REVIEW: The Wheel of Ice audiobook

The Wheel Of Ice audiobook
Read by David Troughton
Out now

Read the Blogtor Who review of The Wheel of Ice novel HERE.

Review by Nicholas Fraser

David Troughton IS The Doctor! This audio adaptation of Stephen Baxter’s book, already an authentic slice of base-under-siege Who is brought vividly to life by the splendid efforts of Troughton The Younger.

He perfectly captures the vocal mannerisms of his father’s portrayal [that's Patrick Troughton, the Second Doctor, in case anyone was confused or living on the Moon - Ed.] of the wandering timelord, at times to almost eerie effect. This is greatly to the benefit of this recording, being an unabridged version of what is very much a slow-burning tale. Whilst the pacing of this adventure can at times verge on the glacial, this allows David Troughton’s room to develop his interpretation of the TARDIS crew and the various characters populating the Wheel of Ice.

The gradual ratcheting up of the sense of menace emanating from the story’s protagonists, the machinations of the damaged yet powerful Arkive creature at the centre of the Mnemosyne moon and her inhuman array of blue dolls and soldiers – all are greatly enhanced by the soundtrack accompanying the story.

David Troughton in Midnight
Each of the eight discs comprising the audiobook is topped and tailed by the classic, late Sixties, swirled-up version of the theme tune, and the bursts of incidental music interspersed throughout the discs help to set the scene of the endangered frontier base, surrounded by the deep cold vacuum of space.

David Troughton ensures that his reading imbues each member of the cast of this story with a defined and distinct character. Significantly for a story of such length, there’s never a jarring sense of an accent going wrong or overstaying its welcome. And throughout, his interpretation of his father’s version of The Doctor remains an unalloyed delight.

Having read the book before enjoying the audio, I had concerns about how a narrator would cope with the Scottish accents of Jamie, and the Mnemosyne maintenance robot, MACC. I needn’t have worried: Troughton is a skilled narrator, avoiding the pitfalls of the exaggerated regional accent.

If I were to be pressed for a criticism of this CD boxset, it would be that this is perhaps a story which in audio format might have benefited from some abridgement. However given that it’s not produced as an abridged version of the book, I might as well offer criticism of a Dalek for having too many bumps. It’s simply designed that way.

This audio set is ideal material for lifting the listener out of the mundanity of the daily commute and flinging them out into orbit around Saturn.

Thanks to AudioGO
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