it in two weeks, as compared to my usual one week for the longer N/As or EDAs.

The character of Turlough is admittedly more rounded than the on-screen version, but most of the other characters fare less well. For example, Juras was quite transparent and I found her 'revelation' near the end of the book quite obvious. The Magician, however, generally works quite well as he comes across as nicely mysterious and would probably have become a regular, had the series continued.

One other good thing that stands out in my mind is the the sequence where Turlough is trapped in a huge maze of interlocked rooms and has to use logic to find the escape route. This is the kind of thing that attracted me to Doctor Who in the first place and worked very well in this book. One question - what was the business with the Magician creating wierd animals in a cave? He does this at the end of an early chapter and nothing more comes of it. It seems as if Tony Attwood was going to make this character a baddie and then decided not to in the next few pages

To conclude - A difficult read which would have been a lot better if more attention had been paid to detail. The foreword by Mark Strickson was nice, though,

Onto Harry Sullivan's War!

A Review by Richard Radcliffe 16/9/02

One of the most mysterious characters to accompany the Doctor on his travels was Vislor Turlough. An interesting companion he might have been at first, Turlough was not really used to his full potential in the TV series. His origins were clearly not of the Earth, and in Planet of Fire we finally found his true origins - that of Trion, a race of superstitious folk in a galaxy far far away. And so this book takes off a few months after Turlough left the Doctor. It's a chance to find out more about Turlough - but did we really want this much information?

Character wise, it is debatable whether the character of Turlough is strong enough to carry a book. On the evidence of this novel, he's not - but the problems lie deeper than that. This is just not the Turlough off the TV - he's got the same name as him, comes from Trion - but it just ain't the same bloke. Thus the book has to be judged a failure on enhancing Turlough's character beyond the TV screen.

So let's take away the DW connection. What's the story like. One word - Atrocious. It's a garbled attempt to write a solid Science-Fiction novel, or a serious attempt to write a hard science-based novel. Real Science bores me stupid. Page upon page upon page of this kind of mind-blowing dullness was just too much (actually 1 page would have been too much to bear).

Thankfully this book has faded into relative obscurity, only to emerge once in a while unwanted in a 2nd Hand Bookshop. It's usually picked up quite quickly because of its novelty value, and rarity. But this book deserves no plaudits and nobody should strive to own it.

A poor show all round, stick to the Turlough on TV - he's a million times more interesting than in here. 3/10