Book Club: The Clockwise Man

End of Chapter 7 and I think we’ve got our first old style cliffhanger

A clockwork suit of armour advancing on the Doctor and Rose courtesy of the Painted Lady.

Chapters 6 and 7 seemed to be treading water a little and building up the slightly odd mystery of the black cat.

As I say, I remember very little of this from when I first read it so this is actually quite a nice revisit. It’s not the most thrilling of stories but it is entertaining enough.

I particularly liked the bit where the Doctor asked why ‘phonetic isn’t spelled with a F’ and Rose replied with ‘I can spell Doctor with an F’… :laughing:


That quote made me chuckle as well!

It seems I’ve been streaming ahead of everyone’s I’m on Chapter 17. I’ll post thoughts later…

I finished the audio book last night when I didn’t have much else to do


Chapters 8 and 9

So there was more to the cat than meets the eye and I’ve just had to pause where they’ve discovered where the multiple cats have been coming from.

One aspect Richards has obviously tried to echo is the 9th Doctor’s habit of enabling other people to be the hero - it was a big feature of his era on TV.

Still some good mysteries and I’m enjoying Brigg’s range of plummy, upper crust gentlemen.


Put it on the quotes section of the guide for this book then :smiley:

1 Like

I will but I need to exact quote. Might have to listen to that bit again ,can you remember if it was chapter 6 or 7?

What were your thoughts? I just finished it now.

It was quite a good start to the Ninth Doctor’s book range.

Spoiler: I fell for the trick at the end, thinking Freddie was dead!

There were some moments when I thought the author didn’t get The Doctor and Rose’s characters correctly, but that’s understandable as this came out so early. Rose in particular was rather generic character, but then I guess she doesn’t have many features that really stand out apart from a little bit chavvy, and kind to people. She wasn’t kind to the cat though!

I thought the mystery was a bit convoluted and the ending dragged on a bit, but it did pull at my heartstrings in the right places. I enjoyed the Clockwork Men, and imagined they may be somehow connected to those in The Girl in the Fireplace and Deep Breath (I know they’re not). I made a new trope for Clockwork.

I’d give it 3/5!


It’s kind of weird to me that it’s not at least partially connected to girl in the fireplace, all I could see in my head when that was brought into it was the clockwork people from that episode, at the very least I wonder if that 10th Doctor episode took some slight inspiration in that regard

And yeah, I wasn’t expecting a lot of character moments from an early book, not when they don’t really know how the characters are going to end up (though tbth I’ve never been the biggest fan of rose in the show itself so that didn’t really bother me)

3/5 is fair, decent start for a new generation of books in a new generation of Doctor who


7 I think but not 100% sure.

DOCTOR: I’ve always wondered. Why isn’t “phonetic” spelt with an “F”?
ROSE: I can teach you how to spell “Doctor” with an “F”.


1 Like

I think I’ll join this club today. I’m currently in the middle of a Harry Potter series reread, but I’m up for a little break if that means I’ll be able to read some more Doctor Who!


Up to Chapter 11 now and we’ve had the big reveal (which I think I remember from my first read).

One thing I will say is I’m not getting a strong sense of time and place. For all its 1920s setting, it doesn’t feel hugely different from Victorian-set stories. In fact, it sort of feels like the sort of plot that wouldn’t feel out of place in Jago and Litefoot.

1 Like

I’ve read six chapters so far. It’s decent, but not too exciting yet. Nine and Rose don’t feel and sound like they should, but that’s to be expected since the book was written before Series 1 aired on TV. The pacing is surprisingly slow, but I appreciate the attention to detail. It’s striking how little Richards has actually developed the main mystery or conflict so far. There’s quite a lot of characters here as well, and it’s somewhat challenging to keep track of them all. As a cat lover, I’m pleased that the cat seems to play a pivotal role in the story.


Okay so I seem to have reached a denouement and yet there’s a load of chapters left. The Clockwise Man has been revealed as Repple and Freddie keeps wandering off to get into trouble.

I have to admit to being a bit bored by the story now and hoping that it picks up a little in the final chapters. As I and others have said, there are too many characters, many of whom seem utterly superfluous to the actual story (like all the guests at the dinner party in the early chapters).

1 Like

14 chapters read. I’m going to finish this tonight. I agree with what’s been said previously. It’s a bit slow, a bit convoluted, and I feel that it peaked somewhere after the halfway point, and now we are in an extremely long landing process. I am still not convinced by the characterization of Nine. The little action that appears is really good, though, and it feels true to this era of the show.


Getting near the end now and there has been a rather frustrating part where the Doctor explains what the danger is from Shade Vassily/Wyse using his technology hidden in Big Ben to launch his spacecraft only for Wyse to then tell Rose exactly the same thing in the next chapter. It felt a little unnecessary to tell the reader twice what might happen should he succeed. It also look like I was right about Freddie being the character who is ‘enabled’ by the 9th Doctor and given the chance to show how brilliant he can be.

None of this is terrible but it really does seem to be treading water. It’s a bit of a contrast to the new series episodes which are, by dint of their runtime, snappy and pacy. Richards, I think we are aware, wrote this before the TV series had aired and it does have the style of a more drawn-out classic series story trying to fill four episodes with incident. The fake out of Repple not being Vassily would have probably taken up Episode 3 leaving the confrontation with Wyse/Shade Vassily to be Episode 4.


Finished it. The final chapters picked up the pace again, and I rather liked the action-packed conclusion. I also liked how Richards separated Nine and Rose and gave them plenty to do, and how he made Freddie a hero in his own right.

I called the real identity of Wyse early on, so it was a disappointing twist. He ended up being a pretty forgettable villain. I would have liked to see Melissa’s masks used a bit more as well. And Freddie being a Romanov prince wasn’t too surprising either, and kind of amounted to nothing.

It’s also a pity that Richards didn’t explore 1920s London a bit more, as the setting felt a bit limited, even in the climax. He did like to mention a bazillion times that the London Eye was missing from the skyline, though.

This was an okay experience overall, but with shaky characterization, a slow pace, and a muddled plot that then ended up very clichéd in the end.

I’ll give it 5/10 (gotta start low as there are many books to go!).

Fun fact: The Clockwise Man is one of only four Doctor Who novels that have been translated and published here in Finland, and the latest one to do so. Only Human was translated and published first (it’s the fifth New Series Adventures book), and two Target novelizations were published in the late 1970s (The Auton Invasion and The Cave Monsters, for whatever reason). The Targets are particularly odd since Classic Who has never been aired in Finland, and we can’t even find the original Tarhet books anywhere physically.


Finished this tonight. Justin Richards must be a fan of Disney’s The Great Mouse Detective with his choice of a dramatic battle in the workings of Big Ben and I did think for a minute he actually was going to kill off Freddie. Ultimately, I agree with Coldstream on this one.

I gave it 3/5 on the site originally but I think, having it fresher in my mind, I’m going to drop it to 2.5.


I think the single-word review I would make of this book is forgettable. Hope that’s not too harsh.
I read it roughly two years ago and none of the reviews in this book club thread, the blurb on the back of the book or online reviews are ringing any bells to be honest… Everything about this book has sadly just fled my mind. Perhaps there was one of the Silence in my home when I read it :grimacing:


When is the next new series book decided? I might have to dust off The Clockwise Man and join in here too!