The Pirate Loop
By DJ Forrest
Written by Simon Guerrier
For BBC Books
I was expecting a jolly good read of pirates and the high seas, so I guess, I shouldn’t have been too disappointed in that, but I was. Although looking back on it, a few weeks after I initially put pen to paper to write my review, seeing badgers as pirates, would have been nothing unusual, when, if you think about it, I’ve been enjoying the pursuits of a raccoon bandit in Guardians of the Galaxy.
The Doctor and Martha visit the star ship Brilliant at least a week before it vanishes without a trace, to find out what had caused that to happen. They discover a ballroom full of 8 legged creatures who enjoy the high life a little too much, and aren’t afraid, at first, to air their opinions at being controlled by a bunch of Badger faced bandits, there to steal the experimental drive in the engine room.
When Martha and the Doctor first arrive, they encounter creatures without mouths, which I could only envisage as creatures from Monsters Inc (now who’s being a child?). They at first look menacing, but then I suppose if you don’t have a mouth, it would be as frustrating, or creepy as if you wore only a mask - no facial expression.
The Badger faced pirates (not bandits are caught up in some kind of space fugg that stops them advancing onboard the ship, unlike three who manage to land before the scrambled egg stuff blocks the rest of the fleet. They can’t attack the ship, unlike the first three, so don’t reap the rewards of finger foods, unlike Archibald, who learns that cheese and pineapple on sticks is the best thing he’s ever tasted. However, when his comrades locate him, it’s a different story, they become menacing and shoot at the prisoners they’ve now collected. And this is where the story bends – people don’t die. It’s as if the ship is protecting them, resetting the game play, restocking plates of food, sending people back to the start, but it only happens when you take your eye off the game.
Of course, when poor Martha is stabbed by Archie, and promptly dies, she doesn’t come back to the ballroom like the 8 legged creatures. In fact, she doesn’t come back at all, and Archie feels terrible.
The Doctor is hell bent on finding out what happened to her, is overjoyed when he does, and sets about trying to fathom why things happen the way they do onboard the ship, and more to the point, where the crew are, who leave the prisoners, I mean, guests, to their own devices.
Although I have reservations with the story, it is still quite entertaining. There are plenty of characters to keep you amused, and many to root for, even those you wouldn’t have considered rooting for in the first instance. Of course, the ending is a little lame, but then, it depends on how you like your endings. I found it too clean, to easily wound up, too much like ‘…and they all lived happily ever after.’
I’ve heard great things about Simon Guerrier, so I’m hoping the next novel of his I read, will keep me entertained till the end, instead of searching for a teleport out of the good ship Brilliant!