A kingdom divided between two rulers with one vying for dominance. Frippery adorning the castle and clothes that seem utter superfluous and pique the interest of the Doctor. And, finally, a quest for the Holy Grail–yes, that Holy Grail. Coming together into a rather concise tale in Una McCormack’s Royal Blood, the Doctor and Clara explore a kingdom on the brink of war.
Clara and the Doctor arrive to a world that, on outward appearance, is medieval but actually contains some advanced technology, like laser swords. Varuz, the kingdom they’re visiting, is on the verge of failure with the land becoming ruins and the threat of invasion and war from a ruler beyond the mountains. Getting drawn into the mystery of Varuz and their problems, in true Doctor Who fashion, the Doctor and Clara inject themselves into the rabble to help avoid utter destruction while solving the mystery.
It wasn’t entirely clear who the narrators were throughout the text as they characters weren’t adequately introduced and jumped suddenly without much warning. It roved through a couple different characters. I found it interesting that the lore of King Arthur and the quest for the Holy Grail was worked into this story of a different world. I enjoyed the concept of the Doctor’s rudeness and Clara acting as a people buffer being drawn into this text from this season’s character arcs, but it was definitely more a Clara-centric story than a Doctor-centric story–especially with the accuracy of their portrayals.
Overall, I’d give it a 2 out of 5 stars.