Silhouette marks one of the first outings for the 12th Doctor in novel form. In this adventure, our time travelling, Tardis owning hero finds himself in Victorian England with his companion, Clara.
Any Who adventure set in the swarthy dark streets of Victoriana is sure to be of dark plots, deceitful characters and delightful detail and this novel certainly does not disappoint. The plot, which is intricately woven and immensely detailed is complemented to perfection by the setting which in itself provides a copious amount of intrigue to the story.
Reminiscent of other period detective style novels such as Philip Pullman’s Sally Lockhart Mysteries, Silhouette masterfully ingratiates the Doctor and his companion into the setting and plot. Richards does an excellent job of foregrounding Clara’s involvement in the central action of the novel and utilising the interesting character of Madame Vastra ‘the world’s greatest detective’ who it is revealed is flawed, at times a hindrance to the solving of the mystery and therefore in need of help from the visitors from the future. These characters are drawn well and seem to echo their on screen counterparts however, the enigmatic Doctor, so little known on screen also remains something of a mystery in the novel. Perhaps this has to do with the fact that the action in the novel was largely surrendered to Clara or perhaps because the 12th Doctor is still a character under development in the television series.
Knowing that Richards is an experienced Who writer, it becomes clear that he is well used to crafting the complexities of plot and dichotomies of time travel and the merging of two time periods and this is skilfully executed in the novel. The richly detailed world of the novel and the multi-faceted plot certainly make this an absorbing Victorian adventure. It’ll be interesting to see where else the 12th Doctor will travel…
A great read for any fans of Doctor Who’s time travelling capers.