My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Harvest of Time is a third Doctor and UNIT story featuring the Master. That makes this story very typical of the third Doctor’s era, and this novel by acclaimed science-fiction writer Alastair Reynolds reads more like an expanded novelisation of a television story than of a novel in its own right, but that is ok.
That is precisely why this book succeeds because it really does seem like a story that would have worked back then, and is probably just as archetypal a third Doctor story than stories such as The Daemons, The Mind of Evil and The Sea Devils.
The third Doctor is well drawn and is as haughty and condescending as usual; the Master is urbane, witty and deliciously evil; the Brigadier is a proper military man and not just a buffoon in uniform, which he was sometimes portrayed as.
The main difference between the story as presented in this novel is that this could never have been achieved on the budget that the show had in the nineteen seventies.
I had only read one previous book by Alistair Reynolds (Century Rain) and I think that this book is much better with a much tightly plotted storyline, better characterisation and a much more satisfying ending.
This book will be enjoyed by both Doctor Who fans and Alastair Reynolds fans alike as I don’t think that this book is as far removed from his usual books than people believe it is.