The anthology “The Story of Martha” by Dan Abnett, David Roden, Steve Lockley, Paul Lewis, Robert Shearman, and Simon Jowett was published for the first time in 2008.
Martha Jones was forced to escape the Master’s captivity leaving her family and the Doctor behind. She now has only one purpose: to walk the Earth to spread a message of hope, convincing people all over the world that it’s possible to defeat the Master.
For a year, Martha Jones travels the world telling stories of the Doctor’s adventures. She becomes a legend but that’s a problem because she has to avoid the Master’s agents who are trying to capture one of the most wanted people in the world.
“The Story of Martha” is part of a series of books connected to the new “Doctor Who” series. They’re targeted to a wide audience by being linear enough to be appreciated even by very young readers but sophisticated enough to interest more mature readers.
Usually, the books in this series are novels that tell adventures unrelated to the ones from the television episodes. Often, they contain references to episodes that make fans happy but don’t cause problems if they are not recognized. On the contrary, “The Story of Martha” is based on the events seen in the double episode that ends the third season of the new series “The Sound of Drums” / “Last of the Time Lords”.
This book uses the frame story with a main story written by Dan Abnett that contains a few short stories written by other authors. The main story follows Martha Jones and her journey during which she recounts various adventures with the Tenth Doctor. In my opinion, this choice works only partially.
The books in this series are limited in length, so even if “The Story of Martha” only contained the story of Martha Jones’ journey, it should focus on the main events. With short stories using part of the pages, the main story is stripped down to pretty much the bare essentials. The idea is interesting because it shows the events experienced by Martha far beyond what could be included in the television episodes but exactly for this reason, I expected it to be her story and nothing else.
The short stories are really short and only give an idea of where and when the Doctor and Martha arrived, the situation they find, and how the Doctor uses his intelligence to solve the problem they face. The meaning is to show how the Doctor overcomes situations that seem impossible only with his intelligence, without using violence. Martha uses that kind of story to inspire hope in people that the Master’s rule can be overthrown as well.
On the bright side, the main story offers some insight into what Martha does and how she feels during the year that she walked the Earth, which creates a complete portrait of her character. She must use all of her ingenuity to carry out her mission but is terrified that the fate of humanity and the Doctor depend on her.
In my opinion, “The Story of Martha” would have required much more length to be fully successful. Given the length limitations of this book series, a double volume could have done a better job but was perhaps considered too out of the ordinary for the publication program and dismissed as a possibility. If you’re content with a look at Martha Jones’ story and some of her tales of her adventures with the Tenth Doctor, you might like it.