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Review: Deadly Reunion

Really, Livejournal? Really?

Okay, take two. For the record, I hate whatever they've done to the new editor. Because now you can't edit anything, even in html, without it getting completely fucked up in a way that apparently couldn't be fixed. I had to delete the last post and start a new one. Alright, alright, end rant... Sorry for everyone on my flist the non-working cuts.

So this is technically supposed to be a journal for fic. Except I feel the love for this novel needs to be spread and there's not really enough Master in this one for me to feel comfortable posting this over on b_e. Maybe if a few of my flist think it Relevant to Our Interests over there, I'll consider it. For now though, here is a review of Deadly Reunion by Terrance Dicks and Barry Letts.


I'm sure by now everyone is aware that I am a little Brigadier fangirl. As such, I was extremely wary of this novel. After all, on the back of the cover it proclaims that the Brigadier is In Love. One doesn't have to be as huge a fan of the Brigadier as me to realize quite how preposterous this is. The Brigadier is a great many things (mainly, all things awesome), but the protagonist in a romance novel he is not. I've personally struggled with trying to write him as a married man, if just because it's hard to see him outside of the being a Soldier.

The main reason I did decide to go ahead and read this one was that the other Delgado Master and Third Doctor novel I had promised to be more of the same as Last of the Gadarene. Which was good, don't get me wrong, but with pathetic amounts of actual Master screen time so much that he's almost an afterthought. Deadly Reunion seemed like more of the same as well, but at least I'd have lots of Brigadier to make up for it, provided I didn't hate the characterization and just give up reading it. So I went ahead with Deadly Reunion and prepared myself to be fairly skeptical of all things involved.

Skepticism went right out the window.

This novel is probably one of the single most crackiest things I've ever read. And I do mean that in the most flattering sense possible. It's the good kind of crack, that's actually in character and believable; sort of like the sword fight between the Doctor and the Master in Sea Devils, where the Doctor steals the Master's lunch all while fending the Master off. This is the best sort of crack from the two men behind scenes of much of the Third Doctor, with bits of absolutely heart-breaking moments to balance the sheer silliness out.

Seriously, I spent a good half of the novel giggling hysterically and the rest of it mewing in a contented pile of fangirl goo. The Brigadier is awesome. Benton is awesome. The scenes between the Doctor and the Master are sheer brilliance. And the Greek gods running amok in a post WWII world is just fun. I haven't had this much fun with the gods since Mantantei Loki Ragnarok, which features the Norse gods running around modern day Japan in a similar fashion. Don't get me wrong, I loved the new Thor movie, but it's just not the same as the random shenanigans of ancient gods enjoying the lives of mortals.

As a lover of the classical period, the crack bits with the gods were just awesome. Once again, there were so many ways this could go wrong. Don't even get me started on my feelings on 300 and Troy. Even the First Doctor serial with the Trojan War left me more dissatisfied than anything. This, on the other hand, tickled me in just the right fashion. And yes, oddly enough I totally ship the Brigadier/Persephone now. Usually I only ship the Brigadier/the TARDIS (which I still stand by. Come on, just think about it. In Zagreus, the TARDIS chooses the Brigadier as her avatar. And where does the Doctor end up after insulting the Brigadier in Inferno? The garbage bin. XD), but I've finally been converted to a Brigadier pairing that I can actually see. And heck, he's obviously used to dimensionally transcendental older women having a thing for him.

The book isn't all happiness, sadly. Sometimes the writing style annoyed me, particularly the jumping forward and then back again which happened a lot in the beginning. It was more confusing than anything at first, though I did get used to it. Also a lot of the navy stuff at the start was a little hard to follow, which was odd because I am the daughter of a sailor. But overall the book is made of awesome. Awesome, I tell you.

Honestly, I don't think I've had that much of a nerd-gasm since the new Star Trek movie came out. Mewing puddle of happy panda-goo, I tell you.

Past this point, there will be spoilers. Just giving you a fair warning.

The first half of the novel is devoted to a twenty-one year old Second Lieutenant Alistair Lethbridge-Sewart and his valiant odyssey through the underworld to save the goddess of his dreams. Yes, it's every bit as cracky as it sounds. He falls madly, head over heels in love with Persephone pretty much at first glance and the scenes where she flirts with him are beyond adorable. He's so concerned about doing everything properly and waiting for just the right moment to kiss her that he stumbles over nearly everything in a way that leaves Memory melted into a squeeing blob that wants nothing more than to ruffle Young Brigadier's hair. Then she tells him it's not to be and you just want to cuddle the despondent Alistair as he leaves and sulks.

