Monday, 26 October 2015

Lethbridge-Stewart: Beast of Fang Rock

Candy Jar Books has released the latest in its series of Lethbridge-Stewart novels based on Doctor Who, Beast of Fang Rock by Andy Frankham-Allen.

‘The one with the lighthouse…’

That’s how most people remember Horror of Fang Rock, the Doctor Who story first transmitted in 1977. It has come to be regarded as a classic, a fondly remembered story not only for fans, but for the general public as well.

Candy Jar’s Lethbridge-Stewart novel Beast of Fang Rock is the official prequel to the original television story, fully authorised by original writer Terrance Dicks. Eighty years prior to Horror of Fang Rock a beast was said to prowl the crags of Fang Rock, killing two keepers and driving another quite mad. What is the Beast? Where did it come from? Just what did happen in 1822? Finally the answers will be revealed...

The period setting of Beast is a deliberate echo of Horror, says author Andy Frankham-Allen. It was essential that I recreated that sense of claustrophobia, and so I developed a very similar dynamic, taking my cues from Terrance Dicks’ original script. Terrance is such an important part of Doctor Who’s history, indeed he’s had his hand in almost every piece of Doctor Who lore modern fans get to enjoy in the current series, that it was imperative his vision and ideals be honoured in this book.”

But Beast of Fang Rock is also a sequel to the original TV serial, dealing with the fallout surrounding the mysterious happenings of 1902. It is set almost seventy years later, in the late 1960s, featuring hauntings, time travel and the return of Anne Travers, last seen on television in 1968's The Web of Fear, who takes her place as co-lead in the novel series. “One of the main goals of this book,” says Candy Jar Books head of publishing Shaun Russell, “was to establish Anne Travers as a key player in the series. She had a cameo in the first book, The Forgotten Son, and a timey-wimey role in The Schizoid Earth, but this is the first book in which her part is essential to the plot. Indeed, in every way that matters, Beast of Fang Rock is Anne’s story. Doctor Who has a large female fan base, and it has always been our plan that our series has a strong female lead to whom all those fans can relate.”

Another key aspect of Beast of Fang Rock is the lighthouse. Hayley Cox, senior publishing coordinator at Candy Jar Books, says: “For centuries lighthouses have protected and saved many lives all over the world, keeping safe those who dare to battle against the ferocious elements of our world. Lighthouses feature so little in literature, and are often relegated to stories told by the older generation, but this book will hopefully remind today’s generation of the importance of the lighthouse. Not only in the past, but in today’s world. Andy has done a wonderful job of paying testament to these bastions of hope for the unwary traveller.”

Horror of Fang Rock has always been a favourite with the fans,” says original actress Louise Jameson (Leela) in her foreword to the new novel. “Part of the ‘recipe’ for a frightening yarn is to create something claustrophobic. And that feeling of climbing the stairs at night taps in to almost everyone’s personal childhood terror. Add the fog, the fear of being ‘jumped’ and you’re left with the stuff of nightmares. This book is hard to put down, and it’s marvellous, and very touching, that so many people are still connected to the classic series in a way I could never have predicted, even though I had the privilege of travelling through time.”

With thanks to Candy Jar Books
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