On the morning of 9 May 1984, Peri woke up. She was expecting
to spend the day relaxing on Lanzarote and, that evening,
leave her mother and stepfather to go travelling with some
guys she'd only just met. But things don't always go as expected
- as her friends and family discover when, four months later,
she returns home having travelled further than anyone could
have imagined. Meanwhile her friend, Katherine Chambers, mourns
her father, and Peri finds herself meeting some other familiar
I was never very happy with the way in which Perpugilliam
Brown exited the television series in 1986. Apparently assassinated
during The Trial of a Time Lord, we are later told
that she in fact married the alien warrior king Yrcanos. Not
only are these events shrouded in uncertainty, in terms of
which incidents are true and which mere falsifications for
the purposes of the Doctor's trial, but I couldn't really
see the life of a warrior queen as a fitting or satisfying
fate for the young botanist.
other narratives, such as Colin Baker's comic strip The
Age of Chaos and Matthew Jones's New Adventures
novel Bad Therapy, have attempted to redress the balance
in their various ways, Joseph Lidster's The Reaping
finally gives Peri (Nicola Bryant) the homecoming she deserves
- though by necessity it can only be a temporary one. Here
at last we meet her mother Janine (Babylon 5's Claudia
Christian), her friends and the eccentric Mrs Van Gysegham
(Denise Bryer), whom Janine met on Lanzarote (as mentioned
in Planet of Fire).
learn that Peri's stepfather Howard is no longer on the scene,
though there is no hint of the sexual abuse that Simon A Forward
and Craig Hinton suggested in their respective novels Shell
Shock and SynthespiansTM.
Peri even appears to feel sympathy for her stepfather, muttering
the words "Poor Howard", though this might just be to keep
the truth hidden from her friend Kathy (Jane Perry).
companion's brief homecoming is evidently inspired by the
frequent return visits made by Rose Tyler in the new television
series. Gone are the days in which assistants would happily
leave home forever with nary a thought for those they leave
behind. Like Jackie Tyler in the television show, Janine is
concerned for her daughter's safety and notices how Peri's
travels have changed her.
Fans of the new series may be a little disappointed to hear
that the Cybermen do not utter their current catchphrase,
"Delete", though, as with the new-style monsters, we do get
to hear their clanking footsteps. The writer works in other
Cyber-catchphrases from throughout their history, including
"You will be like us", "Excellent" and "There is nothing to
fear" (the last from Big Finish's Cyberman series).
Like the Borg in Star Trek, these Cybermen are obsessed
with perfection and have apparently developed the means to
convert people with a simple injection. These are advanced
Cybermen from the future, so the depiction of a 1980s model
on the front cover is perhaps a little misleading.
aside, though, there are plenty of benefits to be reaped from
this intriguing and atmospheric Sixth Doctor/Peri/Cyber-adventure.
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