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Audio Book Review


The Sarah Jane Adventures
The White Wolf


Author: Gary Russell
Read by: Elisabeth Sladen
BBC Audio
RRP: £5.87 (CD), £6.60 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 4084 2668 5
Available 08 October 2009

When Sarah Jane receives a strange letter from Eddison Clough, her curiosity is aroused. For Eddison possesses a photograph proving he was once close friends with her Aunt Lavinia - but he has no memory of ever having met her. Intrigued, Sarah Jane and Luke go to visit him, and with Clyde and Rani they explore the village of Wolfenden. The locals seem strange and secretive - especially the Hendricks, a deadly pale family with white hair and white eyes. What is lurking in the underground caves; what is the significance of the White Wolf carved on the hillside; and what does it all have to do with alien abduction...?

Sarah Jane Smith is back on BBC One! So is the Tenth Doctor! And to cash in on the excitement, BBC Audio has released two exclusive-to-audio books featuring Sarah Jane (of which this, of course, is one) and one featuring the Tenth Doctor.

As usual, Sarah Jane herself, Elisabeth Sladen, narrates this one-hour single-disc release, doing a decent job of capturing the speech patterns of her co-stars, Tommy Knight (Luke), Daniel Anthony (Clyde) and Anjli Mohindra (Rani) - though Clyde and Rani don’t get as much to do in this tale.

Author Gary Russell takes the characters on a welcome trip out of the city and into the countryside. He throws us straight into the story with a gripping flash-forward in his pre-credits teaser (which bears a passing resemblance to the teaser to the Series 3 storyline The Mad Woman in the Attic). From there, he piles mysteries on top of enigmas, including memory loss, alien abduction and a giant hill carving.

During the latter half of the CD, the plot gets somewhat over-complicated, and mystery gives way to confusion, but Russell certainly managed to defy my expectations as to how things would pan out. For example, I initially thought Rani had amnesia, then later on I theorised that the amnesiacs were prematurely revived alien sleepers, none of which is true (select the preceding text to read the spoilers).

I’m not sure that we ever do discover the significance of the White Wolf carved on the hillside, but given the price (curiously the CD is cheaper than the download), there’s no reason why you shouldn’t wolf this adventure straight down.


Richard McGinlay

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