The Drosten’s Curse by AL Kennedy book review

Tom Baker returns in AL Kennedy’s Doctor Who spinoff The Drosten’s Curse

Having started life as one of the short stories in the Time Trips collection, AL Kennedy’s The Drosten’s Curse proves to have more than enough substance to justify the jump in size.

At the Fetch Golf Spa Resort in Arbroath, something strange is underfoot. Something under the sand in the bunkers is eating the guests, so it’s just as well that the Doctor arrives to get to the bottom of what is going on. It soon becomes apparent that this is much more than a carnivorous subterranean beast, however.

Together with Bryony, a resourceful receptionist in need of a change, and Putta, a useless but well-intentioned alien in disguise, the Doctor must find a way to save everyone from the creature that
is awakening.

Kennedy makes sure that The Drosten’s Curse easily passes the first test of any Doctor Who novel by delivering a Fourth Doctor who is convincingly and vividly portrayed.

It’s an absolute pleasure to read her take on the character that Tom Baker brought to life so wonderfully; from the way he veers between dread and excitement at the prospect of probable death to his essential belief that there is goodness in everything somewhere, not to mention his inimitable behavioural tics.

Fittingly for a Fourth Doctor story, there’s plenty of imminent doom and some quite shocking moments that recall the gruesomeness of episodes like ‘The Horror Of Fang Rock’.

New companions Bryony and Putta are great company, particularly the former, who suddenly finds the workplace she hates becoming the site of something extraordinary
and terrifying.

There’s a formidable new creature with a rich mythology, moments of great humour and horror, and we even get to explore the inside of the TARDIS. The Drosten’s Curse is a funny, scary and ultimately optimistic book that fits very nicely into the Doctor Who universe.