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This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here I ve always considered the Doctor Who novels to be a weaker offshoot of the main television series Bound by continuity, unable to make major alterations to the development of characters or stories, I had an image of them as being superficial adventures as entertaining as these can be I was given The Witch Hunters by Steve Lyons about 5 or 6 years ago as a birthday present and decided to read it now It was published in 1998 during what fans consider the wilderness years of the show after I ve always considered the Doctor Who novels to be a weaker offshoot of the main television series Bound by continuity, unable to make major alterations to the development of characters or stories, I had an image of them as being superficial adventures as entertaining as these can be I was given The Witch Hunters by Steve Lyons about 5 or 6 years ago as a birthday present and decided to read it now It was published in 1998 during what fans consider the wilderness years of the show after it had been cancelled in 1989 and before its return in 2005 Set in Massachusetts, 1692, the story focuses around the tragic events of the Salem Witch Trials It features the First Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara and fits between The Reign of Terror and Planet of the Giants around 1964 The historical setting is the most striking aspect of the novel Doctor Who, up until 1966 or so, featured frequent historicals in which the travelers would land in a period of Earth s history and be the only alien influence seen during the story I rather miss that format it would be nice now to see the Doctor travel back in time and not have aliens cause Mt Vesuvius to erupt, for Shakespeare not to be influenced by witches, etc But I digress There was a point half way into the novel where I feared the antagonist would be revealed as supernatural witches, but it soon became clear this uncertainty was Lyons intention to make the mass hysteria appear all thepowerful This tactic most definitely worked I also enjoy the TARDIS landing on what seems like Earth but the travelers having no idea where they are I wish that too would happenfrequently in the new series, but then nowadays there isn t time for exploration.Mass hysteria is a concept I in my snug, stable society have always struggled to understand, but Lyons approach to the subject is both tactful and enlightening Even before the Doctor explains it, the tight knit, claustrophobic community crippled by mourning and paranoia is developed through virtually every page and the reader believes that such hysteria could occur in this village Actually, these conditions finally provide a decent excuse for Othello I m still not entirely convinced by the explanation for the children s well timed fits during the courts, but a combination of the puritanical society denying them an outlet for energy, the regular abuse they face, living on the edge of the Known World with all the trauma that entails and the fundamental religious belief all comes together to create a psychological state I could scarcely imagine It is obvious Lyons has done his research My main criticism is that the religious aspect sometimes felt a little shoehorned Ian, coming from the 1960s UK, really wouldn t say something like your Bible Even if he himself is not religious possible after all of his experences he ll certainly have friends or family at home who are I get that the intention is to further portray this village as alien to the travelers but on this occasion it s a bit forced.This is why I love historicals through a glance into different cultures, different beliefs and different events they shine varying lights into human nature Humans become the enemy, with all the ambigueties this entails The Witch Hunters is no different in portraying the dark side of humanity than we saw with the Aztecs and French Revolution on TV, but what does make it different is the increased amount of cruelty we see This must have been when the novels entered their adult phase both Ian and Susan experience forms of torture during the story and the entire plot is mired with death This is much darker than anything which would have been allowed on TV, and I love it Also, historicals really do provide different perspectives of the world No better is this seen than in Samuel Parris ironic desire to go down in history for all the right reasons by ridding Salem of witches an action which, of course, has instead made him infamous and a figure of hatred It also allows for time jumps, described well by beginning each section with a date one page we re in 1692 and the next it s the 1950s So much fun Besides, er, the witch executions The laws of time are given an interesting role here, too It s a concept which has been explored numerous times in Doctor Who often in direct contradiction with what has previously been established Rather than messing with themodern idea of fixed points in time , Lyons builds on the ideas first developed in The Aztecs that history cannot be changed This is proved wrong when the characters make minor alterations, and so I am left to assume that this is an artificial rule imposed upon the Doctor Is he so scared of changing time because to do so might catch the attention of the Time Lords he s currently on the run from It s never said for sure but the novel does hint that