Of course, it doesn't end there. Hermes ends up slipping aboard the ship that the Brigadier is on to tell him that his lovely Sephie has been captured by Hades and must be rescued by someone who is conveniently head over heels in love with her. Which leads to a hilarious scene of Hermy having to convince the Brigadier that he is, in fact, an ancient Greek god, which includes just a bit of whiskey. We all know how the Brigadier is at the best of times. Still, the Brigadier is twenty-one and madly in love, so Hermy ends up having a bit more luck than the Doctor and in the end, the Young Brig goes tramping across Albania to find the entrance to the Underworld. And ends up in bondage. Hm, yes. Mem did enjoy that mental image...

The real fun begins once they get to the underworld itself though. The Brigadier calls Cerberus a 'good dog' and ends up charming the three-headed mutt silly. And there was much, much squeeing. Because the Brigadier would just walk up and pet Cerberus on the heads. Paranormal mumbo-jumbo aside, a dog is a dog no matter how many heads it has, and elephant sized or not, the Brigadier can handle a dog. Then he just tells the wraiths to get out of his way, because he'd gotten quite sick of all their moaning and attempting to tear him down. It was just adorably Brigadier. He's not going to put up with all that ghost shit, so bugger off.

Then there are the bits with Sephie and how she has to tell him to keep his hands to himself and behave until they get out of the Underworld. Which, trust me. I know. It doesn't sound at all like in character Brigadier. Yet somehow these crazy writers make it in character. He's young, Madly In Love, shocks the hell out of Benton and Yates by calling for her when he'd collapsed later on (which I would have paid anything to see their faces for that. Too bad Jo didn't have a camera), and it somehow just works.

Of course, love between a goddess and a mortal never works out, so after a few weeks of good sex (Greeks know how to do sex), Sephie leads Young Brigadier into the River Lethe and all of his memories of defeating Hades and epically battling for true love are erased. And you just want to cuddle both of them.

The second half of the book is Third Doctor shenanigans as Hades returns to plague the living yet again. This time, with added Master. The Master is fairly gratuitous to the plot, actually. He's there because the writers wanted him to be and to write wonderfully and classically flirty scenes between the Doctor and the Master just because they could. Actually, I pretty much adored all the scenes with the Doctor and the Master. It's all there. The ego stroking, the proposals to rule time and space, the eye-lash batting in order to convince the Doctor to buy him another drink. Okay, I might be exaggerating on the latter a little, but he does pointedly flirt in order to get the Doctor to refill his wine glass, right in front of everyone at UNIT and it's hilarious. Plus, Benton gets in a very Ivanova-ish line that goes very much along the lines of "Can we hurt him? Just a little?"

Also, I adore the first scene with the Master. You can tell the Master is classically in waaaaaaaaaaaaay over his head this time, though he's struggling not to admit it. I'm a sucker for Master torment (again, no surprise there) and I'll admit I loved picturing his hand trembling lightly as he tried to suppress his fear at how bad the situation was for him. Then he begs, begs the Doctor to help him and gets adorably angry when the Doctor seemingly says no, because he went through all of that just to try and convince the Doctor to help him.

I'd have given anything to see the Master's face when Hades says that the Doctor appears to be the more intelligent of the two of them as well. I can imagine there was much smugness on the Doctor's part. All and all, their relationship is very well played in this book.

The Brigadier has not been forgotten in all of this though. Just as the relationship between the Doctor and the Master was well played, the relationship between the Doctor and the Brigadier was brilliant. When the Doctor comes out of the house after the Brigadier half remembers Sephie and finds the Brigadier just sitting in Bessie and staring into space, I was half beside myself squeeing as the Doctor tries to comfort him.

Of course, it all ends with a huge row between the Doctor and the Brigadier, but I loved that too. It's a brilliant description when the Brigadier is unable to cope with everything, therefore just shuts out all the paranormal stuff because he can't bear to remember Sephie completely. And he needs more cuddles. Except that he's doing something possibly horrific at the same time that the Doctor hasn't a hope of convincing him out of.

