Prowlers in Perrivelle:
A review of “At Childhood’s End” by Sophie Aldred
In many ways, Dorothy “Ace” McShane, the Seventh Doctor companion in the late 80s, was the prototype of the companions we started getting when the show was brought back with Rose. Ace was a street-wise modern-day earth girl who had an interesting and intriguing backstory to her rather than just being the Doctor’s assistant. So when this book was announced I was so excited to read how the model companion would interact with our most recent Doctor.
At Childhood’s End shows us classic companion, Ace meeting the Thirteenth Doctor, Yaz, Ryan, and Graham, which is of course the selling point. And in my opinion, it does not disappoint in that department. The first part of the novel does a really good job at introducing how Ace (sorry, Dorothy) has grown since we last saw her in 1989; showing us a 50 year old Dorothy in charge of A Charitable Earth. It also builds up brilliantly to Dorothy meeting the current TARDIS team and their Doctor.
So as it turns out, Sophie Aldred is a really great writer! The book is very well paced, has fantastically fleshed out new characters, Dorothy’s friend and model, Chantelle, (who very briefly appeared in Survival), and a fairly decent sci-fi plot. I was so surprised at how many times I thought “Okay one more chapter” and listened for another 2 hours. It’s a cliche but it always rings true with a good story, but I just couldn’t put it down. The audiobook is read by Sophie Aldred which just adds another level of experience, especially if you’re a big fan of Ace!
I would definitely recommend listening (or reading) this book. It’s the story of long lost friends with deep, emotional connections that are trying to heal old wounds wrapped up in a thrilling sci-fi plot. The fam (Graham, Ryan, and Yaz) have plenty to do, some new characters; Chantelle, Will, and Kim are endearing and interesting. But the main characters are of course the Doctor and Dorothy. And those two are written exceptionally; the Doctor is great and Dorothy is ace.
At Childhood’s End.
Written by Sophie Aldred with Steve Cole & Mike Tucker. Published by BBC Books. Released 6th February 2020.