Reviewed By: newt5996
Review Date: 5/16/16 7:11 pm
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Jim Mortimore and Andy Lane are an odd pair of coauthors on their first book. Through Big Finish I have heard Mortimore’s The Natural History of Fear which is great and Lane’s The Mahogany Murderers which is also great, but their styles in audio are drastically different with Mortimore using a lot of atmosphere and Lane keeping to a more traditional story. Yet despite their differences there is no real distinction between the passages written by Mortimore and Lane throughout Lucifer Rising’s prose. The novel reads really quickly despite its long length mainly due to the extremely compelling plot and characters. I hear that this is one of the most highly regarded Virgin New Adventures, but I have to disagree as there are quite a few flaws within the compelling narrative. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t good as it is, great in fact, it just isn’t as good as some of the other novels I’ve read recently. But before I can get into the flaws of the novel I want to look at the best aspects of this really dark story.
Let’s start with the plot as even though it is just a base under siege style story it is able to use that story style to make the story extremely tense and terrifying. Imagine The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit, but if the horror was one hundred times more intense as one of the villains of the story turns out to be a being called Legion which is exists in seven dimensions which is a terrifying concept. The plot sees the Doctor, Ace and Benny arriving at a space station in the Lucifer system where people have started dying mysteriously, but the plot continues to thicken when IMC, the mining company from Colony in Space, come on the scene with evil plans as they usually have led by Legion. There are creatures called Angels and everything is a massive plot to try and gain time travel through the Doctor by using Ace as their agent. So yeah this story has a plot filled to the brim and what really suffers is the Angels as their portions of the plot are the vaguest which brings down the overall plot. The plot with IMC however is the best as it tests the relationship even more between the Doctor and Ace, who again has had three years being hardened by Spacefleet. Ace betrays the Doctor here and finally is able to tell him exactly what he has been doing to her and those around her. She practically gives him a taste of his own medicine by the end of the novel.
Ace also gets some great scenes with the personnel on the base as when everything starts to fall apart before IMC arrives, Ace has to take charge and tries to keep everyone alive. She fails at this as people do die, but her skills as a leader are really effective and showcase how much she has grown as a character since Love and War. Benny however doesn’t fair as well as Ace did. She isn’t out of character or anything, but is sidelined throughout most of the novel until the end where she plays a role in the climax. She also gets some great scenes with Ace to build a relationship between them, but that’s about it. It’s a real shame too as Benny is such a good character. The supporting characters are all great as they all are introduced grieving for the death of one of their own and through that event we see them slowly pushed to their limits as people.
Even with these glowing praises towards the novel there are still quite a few problems with it. Mainly its length is not good if you read it over a period of time like I did as I fell ill while in the middle of it so stopped for a few days. This really shows there are too many characters in the story as some of them really don’t serve much of a purpose in their being there. The plotlines of Lucifer and IMC and Legion all get a bit muddled and it takes way too long for them to be resolved. The novel also has a slow uptake which while building atmosphere and characters had quite a few pages that could have been easily cut out.