s the case.I was also highly impressed with the way Lyons wrote the characters As I already mentiond he is restrained with what he can do, although he skillfully takes as much from the characters as he can He managed to tie the novel in to the vague developments shown in the TV series, contributing to Susan s growth to independence and the Doctor s lonely nature, as well as creating an insight into the Doctor s strained relationship with Ian and Barbara which will actually help me to understand their interactions better whenever I next watch an old episode That s powerful writing to do that Ian and Barbara s dialogue could effortlessly have come from William Russell and Jacqueline Hill, while the Doctor s mannerisms were usually believable Susan was the weakest written character, I found The Susan of this story was written convincingly enough but it didn t quite fit in with the Susan from TV While I enjoyed her almost childlike hope that Ian and Barbara would continue travelling forever, she was at times written to be too young I think Susan s age is supposed to be around 15 or 16 but she s written to belike a 12 year old This was a flaw of the TV series too but it s particularly prevalent here Considering the adventures she ought to have had at this point, on Skaro, with cavemen, Revolutionary France, the Aztecs, the Sense Sphere etc she really ought not be this naive The Doctor, on the other hand, was developed well beyond the writing for TV We see his inner turmoils as he is forbidden from altering time, the discrepencies between what he says and what he thinks which can only be hinted at from television performances When he takes future victim Rebecca Nurse forward in time to see a production of The Crucible, then shows her Salem in the modern day, it s such a beautiful reflection of the character which I m accustomed to seeing only in the new series Yet, Lyons has fit these attributes to the personality of the first Doctor a successful blend of new and old That bit where he manages to convince the prison guards to let Ian free is so Hartnell, yet also has the depth which only developed later.In conclusion, Doctor Who The Witch Hunters is a surprisingly entertaining and thought provoking book It s expanded my knowledge of the Salem Witch Trials appearing to be exceedingly accurate from my own limited research and has expanded the already established characters It s encouraged me to seek outDoctor Who books in the future Final rating 9 10 I hadn t read one of these new adventures since before the show s revival Now that the show runners have pissed all over its legacy I thought I might look to them again for my fix, but I just can t get into this one In this novel, the TARDIS arrives in Salem in 1692, just about the time that the witchcraft hysteria is gearing up The Doctor s granddaughter, Susan, is horrified by what humans are doing to each other and is determined to break them out of their spell, but the Doctor insists she I hadn t read one of these new adventures since before the show s revival Now that the show runners have pissed all over its legacy I thought I might look to them again for my fix, but I just can t get into this one In this novel, the TARDIS arrives in Salem in 1692, just about the time that the witchcraft hysteria is gearing up The Doctor s granddaughter, Susan, is horrified by what humans are doing to each other and is determined to break them out of their spell, but the Doctor insists she can t change history, and knows she will be devastated when she tries and fails I ve only seen a couple of the first Doctor s televised adventures, but from what I see here he just doesn t have much of a personality He tugs on his lapels, says Hmm a lot and refers to schoolteacher Ian Chesterton as my dear boy It s all very dry with none of the wit or humor evident in later incarnations In the half of the book that I read, he s barely in it at all, as the story focuses mostly on Susan, and historical events Well, if I want to read that, I ll pick up The Crucible or something I don t know why authors want to write a Doctor Who novel and then hardly feature him Anyway, I ve lost interest Maybe these just aren t for me any , though I d still probably give one a try if I found another by one of my favorite DW authors Jonathan Morris, Mike Tucker Robert Perry, Keith Topping Martin Day Another great pure historical story set during the Salem witch trails.The time travellers must not draw attention to themselves whilst The Doctor attempt to fix the TARDIS, there s a real sense of paranoia in the air.It s an excellent read, both the characters and the era are written perfectly It s one of the best First Doctor books. Now one of my favourite books Steve Lyons has written a story that is not only truly gritty, but a story that has great intrigue and historical accuracy.Before reading this I had only read one first doctor novel which was Ten Little Aliens which I thought was overrated and really quite dull I recently picked up the first edition of this book and boy, I m so glad I did This is definitely one of the best Doctor Who books out there and I ll tell you why If you love pure historical stories then Now one of my favourite books Steve Lyons has written a story that is not only truly gritty, but a story that has great intrigue and historical accuracy.Before reading this I had only read one first doctor novel which was Ten Little Aliens which I