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This novel is an interesting quiet affair that is often overlooked. It follows the loud bombastic action of the last books that have millions of plot twists and clever moments.
So when the editor of a range changes, you can expect a change in tone. And this one gives that change of atmosphere that the EDAs desperately needed.
It's probably the most simple book I have ever read. I've even heard it described as 'an exercise in minimalism'. And to be honest, it's hard to imagine this book being complex and full of twists. It's extremely traditional and focuses more on the characters rather than plot.
So basically, the mining village of Middletown is in strife as a its tin mine closes down. A strange crack has appeared across the moors. A strange man called Nepath wants to reopen the mines. Some characters from the another town have come to investigate the crack.
And then a strange man walks in from the mist.
The Doctor here is not the Doctor we know. He's lost all his memory and is dark, brooding. He has no idea what is going on and has to solve what is happening as fast as he can before more are killed or possessed.
The other characters are pretty good. Nepath is a scary villain. The military characters are fun. The 'Victorian Gentlemen' are written so well that it's shocking when they die. Stobbold, who become the companion, is a great character. Only problem with him is that when his daughter dies, he displays no emotion whatsoever. The setting here is well-realised and menacing. I can visualise it in my head.
The Burning is an interesting concept. It's like a consciousness that lives in fire. It's never really explained, but it wants to take over the world and control everyone. It's very well realised through Nepath and the constant motif of fire.
My only issues are Stobbold's lack of emotion, the unexplained Burning and the fact that the last 50 pages are a bit hard to understand.
So yeah, The Burning is a great book that I definitely recommend. It's one of my favourite EDAs and I'm sure it will become one of yours!
8.5/10 rounded up to 9/10.