Doctor Who: The Crystal Bucephalus by Craig Hinton

khourianya's review against another edition

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The Crystal Bucephalus is book 4 in the Missing Adventures series of Doctor Who novels. This one features the fifth doctor with his companions Tegan and Turlough. They suddenly find themselves inside the most exclusive restaurant in the galaxies, The Crystal Bucephalus. You see, the Crystal Bucephalus is no ordinary restaurant. It is a restaurant capable of opening time portals to the best restaurants throughout history. The exclusive guest list can eat anywhere and anytime on the Cartes des Locales (the restaurant list). It isn't a time machine, per se, but it is the closest thing outside of Time Lord technology.

At the exact moment that the Doctor shows up, a murder happens in one of the locations and, because of his timing, the Doctor and his companions are instantly seen as culprits...until the Doctor reveals his secret - he is actually the financial backer of the establishment and it would not be in his best interests to cause a murder there.

A mystery to solve and a love triangle to navigate as the three physicists, who built the technology the place is based on, work through their own complicated relationship. Throw a couple of powerful entities into the mix and you could have one helluva complicated and messy story or one helluvan adventure.

I'd actually say the book is both. At times it felt incredibly long. Like the story just wouldn't get to the point and then, suddenly, it would move on into another angle. I enjoyed the adventure, but it would have been nice if it had been a bit more formulaic. WOW, did I just say that? But it's true - in books like these, they are supposed to be almost like harlequin romances for geeks. Quick and semi-predictable with a few surprises. This one was like a feature length film. It covered a lot and the story roamed all over the place. BUT in the end - it wraps up nicely and the Doctor and sail off into the Time Vortex with his friends. Then again - I guess that kind of IS Doctor Who in a nutshell. I would call it a win.

nwhyte's review

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I had been puzzling over the title of this Fifth Doctor novel since I first heard of it; what gadget could conceivably be made of crystal and also named for Alexander the Great's horse? As it transpires there is a double explanation: there is a crystal statue of the horse, which turns out to have extra powers, but also the statue is located in a restaurant named after it. Rather oddly the Doctor turns out to be the owner of both statue and restaurant. Lots of similarly wacky (or wackier) nomenclature in the book, not all of which completely gels, though enough does to keep one going; I loved the idea of the Lazarus Intent, a religion combining a garbled Christianity with the monsters of the Whoniverse, and am impressed that Hilton found something useful to do with Kamelion.

nukirisame's review

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lighthearted relaxing slow-paced
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


markk's review

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In humanity's 10th millennium the Crystal Bucephalus is a technological marvel: a restaurant that transports its elite patrons back in time and space so as to allow them to dine in the most culinarily famous places in history. When the head of the galaxy's main criminal syndicate is assassinated while eating there, the Doctor, Tegan, and Turlough are wrenched from the past and accused as his murderers. As they are drawn into the investigation, they find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy involving the kidnapping of a religious leader, dueling temporal scientists, and the efforts of a megalomaniac to cheat death and take over the universe in one fell swoop.

I must confess that I approached this book with a degree of ambivalence, as the idea of reading a Doctor Who novel that was premised on a minor gimmick adapted from Douglas Adams wasn't appealing to me. Yet while the idea of time traveling diners is one that can seem excessively ridiculous, Craig Hinton uses it to build one of the most breathtakingly ambitious novels in the Virgin Missing Adventures series. Key to this is his integration of time travel into the plot, which instead of being employed simply to transport the Doctor and his companions to some exotic locale is used as the main driver of events. These unfold over the course of the book to reveal a story of impressive complexity, albeit one dependent on hiding key details until late in the book in order to maintain a sense of mystery. This is a minor complaint, though, when weighed against Hinton's success in providing a multilayered adventure that comes together in an exciting conclusion to rank as among the best Doctor Who novels that I have read so far.

hammard's review

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I was hopeful for this one but it turned out to be pretty boring. Trying to an Adams-seque story at the end of Season 20, but without any of the skill and far too much fannish-ness. I had to force myself to finish.