thought was overrated and really quite dull I recently picked up the first edition of this book and boy, I m so glad I did This is definitely one of the best Doctor Who books out there and I ll tell you why If you love pure historical stories then you MUST read this book Lyons has done a marvellous job of characterising the four main characters, those being, the first doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara The supporting characters were also beautifully written and I liked how the writer used people who actually existed in that time one of them being, Rebecca Nurse.The Aztecs is one of my favourite Doctor Who stories and The Witch Hunters uses a famous line from The Aztecs which is you can t re write history, not one line and it s used very well in this story Ironically, The Doctor himself wants to change history but due to the laws of time, he knows he can t Susan also wants to try and change things for the better and it s nice to see her character beinginvolved.Overall The Witch Hunters is an absolute gem If you can t find the first edition of this book then you can still get it as part of the history collection and I highly recommend you do so There are barely any bad points which I can think of It s pretty much perfection from start to finish I very rarely give a book a 10 10 but I think this one deserves it The First Doctor seems to be the hardest for modern writers to characterize correctly, but Steve Lyons gets it right I ve been re watching all my First Doctor serials for the first time in a long while recently, and I have to say that I could hear William Hartnell s voice as I read Lyons dialogue for him In addition, Susan, Ian, and Barbara were all written with their voices in tact as well I would even go so far as to say that this particular story could just as easily have been an episode The First Doctor seems to be the hardest for modern writers to characterize correctly, but Steve Lyons gets it right I ve been re watching all my First Doctor serials for the first time in a long while recently, and I have to say that I could hear William Hartnell s voice as I read Lyons dialogue for him In addition, Susan, Ian, and Barbara were all written with their voices in tact as well I would even go so far as to say that this particular story could just as easily have been an episode penned by Dennis Spooner during the show s initial run though, perhaps, with a little less humor than Spooner tried to integrate into his scripts The reason why I picked up this particular First Doctor novel at the store, as opposed to any of the others, is that it took place during the Salem Witch Trials While I am a history enthusiast in general as it is what I did my undergrad in, and studying for a masters in religious studies also requires a certain amount of historical context and study , I have done a particularly large amount of reading on Salem in particular I first got interested in the subject when Charmed premiered when I was in the sixth grade though I quickly found out that witches did not get burned in Salem, as their ancestor was in the show , and I maintained my studies on the subject on and off in the near two decades since.Lyons has apparently done his research as well I love that he does not blame the young girls for how crazy things became in the town during those few months of 1692 that completely changed the ideas of religion and politics for North America in the following years Too many sources I ve read have tried to make the girls malicious or downgrade their hysteria into merely working after the whims of their parents guardians What was happening to them felt very real and while the group hysteria was building, so was the mental trauma on these young girls As the Doctor himself states at one point, There were indeed witches in Salem the witches were present but they were created by the very people afraid of them Rebecca Nurse is given particular prominence among the innocents who were tried and executed in the paranoia that was circulating, and I actually shed a tear at the Doctor s actions that he undertook at the end of the novel trying to refrain from giving too many spoilers here I also greatly enjoyed how Lyons worked in former adventures of the era to give the reader not only an idea of when in the time line the adventures are taking place, but also as a means of showing character development Barbara understands Susan because of her own desires she attempted to address in The Aztecs, and she understands the Doctor s misgivings about Susan s wishes for the same reason Plus, extra points for the mention of The Crucible and how it is not an accurate portrayal what happened in Salem.All in all, a wonderful novel both in DW terms and in nerdy historian terms A great dive back into DW mythos for one who has been away from the extended universe of the series for quite some time Hopefully, I can adventure somewith this group again soon Now, for all the years I have been reading Doctor Who novels this one has always been recommended to me by fellow readers saying this is one of the greatest Who Novels of all time, but I will be honest I ve kind of put this one off because I use to not like pure historicals all that much but as I ve grown older I ve grown to enjoy this different style of story in the show, so at long last, I finally decided to give this a read And it was outstanding A well researched pure historical with a very