I think the best bit of all of that is Benton questioning that order later when things have calmed down, and the Brigadier explains his reasoning. And then you really just want to cuddle him more, because there's nothing else they can do. Lots more cuddles.

Actually, it raises an interesting part of the Brigadier's character, both here and in Last of the Gadarene, on how far he'll go. In the question of killing one to save a thousand, the Brigadier has to save that thousand, no matter what the cost. He's not the Doctor, and just has to make do with what he can as a soldier. I particularly loved that scene in Gadarene where he tells Yates to move to the passenger seat, because he won't ask anyone else to do what he won't do himself.

Anyway, this got long. Very long. Just know, to sum up, the book is awesome and well worth reading. I might be able to... *cough*borrow*cough* the book out, if you catch my drift, if anyone wants to read it. Just let me know and I'll send it via email or something. Fair warning, I don't think a lot of time was spent on the pdf file, so there are a lot of typos and things. It can get bothersome at times.

And now, some excerpts.

"In front of them, he could just make out an open field, bounded by a rocky outcrop in the middle distance. Lit by the flickering of the camp fire, the gnarled branches of the ancient olive trees behind the camp seemed to move, like miniature versions of those that had grabbed Snow White and so agreeably scared the young Alistair, some ten years before."

This is quite possibly one of the most adorable mental images ever.

"Robert the Bruce and his spider... As he attained the top of the beam at the third attempt, and gingerly started to remove the tiles and pile them in a precarious pile in front of him, the poem they'd had to learn at school ran through his head: '... try, try, try again...' Another stubborn bloody Scotsman, thought Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, perhaps a little smugly."

More Alistair cuteness. This time with added Scotish-ness.

"Alister looked at the charging beast with an open mouth. He'd been told to expect the hound with three heads (and only half believed It was anything more than a legend) but he'd heard nothing about its size. This thing was as tall as an elephant; and it was coming at them with the speed of a charging rhinoceros.
Hermy stepped forward, lifting a noticeably shaking hand.
The boy obviously knew nothing about dogs.
'Keep still!' harked Alistair.
Hermy stopped in surprise.
The great creature came straight for them. Its three heads with their cacophonous chorus of barks had bared fangs that could snap a tree trunk.
Alistair, who was at the front, didn't move a muscle.
At the last moment, it swerved. Alistair turned on the spot, keeping his eyes on those of the central head.
Swinging round the two of them in a tight circle, the creature skidded to a stop. Alistair (and the astonished Hermy as well) kept facing it.
Its voice now a fearsome growl, it lowered its heads to the ground and began to creep menacingly forward.
Alistair stood his ground.
As the beast came nearer, and nearer, he slowly lifted his arm and held out the back of his hand.
It stopped, puzzled.
'Good dog,' said Alistair.
The three heads, each as big as that of an ox, reached out to sniff his hand. The largest gave it a tentative lick.
Alistair stroked the coarse hair, and gave it a rub behind the ears - and at once the two outer noses pushed against his arm, jealously demanding some of the same."

I lied. That's quite possibly the cutest thing ever.

"'No offence sir, but you do look a bit... well, showbusiness, like. Thought you might be lead guitarist in one of them groups. 'Ere, you're not that Mick Jagger are you?'
'Certainly not.'
The landlord looked disappointed. 'I was sure you was some kind of pop star - and the young lady'd be your vocalist. That or one of your groupies, like.'
Jo looked amused and the Doctor looked outraged."

I did mention the crack?

"Jo looked contrite. 'I suppose I thought you might disapprove. I thought you were anti-pop if anything.'
The Doctor looked offended. 'I'll have you know, Jo, that in my younger days, my much younger days, I played lead perigosto stick for the Gallifrey Academy Hot Five - until the Faculty closed down. The Master was on drums.'"

Best. Crack. EVER. I think I need fic of this to live.

"It was, of course, the Master.
'Good evening, Doctor.' he said. 'I imagine you're surprised to see me?'
The Doctor was pretty surprised, as a matter of fact. He remembered what he'd said to Jo, that this whole affair was beyond the Master's range. Could he have been wrong? In any event, he had no intention of betraying his true feelings.
He dropped into an armchair. 'Surprised? Not really. I knew you'd turn up sooner or later. It's called the bad penny effect.'
The Master looked disappointed, but made a swift recovery."

Yeah, for some reason this just tickled me. It's oddly adorable and so very much Them.

