Dalek Empire 4:
Project Infinity

Starring: Gareth Thomas and Mark McDonnell
Big Finish Productions
RRP 9.99
ISBN 1 903654 40 8, BFPCDDE04
Available now

Caught off guard by a massive revolt among the slaves on their many conquered worlds, the Daleks are in retreat from the Milky Way galaxy - or so it would appear. Kalendorf is not convinced that things are quite as simple as that...

As we reach the conclusion to this mini-series, it becomes clear that the Daleks (and writer Nicholas Briggs) have devised their most audacious scheme to date - bigger even than their conquest of an entire galaxy in The Apocalypse Element.

Talking of elements, I had to smile when I heard the Daleks discussing their possession of the "element of surprise". Where did they mine that element, then? It's odd to hear these creatures describing such a human concept!

The Daleks' latest master plan might ring a few bells with readers of Doctor Who Magazine, as it bears a certain similarity to an early Eighth Doctor comic strip called Fire and Brimstone. On this occasion the Daleks are dealt a different, though equally satisfying, kind of poetic justice - one that will presumably lead into Big Finish's follow-up series, Dalek War.

The malevolent pepperpots also borrow a few ideas from Davros' faction of Daleks (either that, or Davros will one day gain inspiration from these events, depending on your personal view of Dalek history). They deploy numerous Special Weapons Daleks (as seen in Remembrance of the Daleks) and plan to swell their ranks by similar means to those employed on the planet Necros (in Revelation of the Daleks).

There is less human interaction here than in previous instalments, although Alby (Mark McDonnell) has to come to terms with a personal loss. This is more of an action movie conveyed in sound, with the various converging plot strands moving inexorably toward their stunning climax. The ending is so abrupt that it had me checking my CD player for faults, but it certainly left me hungry for more.

Richard McGinlay