This year, before we get Series 11, I’m going back in time thanks to Big Finish, to review the Eighth Doctor Adventures, following the story of (unsurprisingly) the Eighth Doctor and Lucie Miller. Today, I’ll be reviewing No More Lies by Paul S. Sutton.
What links a disintegrating spaceship to a posh garden party, where a wealthy couple are celebrating their love for each other in style? Gatecrashers the Doctor and Lucie think they know the answer. But they’re not the only uninvited guests – ferocious alien warriors riding pterodactyl-like Vortisaurs are about to make their entrance!
No More Lies ends, what I unofficially call, the Old Couple on The Cover Trilogy of stories in this first series of Eighth Doctor Adventures. It started with Immortal Beloved, then onto Phobos, and ends with No More Lies. There’s no through line in this trilogy that I’ve constructed; I just like the fact the covers all involve old couples.
The old couple in question is Rachel and Nick, and it’s Rachel’s birthday today. (Happy birthday Rachel!) It seems that her and her family are having quite a sedate party to celebrate. Of course, it’s not going to stay sedate for very long.
Meanwhile, the Doctor and Lucie are having an adventure of their own, being hunted down by Zimmerman, some malevolent force. The relationship between the Doctor and Lucie has properly bloomed by this release; there’s rather a lot of flirting going on, and Lucie seems to be thriving in her role as companion. The fact that there are these indeterminate amount of times between their Big Finish adventures is a godsend, as it means that there’s always chance in the future to go back and fill these bits in. (That is, if Sheridan and Paul aren’t too busy being megastars nowadays.)
Surprisingly, it’s not until about halfway through the story that the Doctor and Lucie arrive on Earth to gatecrash Rachel’s party. I honestly thought that it would have been a lot sooner, especially when you only have around an hour to tell a story; although I have to admit that it was nice to hear the Doctor and Lucie have a bit of a romp beforehand.
Once the Doctor and Lucie have successfully found their way into the party though, things get very timey-wimey indeed. It’s nice to have a story that focusses more on the effects of time travel rather than using it as a commodity for a story; and Lucie’s reaction is absolutely priceless when she learns about exactly what’s going on.
The concept of the main story itself is really interesting. Zimmerman was on the run from the Doctor and Lucie, seemingly crashed on Earth and then, thirty years later, the Doctor and Lucie find themselves in a time loop with Zimmerman at it’s heart. It’s a great mystery in the sense that you’re never really sure why this time loop happened, what caused it, or what will break it; but Paul S. Sutton manages to pepper in little hints throughout to give you something to go on. It’s a nice little mystery, and I’m sure there’ll be some misdirection thrown in for good measure.
During the final act, there’s a lot of “action” going on (well as much action as you can have with a couple of elderly people), which is a really nice juxtaposition of the rest of the story. Oh, and there’s pterodactyls now too. Well, more like time-pterodactyls actually. Jurassic Park meets Doctor Who.
Personally, if I have one criticism of No More Lies, it’s probably that it seemingly suffers from what I call The Power of Three syndrome; where there’s an extremely interesting premise, which is explored for the majority of the episode, but then there’s a villain introduced near the end which is defeated all too quickly and leaves you wondering “why?”. Don’t get me wrong, I think No More Lies is a brilliant story, but I just wonder if it would have worked without there having to be a ‘big bad’ in the final act.
The ending of No More Lies is rather emotional, I will admit. It didn’t get the tears flowing, but that’s probably because I don’t feel like we got to know the characters enough. If No More Lies was able to be an extra half an hour, or even a two-part episode, I suspect that the tragedy would have been much more hard hitting.
Saying that though, it seems that there’s a second ending to this story, with a plot thread that’s been teased throughout the series seemingly coming to a head. Lucie Miller has been kidnapped, the Doctor is seemingly trapped, and the Headhunter has finally got what she wanted.
Overall, No More Lies is an extremely well written timey-wimey tale that doesn’t quite use the idea of a time loop to it’s full potential. I’ll be honest, when I saw the cover, I expected this to be quite a bland story, however I was sorely mistaken. It only goes to prove that you should never judge a(n audio)book by it’s cover.
Should you want to purchase No More Lies, it’s currently available from Big Finish here for £8.99 for the download, or £10.99 for the CD.