"The Doctor looked puzzled. 'Well, if we're not playing out the usual scenario, what the devil are we doing here?'
'The devil is very much the point' The Master leaned forward urgently. 'Believe me, I didn't bring you here to threaten you.'
To his astonishment, the Doctor saw that the hands holding the Master's goblet were trembling. The Master drained his brandy, poured himself another and offered the decanter to the Doctor, who shook his head.
'You'd better tell me what's going on,' he said quietly.
Recovering his poise, the Master sat back and began his tale."

Master torment. It's lovely, isn't it? <3

"'We can discuss that later,' said the Doctor impatiently. He turned back to the Master. 'I'll consider your invitation. You said you also had information for me.'
'I do indeed.' The Master looked at his empty glass. 'Thirsty work, all this talking.' The Doctor refilled his glass, and the Master went on."

If that's not flirting, I don't know what is. XD

"'I'm offering you a chance to join the winning side, Doctor! Join me and serve Hades loyally - at least until it's safe for us to overthrow him. We may yet be able to turn all this to
our advantage.'
'You're so twisted you'll end up stabbing yourself in the back some day! Are you serious?'"

As you can probably guess, the Master just gave the big proposal. And the Doctor comes back with one of the best ways to describe the Master. I did so love the fact that the Master was constantly switching sides.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
narwhale_callin
Sep. 3rd, 2011 03:16 am (UTC)
'I'll have you know, Jo, that in my younger days, my much younger days, I played lead perigosto stick for the Gallifrey Academy Hot Five - until the Faculty closed down. The Master was on drums.'

***dies laughing***

Oh, and Brig conquering Cerberus? EPIC.

This certainly does sound...interesting seems to be the best word for it.
dragonofmemory
Sep. 3rd, 2011 03:22 am (UTC)
Oh, it's definitely epic.

If by interesting you mean completely and totally awesome crack, then you would be correct. As I said, I have shifty ways of providing this crack, should you be interested.
tardiscrash
Sep. 3rd, 2011 05:15 am (UTC)
This is going on the must read pile. So many novels. Just when I was finally making solid progress on the audios as well. Canon, how is there so much of you?

Also, Lj has been just horrible. I can't edit my fic master list or my watch lists at all. This place is becoming almost unusable;e. It's very annoying. I've been on LJ for 10 years but I've just about given up on it now.
dragonofmemory
Sep. 3rd, 2011 03:35 pm (UTC)
There is far too much of Canon. -_-;;; I've decided to just avoid Benny and Eight because there's no way I'll get to them all, not and finish out the main line, companion chronicles, short trips, potentially Gallifrey and watch all the reconstructed episodes we're skipping in the b_e watchalong.

Actually, it's gotten better. I tried it when they first switched things around and they have fixed a few things. Just not all. And editing is nearly impossible. >.< They could do with a lot more testing before releasing things. I just hope they fix it soon. I got on LJ for b_e, basically, so it'd be a pity for LJ to fall apart now.
tardiscrash
Sep. 3rd, 2011 04:54 pm (UTC)
I just got up to date with the Companion Chronicles and I'm three away with the main line. I'm jumping into the lost stories next and then maybe Eight. I just can't can't imagine him without Charley.

How is the watch along going? I think it's a great idea to do. I've been watching a lot of One era too and I think it would be much easier with some friends.

Edited at 2011-09-03 04:56 pm (UTC)
dragonofmemory
Sep. 3rd, 2011 05:43 pm (UTC)
I think I've decided Eight just isn't my Doctor. I've tried to like him, really, but he just doesn't thrill me very much. Still, I won't knock the Eight adventures till I've tried them... which will be a very long time away. At least there's Four to look forward to, since those I don't have to catch up on!

It's been going pretty well, when I'm not the only one there and have no one to rant to about how much they're stereotyping the West and how they got all the details wrong. Which I know, because I took the tour when I was there. XD Extensive research, I tell you. We're on our last official One serial tomorrow, which makes me sad. I've adored One. I already watched Tenth Planet, since we're skipping the recons, but this will make the last one I've yet to see. :(

Then next week, we're on to Two, who hasn't impressed me thus far in the recons, but that could very well just be because they're recons. I'm looking forward to Victoria, at least, since I think she's in the next serial I have to catch up on.
tardiscrash
Sep. 3rd, 2011 05:55 pm (UTC)
That is really funny, I have honestly not run into many people who have done the Eight and Charley audios and not fallen totally in love with him. I think that his stories got the most care out of the first 100 or so of the main line.