Now, for all the years I have been reading Doctor Who novels this one has always been recommended to me by fellow readers saying this is one of the greatest Who Novels of all time, but I will be honest I ve kind of put this one off because I use to not like pure historicals all that much but as I ve grown older I ve grown to enjoy this different style of story in the show, so at long last, I finally decided to give this a read And it was outstanding A well researched pure historical with a very bleak atmosphere and the feeling of hopelessness, as we see not just our main characters put through hell because of the superstitions of the time, but also characters we grow to love throughout the course of this story This is a huge character piece for Susan too as we see her trying to change the course of history in order to save the lives of those she grew to love in her time at Salem Village, but paying the price in her efforts We also get a different side of The 1st Doctor in this where he has to do something shocking in order to preserve history but also facing the guilt of that action Overall This was a brilliant novel that overwhelmed me with plenty of emotions from fear to hatred of the actions from some of the characters, with a feeling of hopelessness, but absolutely thrilled all the same 10 10 |Download ☨ Doctor Who: Witch Hunters: The History Collection ☹ With the Doctor wanting to repair the TARDIS in peace and quiet, Barbara, Ian and Susan decide to get some experience of living in the nearby village of Salem But the Doctor knows about the horrors destined to engulf the village and determines that they should leaveHis friends are not impressed His granddaughter Susan has her own ideas, and is desperate to return, whatever the cost But perhaps the Doctor was right Perhaps Susan s actions will lead them all into terrible danger and cause the tragedy that is already unfolding to escalate out of control An adventure set in the th century Salem Witch Trials, featuring the First Doctor as played by William Hartnell and his companions Susan, Ian, and Barbara Books involving the Daleks aside, this is the best Doctor Who book I ve read to date Brilliantly written and pretty brutal and dark for a Doctor Who book A real treat. I think this is the best Doctor Who novel I ve read, though, admittedly, I ve not read that many But first and foremost, it captures the 1st Doctor and his first companions completely I could just picture this in black and white, with the Doctor, Ian, Barbara, and Susan I also love this as a pure history no aliens, etc., just the ugliness of seventeenth century America humans There are some bits wherein it s difficult to follow the time stream of the story, this is not necessary told li I think this is the best Doctor Who novel I ve read, though, admittedly, I ve not read that many But first and foremost, it captures the 1st Doctor and his first companions completely I could just picture this in black and white, with the Doctor, Ian, Barbara, and Susan I also love this as a pure history no aliens, etc., just the ugliness of seventeenth century America humans There are some bits wherein it s difficult to follow the time stream of the story, this is not necessary told linear ly But I think the ending makes it worth it, and the debate of whether the Doctor can change historyI also learned a lot about the Salem history and enjoyed the technical explanation of hysteria This is a definite recommend for any Doctor Who fans, especially those who enjoy classic Who They do a great job of picking out some of the better old stories for the audio books This one is a first Doctor historical and I absolutely love It s very light on action but very heavy on character The story reveals an inexperienced Doctor who still has doubts about meddling with established history and even a morbid determination to defend it It s hard to go into details without getting spoilery but the story raises the question of how much of the established history is the way it is beca They do a great job of picking out some of the better old stories for the audio books This one is a first Doctor historical and I absolutely love It s very light on action but very heavy on character The story reveals an inexperienced Doctor who still has doubts about meddling with established history and even a morbid determination to defend it It s hard to go into details without getting spoilery but the story raises the question of how much of the established history is the way it is because of the TARDIS crew Would things have been different had they not shown up Where they destined to show up Lots of good stuff to think about in this one The story is dark, dark, dark Not the gritty we re gonna cuss and throw in drug and sex references kind of dark you sometimes get in the VNA s, but a psychological and depravity of the human soul kind of dark The entire TARDIS crew ends up stuggling with their own personal demons over the course of the book including a startling revelation of how far a young Doctor will go to protect history.A very dark and emotional tale with great characters I greatly enjoyed it.One point I did not like, however, was the narration I did not care for David Collings style at all He had a way of making all the characters sound like creepy grandparents and the way he stresses syllables can be off putting For example, in some cases he makes the work god almost sound like 2 syllables