December Books 5) Dancing The Code, by Paul Leonard

One of the earlier Virgin Missing Adventures, which piqued my interest when I realised that a substantial chunk of the plot revolves around a conflict bordering Morocco and Algeria, a situation to which I have a professional connection. However there’s one important difference – Leonard’s fictional country of Kebiria is on the Mediterranean coast rather than the Atlantic. The plot is actually rather similar to the last Eighth Doctor novel I read, in that actors in a local conflict find that they have potential alien allies, but those alien allies actually have their own agenda. But I liked it a lot more, partly because setting a story like this in the firm anchorage of the Third Doctor and Jo Grant UNIT era gives Leonard a good stock cast for this sort of thing, all of whom he does well by (apart from Yates who is unsalvageable anyway), and also partly because his aliens do a neat line in dopplegangers, which I always enjoy, and body-horror, which I like when it’s done right. Last month’s set of vintage Who novels didn’t really do it for me, but this month’s are off to a good start.