Not that I think you are wrong or bad or anything, I'm just a bit surprised. And well, I adore him. Five is my favourite, no surprise I'm sure, of the audio Doctors. I just really love him and Peri and Erimem and also him and Nyssa(zomgtheirloveistrueandforever--) I;'m not wild about the new ones with Tegan. I'm just not keen on abrasive and shouty people.

Poke me some time is chat is empty and I'm come hang out with you for the serial. Though I don't know anything about the West ether so I don't know how much help I would be! I like Two era a lot, at least form the companion chronicle end of it. The episodes I've seen are good.
dragonofmemory
Sep. 3rd, 2011 06:16 pm (UTC)
Actually, I dreaded the long blocks of Eight audios. I didn't like Charley (though I really started to like her with Six, but she wasn't with him long enough for me to get very far) and Eight just... I dunno. The two of them didn't work at all for me and I wasn't overly impressed with him in the last audio with different companions for him that I listened to. I have a friend who adored him and Charley and was just as flabbergasted when I said I didn't. There are times I like him, but mostly I'd rather listen to audios without him.

My favorites in the main line have actually been Six and Evelyn so far. The two of them are just brilliant together. And I adore Seven, Ace, and Hex. Which both are horrible for me writing, because I'm such a physical writer and I've only managed to watch one episode of both Six and Seven so far. The one time I've done Evelyn nearly drove me up the wall, since I only really had her voice to go off of and I had to make up everything else. I suppose I just need to sit down and watch more Six and Seven one day, among everything else I've got to do. -_-;;;

Will do! I was just annoyed with that serial because I've been to Tombstone before and therefore was an ultimate authority on it and DW had it all wrong. XD Which isn't true at all (well, them getting it all wrong was, but the bit about me being an ultimate authority is stretching the truth), but still. That and the annoying song! At least it is over now, lol.

I liked Tomb of the Cybermen, but the Land of Fiction one didn't impress me very much. We'll see. Perhaps he'll grow on me. And there is Brigadier coming up and I've never been able to dislike a serial with him in it. XD
tardiscrash
Sep. 3rd, 2011 06:35 pm (UTC)
Eight is not for everyone, it's okay. Six is wonderful too. I wouldn't go out of my way to watch his serials becasue they are pretty bad on the whole. Audio is really where he shines. But Seven and Ace are great on the show. And Mel. I adore Mel.

I do hear people in fandom complain about getting this wrong or that wrong in shows because they have lived somewhere or researched it a lot. It never really bothers me becasue I just think of it as fiction. I grew up in California and a lot of time it's cold and rainy and I've been to a beach all of 4 times in my life so maybe I've just been desensitised to the idea of inaccurate representations of locations.

But I guess when you think about the budget and they fact that this was in a land before internet in a country where the wild west wasn't something they would have covered extensively in history I can't really hold it against them. Unless they where, like, riding elephants and shooting machine guns.
dragonofmemory
Sep. 3rd, 2011 07:18 pm (UTC)
Hm. That's what I've heard about Six serials. Still, if I'm going to learn his mannerisms, I've got to start somewhere. XD I do absolutely adore him in the audios. I think he's my favorite audio Doctor thus far.

Heh. I actually was more complaining to complain than actually being offended. Well, I was just a bit offended, because while I'm not native to Texas and cowboys, they were stretching belief just a bit. A famous outlaw in town does not mean that half the town is shot and killed before the big gun fight this is all leading to. There nearly wasn't anyone left for the gun fight. But I'm told that's all supposed to make things more entertaining. XD The accents, surprisingly enough, weren't overly cringe worthy, and for that they get props.

There's a hug difference from being on the coast of California and off it. XD And a huge difference between San Diego's nice weather and needing mittens for the Fourth of July in San Francisco. Over all though, I found California to be a very nice state, so long as I was close to the water. The further I got inland, not so much. Then again, that probably had something to do with preforming inside with hot lights when it was over 100 degrees outside and no AC (because we could either have the stage lights or the AC. Guess which one we had to do without?) and nearly fainting. Not one of my best performances, over all. ^_^;;;

The Red Wood Forest was full of win though. I do occasionally miss living in California.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )