Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Who Reviews Sting of the Zygons Book Review by DJ Forrest

Sting of the Zygons

By DJ Forrest

Written by Stephen Cole
BBC Books
Published 2007

There’s something so deliciously enjoyable about a Zygon story, that far outweighs anything written about Cybermen, or indeed the Daleks. Even though, all the dastardly of beings, creatures, monsters all have one thing in mind – world domination.

What I love about the Zygons, is their shapeshifting abilities. I mean, who’d have thought, that out of all the creatures on this Earth, that they would adopt the template of a mere bovine – a grazer of the fields. So, while the Doctor is busy prattling away to what he thinks is a harmless milk machine, he isn’t, and that’s what makes it fun.

This is the third time I’ve read Sting of the Zygons, and I knew the cows meant something important after the first read, but I couldn’t remember which one in the story bore any significance. I’m not giving you the plot, although with many these are fairly obvious after the first few pages of the first chapter.

The Doctor and Martha Jones have arrived in the Lake District in 1909, where the Beast of Westmorland is terrorising the local villages, dealing a hefty blow to the buildings, and a ghostly image of a little girl called Molly Melton, is seen across the land, just before terror strikes.
King Edward VII offers a knighthood for the capture of the Beast.

The Beast itself reminds me of the Doctor’s earlier encounter with the Zygons, with Tom Baker and that hideous creature that towered above a house, and for the best part of when the Beast is roaming the countryside, making a hell of a racket with its screaming, that’s all I can picture. Given that my initial thinking of the Beast of Westmorland was akin to the Puma sightings on Bodmin Moor, but this Beast is somewhat bigger than this – much, much bigger.

The cast are superb in this story. You have the rich, with their invested interests in capturing the beast, with hunting parties and motor cars which are real bone shakers, and never let the 10th Doctor drive. Although we know he can drive, it’s clear he took lessons from The Stig!

There are horse drawn carriages, and the Zygons are really keen to grab whatever is inside them. There are some Zygons you feel sorry for, in fact there’s quite a few, plus the usual nasty ones which you really hope don’t make it to the end, or if they do, they meet either the wrath of the Time Lord or the mighty big beast.

There are some surprises too in the story. Mrs Unsworth, who sounds like a jolly B&B owner who cooks mighty big breakfasts, and likes watching moving pictures, and is quite handy with a frying pan, as a weapon. I’d forgotten about her. Not forgotten about the prim Nanny, most definitely not Nanny McPhee but I could imagine her quite well as a strict school teacher used to dishing out castor oil by the tablespoon!

All in all, Sting of the Zygons is a bloody good read and I’d recommend it to anyone who fancies a change from the usual tin pot enemies who we all love but often need a change from the norm.

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