The Sarah Jane Adventures
The Glittering Storm

Author: Stephen Cole
Read by: Elisabeth Sladen
BBC Audio
RRP: £5.99
ISBN: 978 1 4056 7824 7
Available 05 November 2007

When Sarah Jane Smith disturbs a burglar in the night, she is surprised to find a middle-aged woman, pockets stuffed with jewellery, demanding gold. The next day, she reads a newspaper story about a granny who broke into a jeweller’s shop. Then Maria reports that a woman has been stealing rings and necklaces from the girls’ changing room at school. All the women had recently attended the Auriga Clinic, a private health centre specialising in treating muscular aches and pains. Is there a link between the clinic and the odd behaviour of its patients? Sarah Jane decides to find out, but she soon discovers that the clinic’s secret agenda is grander and more sinister than she could ever have imagined...

This single-CD release is the first in a new series of audio books based on the CBBC Doctor Who spin-off. It’s also the very first time that BBC Audiobooks has commissioned new content for exclusive release on audio, as opposed to adapting a previously published print novel. It is read by Sarah Jane herself, Elisabeth Sladen, and penned by prolific Who author Stephen Cole.

“My first memories of Doctor Who are of poor Sarah stuck in a ventilator shaft back in 1975,” explains Cole on the press release, “so I jumped at the chance to write a story for Lis Sladen. She is a fantastic actor with a wonderful voice, and Sarah Jane is a marvellous character. With The Glittering Storm, I aimed to provide a story with creepy scares - as well as humour and thrills - in the vein of the new TV series.”

He certainly succeeds in capturing that important element of humour, which is particularly prevalent whenever Clyde is on the scheme. The author makes no assumptions about the listener’s knowledge of the series. He has Sarah, the first-person narrator, introduce us to all the show’s aspects and characters as the story unfolds. Sladen gives a spirited reading of this engaging adventure.

The plot recycles a couple of elements from recent Who-related novels and audio books. Cole was similarly fascinated by gold in his Tenth Doctor book The Art of Destruction, whereas a seemingly miraculous clinic that proved too good to be true was also the basis of Andy Lane’s Torchwood novel Slow Decay.

That aside, this audio book is a glittering success.

Richard McGinlay

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