Ever since the War Doctor (or the Other Doctor, or the Predator, or the Renegade, or whatever we want to call him), was introduced last year, fans have been wondering just who he is. What was this man like, who seemed so similar to the Doctor we know and love, yet apparently was very, very different? Now we get a glimpse at what this man was all about.
Doctor Who: Engines of War starts off on a distant planet, where a young woman, nicknamed Cinder, is fighting back against the Daleks. The rebellion isn’t going well, and she’s about to be killed by one of the Daleks, when the Doctor’s TARDIS crash-lands and saves her. From that point, Cinder and the Doctor travel together, trying to unearth the secrets of a new Dalek weapon and save…well, therein lies the conflict. For the Doctor can save the Time Lords, but in doing so would be allowing them to commit a great crime. His moral dilemma forms the crux of the story.
I very much enjoyed this tale. It helps that I’m very fond of the old series, so I recognized many of the references (“The Five Doctors” in particular is heavily referenced), but I suspect even new series fans who have never seen an episode of the old series will be able to keep up just fine. I also appreciated the connections between the new series and old. Having an appearance by a certain Lord President of dubious character was quite fun, especially as he’s still wearing a glove I like to refer to as “The Hand of Omega”, but probably isn’t.
As for drawbacks, well, there really weren’t any, aside from the fact that I was left wanting more. This story is clearly supposed to be the War Doctor’s last adventure before the events we saw in “The Day of the Doctor”, and so I do hope someone at some point goes back and fills in more blanks. It would be lovely if Big Finish were able to do so, but failing that, more novels would be great.
A good story all around and one that I highly recommend.