The novel “The Forgotten Son” by Andy Frankham-Allen was published for the first time in 2015. It was republished in a revised special edition in 2019.
Colonel Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart is still trying to get used to the idea that aliens exist and that an alien force attacked London. The invasion attempt failed, and now the main problem seems to be managing the return of the inhabitants who were evacuated in a hurry. The biggest complication seems to be his private life.
In the village of Bledoe, what seem like buried memories of events dating back thirty years begin to resurface. Mary feels the urge to return to the village where she spent years, until she and her son Alistair moved, after her husband was officially declared missing in action during World War II. Owain, a boy from Bledoe, starts having visions of what looks like a ghost.
The Lethbridge-Stewart series tells the adventures of the character who became famous in the “Doctor Who” TV show when he works without the Doctor. The stories start from the period immediately following the debut of Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart in the TV show and then extend the period covered. These stories include some characters that appeared in the TV show, some invented for other productions connected to it, and others that were created specifically for these novels.
The Second Doctor serial “The Web of Fear” showed the debut of Colonel Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, who later returned as head of UNIT, even becoming a regular in the Third and Fourth Doctor’s era. Over the years he became a much-loved character, yet we almost always saw him during his official duties and only in his last appearances we saw something of his private life. In 2015, Candy Jar Books started publishing a series of novels with him as the protagonist, “The Forgotten Son” is a direct sequel to “The Web of Fear” which begins shortly after the events of that serial.
The novel includes other characters from “The Web of Fear” such as Anne Travers and Sergeant Arnold, and at the same time introduces others. Around that time, Lethbridge-Stewart began a romantic relationship with Sally Wright, and in the village of Bledoe lives Owain, a boy at the center of unusual events who meets the Colonel when he returns to his birth village in search of his mother.
In “The Forgotten Son” there are various references to the fact that the relationship between Lethbridge-Stewart and Sally Wright is becoming important, but the protagonist’s story is told above all by going to its roots, in his native village, where past and present are intertwined with a series of twists.
The novel is also interesting because it shows us how Lethbridge-Stewart dealt with the discovery of the existence of aliens starting a series in which we see how he handles situations of that kind without the help of the Doctor. Initially, he doesn’t even have specialized military support because UNIT will be formed only some time after the events told in “The Forgotten Son”. The initial part also concerns the protagonist’s discussions with his superiors regarding the risk of new attacks by the Great Intelligence.
The need to start developing Lethbridge-Stewart’s private life by intertwining his past and present makes the plot rather complex, at times honestly even convoluted in some revelations. It’s not a very long novel, and perhaps it’s even too complex as it follows various important characters by constantly jumping from one point of view to another. I understand the need to create a complex backstory with the idea of having further developments in subsequent novels in this series, but in some cases, I couldn’t help but wonder if all the surprises were necessary.
The result is that the narrative gets a little heavy at times, also with some exposition, but all in all, it seems to me that the plot has strong roots in “The Web of Fear” and offers good foundations for Lethbridge-Stewart’s personal story. For this reason, if you loved this character in the television series and want to know about his adventures in the period after his debut, I think “The Forgotten Son” is worth reading.