The Laughing Gnome – Fear of the Web by Alyson Leeds

The Laughing Gnome - Fear of the Web by Alyson Leeds
The Laughing Gnome – Fear of the Web by Alyson Leeds

The novel “The Laughing Gnome – Fear of the Web” by Alyson Leeds was published for the first time in 2018.

Anne Bishop had some experience with temporal anomalies and doesn’t take long to recover when she finds herself in 1969 and moreover in the body of a girl who’s not her. She realizes that she’s on the eve of the events that led her to meet Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart and she decides to intervene to prevent her father’s mind from being damaged by the Great Intelligence.

For Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart it’s no longer surprising to be in his own past. He remembers very well that period that marked his life and for that very reason, he immediately notices some inconsistencies between his memories and what’s happening. He hasn’t been urgently recalled to London which means he will not meet the Doctor.

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 mini-series titled “The Laughing Gnome” is developed through various books with more interconnected stories than the previous ones in the Lethbridge-Stewart series. A story-arc started from the last period of the life of Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, who starts finding himself in his past for reasons all to be clarified.

The second book in this mini-series goes to the origins of the story of Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart and Anne Bishop, née Anne Travers. The title itself is an explicit reference to the classic serial “The Web of Fear” and the plot takes the protagonists back in time to the beginning of the Great Intelligence’s attack on the London Underground.

The story also contains references to other books in the Lethbridge-Stewart series but there’s a crucial link to the plot only with “The Laughing Gnome – Scary Monsters“, the first of the mini-series “The Laughing Gnome”. Instead, there are enough details about events connected to the protagonists’ lives to understand them without reading the books in which they’re told.

The events of “The Laughing Gnome – Fear of the Web” are closely intertwined with those of “The Web of Fear” and you need to have watched it to fully understand them. The importance of that serial is due to the fact that the links with those events are crucial in the protagonists’ actions. The novel’s events are constructed in a variation of the classic time travel story in which the protagonists must choose whether to interfere or not.

Both Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart and Anne Bishop had experiences with time travel recounted in this series of novels, so they quickly realize where they are. For this reason, they understand well that they have to choose how to act and this will have important consequences on events in their own past. Their reflections concern precisely those consequences, all the more so because they are reliving events that heavily influenced their lives.

“The Laughing Gnome – Fear of the Web” continues the mini-series with no real revelations connected to what lies behind the mystery of what happens to the protagonists. It’s more than ever a novel targeted to fans of the classic “Doctor Who” series and I especially recommend it to anyone who wants to engage in reading various interconnected works with a number of plots and subplots.

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