We're on Earth. Again. I suppose you could be forgiven for thinking that it's yet another 'aliens around London' scenario again too, but thankfully you'd be wrong. This time, civilisation as we know it will be destroyed due to an incident in (drum roll)....... Sweden!?!
Well, full credit to Nick Walters for taking the Doctor somewhere he's never been before (not in a 'recorded' adventure anyway. Excellently, it's the setting(s) that really make this novel a worthwhile read. Vivid descriptions of the Swedish summer instil a strong sense of place - the buzzing insects and the lush forest canopy combining with sleepy Scandinavian towns to project an air of permeating normality. Then, when you're just settling into a comfortable scenario with main character Kirsten's description of her forest lodge - BAM! - something takes a chunk out of the lodge (and indeed reality), and everything suddenly gets sinister.
There are lizardy things, with a frog's hind legs and a Gila monster's maw raiding the local farms, people disappearing all over the place, a group of bio-exterminators wiping out the creatures that might possibly be alien too, and the hourglass spider-shaped Ruin - creatures that impregnate humans in a similar way to the Aliens in the Alien films.
Then it gets really weird. Sam gets sucked into a pocket universe where up can also be down, there's a pink sky that looks like sea, and the natives fall into three cavern dwelling categories - Bane (frog things), Ruin and T'Hilii. Everything that happens there is completely nuts, and it appears that Nick Walters may have been taking non-prescription drugs while reading Jim Mortimore's Parasite.
What I particularly like about Dominion is that main characters aren't killed off because Nick can't think of anything to do with them. Rather that the main characters that do die, do so either because of dumb (un)luck or an innate desire to be dead. The characterisation of the regulars is near the mark, and they interact well. The Doctor's lingering issues over the use of guns, taken from his actions in Revolution Man, affect his actions and in one case almost prevents him from doing anything, perhaps even resulting in someone else's death.
In addition, the TARDIS nearly dies. It gets invaded by an anomaly and reverts to a grey cube to heal itself. Even the Doctor's not sure whether the TARDIS will be ok, and he's deeply worried. In fact, we're lead to believe that without the TARDIS, the Doctor might lose his marbles completely. He's certainly less cocksure while it's out of commission, which raises interesting questions about the semi-symbiosis between the two.
On the negative side, because Sam is thrown into a pocket dimension, there's not enough of a resolution to her argument with Fitz at the end of Revolution Man over the Doctor's use of a gun - it's all quickly brushed under the carpet and forgotten about, seemingly as though their recent struggles have made it look like a walk in the park, when that's simply not true.
On the whole though, it's a well written novel with enough new ideas bolted onto the essence of Doctor Who - a good read that had me hooked for most of the novel.
Review by Tom Hey
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