ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

"Engines of War" Expands "Doctor Who" Lore, But Not the Doctor

Updated on July 5, 2015
The cover of the audiobook, as narrated by Nicholas Briggs.
The cover of the audiobook, as narrated by Nicholas Briggs. | Source
Author: George Mann
Publishers: BBC and Broadway Books
Formats: traditional, electronic
Length: 322 pages

Ever since the success of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, other franchises have taken advantage of this trend. "Doctor Who" is no different, providing a range of new series adventures through BBC Books, though Americans will read reprints through Broadway.

"Engines of War," is product of George Mann, whose work largely delves into genre fiction, including the Newbury & Hobbs series as well as 2011's Doctor Who novel, "Paradox Lost." Mann's qualifications made him an extremely safe choice for this expansion of John Hurt's War Doctor, an obscure incarnation of the titular character that appeared in only three official episodes of the TV show.

"Engines of War" excerpt, as narrated by a fan.

The novel boasts as being one of the few pieces of Whovian literature taking place during the Great Time War, a conflict so cataclysmic that it signaled the end of the Time Lords and the defeat of the Daleks, forming a basis for the revived show's modern direction. Rarely explored on the show, it is a time of great intrigue, not only for the Whoniverse, but the Doctor himself, who has been advertised as a general of sorts to be reckoned with; a stark departure from the British icon who prefers screwdrivers over guns.

Sadly, the novel boasts none of that, presenting an all too familiar formula for the duration of the book: the Doctor crash lands on an alien planet (Moldox), befriends a local (Cinder), and uncovers a hideous plot by alien invaders (the Daleks). The Doctor handles the war like he would any other adventure, though Mann does give pretext as to why; a disagreement with Gallifrey has isolated him from Time Lord help, something common in the classic series.

John Hurt's incarnation of the Doctor first appeared in 2013's "The Name of the Doctor" and has since starred in a handful of TV episodes, comics, and novels.
John Hurt's incarnation of the Doctor first appeared in 2013's "The Name of the Doctor" and has since starred in a handful of TV episodes, comics, and novels. | Source

Where this novel shines is its truth and expansion of the classic lore, which in many cases, hasn't been touched since the original series wrapped up. Mann brings new life to nostalgia locations such as the Death Zone and Rassilon's Tower, as well as bringing back old villains like former Lord President Borusa and Rassilon, who serve to perpetuate the conflict.

If this were any other Doctor, I'd find this tale to be fantastic, and as a one-off adventure nearing the end of the War Doctor's life cycle it is. However, it fails to live up to satisfy audience expectations by keeping all the yummy bits of the Time War off limits, though it was nice to finally see the oft-mentioned Tantalus Eye.

The War Doctor stands trial for his actions during the war.
The War Doctor stands trial for his actions during the war. | Source

Hopefully future forays into the Time War can illuminate to what lengths the War Doctor suffered to truly reject the name "doctor," though that is unlikely if BBC keeps hiring writers like Mann. What makes this version of the Doctor so specially is how radically different he is from the other incarnations, yet still retains the very basic moral codes each version lives by, and as of yet that difference is yet to be seen.

The book is by no means bad. it's just more of what we've already seen on the show, with a few Time War elements slapped in here and there. It by no means provides a radically different experience a War Doctor adventure should have, which is a shame considering how authentic the novel is to the John Hurt portrayal and how original a companion Cinder is (think Cass had she gotten more screen time). Mann gets the small things absolutely right but his overall narrative structure by no means touches the crux of the Time War, or the engines that allowed it to manifest across the galaxy. Until the War Doctor gets a solid collection of his own adventures, I'll have recommend BBC's 8th Doctor books for fans wishing to explore this period in Whovian history.


3 stars for Doctor Who: Engines of War

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)