Wolfsbane was published at an interesting time for the BBC Books. Though it was 2003, the new series was yet to be announced and interest had waned to the point that the Eight Doctor novels and those featuring past Doctors were dancing a by-monthly publication waltz. In addition, it was felt that Eighth’s adventures had reached their narrative limit (something I’m aware of through reputation, rumour and reviews in the party newsletter) and some thought was being put into how stories could continue with the character but set within the existing series, fitting in to story arcs which had already been established, presumably the lost- Sam arc, the Faction Paradox shuffle and the Time War One.
This Earth bound arc too (or whatever its called) was seen as fertile ground, since the original underlying linking idea of setting each of the stories during the period of a major conflict still left gaps in the timelord’s story, plenty of hints but nothing definitive. Since the main story was still ongoing, the decision was made to produce a past Doctor novel, but have the characters interact with this earlier version of Eighth to see if reader interest was that solid. With the commissioning of the new series and the curtailing of this version of the book series, it all became a mute point and the only other past Eighth Doctor novel ended up being Nick Wallace’s Fear Itself, which I’ll be reading in the new order soon.
At the weekend, Steven Moffat, our incumbent president was fielding the usual questions about whether he’d bring back the Daleks, if David was doing the fifth series, who River Song is and what his vision will be and in the middle there was the inevitable question about a multiple Doctor story. He said that the problem with writing these stories is that beyond eight minutes of bickering it’s very difficult to write a coherent story and that the best way to do it would be to have one Doctor dealing with the consequences of another’s actions. I can't seem to find a link to where I'd read he said that but in any case, he’s right (again) even if he didn't say it in those terms.
Looking at just the television stories, you either end up telling the same story five times or render one of the Doctors, usually the guest star, insensible. Jac Raynor’s Wolfsbane takes parts of each of these approaches in order to collect the Fourth and Eighth Doctors together in the same tale and how much you enjoy the results, rather like EJEST and colonic irrigation depends on what mood you’re in. And since we do have this innovative spoiler shield and because I want to be horrendously spoilerish and do that thing I usually find really annoying in reviews of basically writing a synopsis, you can carry on reading below either if you’ve already enjoyed the adventure or don’t care too much and just want to see what a big chunk of prose looks like.