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Doctor Who and the Crusaders (novelisation)

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Doctor Who and The Crusaders
Based on: The Crusade
Doctor: First Doctor
Companion(s): Barbara, Ian, Vicki
Main enemy: El Akir
Main setting: Palestine, the 1190s
Key crew
Publisher: Frederick Muller, Target Books, W.H. Allen & Co
Writer: David Whitaker
Read by: William Russell
Release details
Release number: 12 (given to later editions)
Release date:
1965 (Muller edition)
2 May 1973 (Target version)
7 July 2011 (BBC Books version)
Format: Hardcover and paperback editions; 9 Chapters, 160 Pages (Target paperback edition)
ISBN 0-426-11316-0
←Previous Next→
Publication order
Doctor Who and the Zarbi Doctor Who and the Auton Invasion
Target novelisation numbering
Doctor Who and the Creature from the Pit Doctor Who and the Curse of Peladon
TV series order
Doctor Who and the Zarbi The Space Museum

Doctor Who and the Crusaders was the third and last of the original trilogy of Doctor Who novelisations published in the mid-1960s, years prior to the launch of the Target novelisation range. It was based on the 1965 television serial The Crusade.

Publisher's summary Edit

1965 Frederick Muller edition Edit

From unknown Space, the Tardis returns to Earth, but not to the world Ian and Barbara know. The little blue telephone box has wheeled sharply in the cosmos and cut back through the pattern of history to the struggle between Richard the Lionheart and Saladin, Crusader v. Saracen.

When Barbara is captured by the Saracens and later kidnapped by the monstrous El Akir, Ian appeals to Richard for help, but despite having achieved a splendid victory over Saladin at Arsuf the English King has his own troubles and cannot assist him. So Ian sets out to rescue Barbara alone, while the Doctor becomes involved in court intrigues.

In a dramatic climax, Ian finds himself fighting for his life in the harsh, cruel world of the twelfth century, where only the cleverest and strongest survive.

Readers of Doctor Who's adventure with the Daleks and Doctor Who and the Zarbi will find here all the excitement that made those books firm favourites with youngsters of all age groups.

1967 Green Dragon edition Edit

Back through time go Dr. Who, Ian and Barbara - back to the twelfth century, to Richard the Lionheart and the Crusades.

Barbara is captured by the Saracens. Adventure piles on adventure as Ian and Dr. Who, in their different ways, attempt to rescue her. This is a book brimful of excitement!

1973 Target Books edition Edit

Back on Earth again, Tardis lands DOCTOR WHO and his friends into the midst of the harsh, cruel world of the twelfth-century Crusades. Soon the adventurers are embroiled in the conflict between Richard the Lionheart and the Sultan Saladin, ruler of the warlike Saracens.

`They're well-written books-adventure stories, of course, but with some thought...the creation of the character of the Doctor had a touch of genius about it.' Westminster Press

1982 Target Books edition Edit

Within minutes of the TARDIS' arrival on twelfth-century Earth, the First Doctor and his companions are in serious trouble.

They happen to intercept a Saracen attack on Richard the Lionheart, therby enabling the English King to escape otherwise certain capture.

But Barbara is kidnapped and carried off by the Saracens to the Sultan Saladin's court.

Saladin spares her life -- on condition she entertains his court by telling stories. And, like Scheherazade, if she fails, then she must die...

2011 BBC edition Edit

"I admire bravery, sir. And bravery and courage are clearly in you in full measure. Unfortunately, you have no brains at all. I despise fools."

Arriving in the Holy Land in the middle of the Third Crusade, the Doctor and his companions run straight into trouble. The Doctor and Vicki befriend Richard the Lionheart, but must survive the cut-throat politics of the English court. Even with the king on their side, they find they have made powerful enemies.

Looking for Barbara, Ian is ambushed — staked out in the sand and daubed with honey so that the ants will eat him. With Ian unable to help, Barbara is captured by the cruel warlord El Akir. Even if Ian escapes and rescues her, will they ever see the Doctor, Vicki and the TARDIS again?

This novel is based on a Doctor Who story which was originally broadcast from 27 March–17 April 1965.

Featuring the First Doctor as played by William Hartnell, and his companions Ian, Barbara and Vicki.

Chapter titles Edit

  • Prologue
  1. Death in the Forest
  2. The Knight of Jaffa
  3. A New Scheherazade
  4. The Wheel of Fortune
  5. The Doctor in Discrace
  6. The Triumph of El Akir
  7. The Will of Allah
  8. Demons and Sorcerers

Deviations from televised story Edit

  • Mention is made of a trip to Tyron.
  • Barbara and Vicki play Martian Chess in the TARDIS at the start of the novel.
  • The Doctor has a lengthy discussion with Ian about altering time and the rights and wrongs in the universe.
  • David Campbell, whom Susan Foreman left the TARDIS in The Dalek Invasion of Earth to marry, is referred to in the opening chapter of this novelisation as "David Cameron". (His UK prime minister namesake was born a year after the book was published.)
  • Ferrigo is killed by Saladin's soldiers while trying to flee the palace.
  • The Doctor flees the court after Richard accuses him of giving away his plan to Joanna, rather than Richard realising the Doctor is innocent as in the television version.
  • El Akir manages to inflict several strokes of his lash on Barbara before Ian rescues her.
  • El Akir is strangled and then thrown against a wall so a blow on the head kills him, rather than stabbed, by Haroun.

Writing and publishing notes Edit

  • In 1973, this novel, along with the two preceding Frederick Muller books, was reprinted by Target Books, launching its long-running line of novelisations.
  • The hardback edition illustrations were retained.
  • Quickly sold out of the first 20,000 copies and was reprinted.
  • Title page of the Target edition includes: “THE CHANGING FACE OF DOCTOR WHO. The cover illustration and others contained within this book portray the first DOCTOR WHO whose physical appearance was later transformed when he discarded his worn-out body in favour of a new one.”
  • The 2011 edition features an introduction by Charlie Higson, best known for writing the Young Bond novel series, focusing on the adventures of a teenaged James Bond. He later wrote the Ninth Doctor eshort The Beast of Babylon.
  • The 1965 first edition was the first Doctor Who novel to include an image of the TARDIS on the cover. It was also the first novelisation cover to not depict the Doctor (this wouldn't happen again for more than a decade).

Audio release Edit

This story was released in a five-CD format. It was read by William Russell (Ian). It was later released in the limited edition in Travels in Time and Space alongside the audio releases of Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks and Doctor Who and the Zarbi.

Additional cover images Edit

British publication history Edit

First publication:

  • Hardback
W.H.Allen & Co. Ltd. UK
  • Paperback


Paperback: Target Books / Virgin Publishing Ltd. UK 1982 Cover by Andrew Skilleter (£1.35 UK)
Paperback: BBC Books UK 2011 Cover by Chris Achilleos

Editions published outside Britain Edit

to be added

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