I am going to be upfront and just admit that I am a massive fan of Doctor Who. Anything even remotely related to Doctor Who immediately catches my attention. It's still a little while to go until the next series and finding myself going through a serious case of withdrawal, I have decided to give the books based on the series a shot.
The Clockwise Man is the first book in the New Who series. New Who began when the series was brought back to life after a sixteen year hiatus. Christopher Eccleston played the role of the 9th doctor and had the immense responsibility of introducing the Doctor to an entire new generation of fans. Naturally, the rebirth of the series spawned a new series of books, allowing the fans to have even more adventures with the Doctor and his companions.
The Clockwise Man takes the Doctor and Rose backwards in time to 1924 London and takes place between the episodes "The Long Game" and "Father's Day" of series one. The Doctor and Rose decide to see The British Empire Exhibition and naturally even a sight seeing trip with The Doctor leads to a mystery which must be solved. It's not long before not only the Tardis (the doctor's time machine disguised as a police box), his leather jacket and precious sonic screwdriver go missing. It seems that the painted lady has determined that The Doctor is the vicious butcher that she has been looking for.
The Clockwise Man felt quite a bit like steampunk because of the mechanicals in the story. It did however contain little references to the series for the sake of continuity. For instance, Rose changes completely into to period clothing while the Doctor runs around in his leather jacket with no one batting an eye. There's even a mention of "Bad Wolf," which fans of the series will immediately recognize as a warning to the Doctor that trouble is coming.
Even with all of the little references, The Doctor really felt off to me. First off, no true Doctor would ever struggle to find a word. Not only is he fluent in English, he often thinks so quickly that few can keep up with him. I found myself wondering repeatedly where the Doctor's arrogance, sarcasm and confidence went? Then, there is the issue that in many ways, The Clockwise Man turns the Doctor into an action hero. Yes, I said action hero. Instead of outsmarting the bad guy, the Doctor actually gets into a physical altercation and allows someone else to try and save the world using their mind and abilities to shut down some tech. An action doctor is not unheard of (see the 6th doctor and the 3rd doctor); however, that certainly wasn't a part of the 9th doctor's personality. He didn't even say, "Fantastic" which fans of the series will recognize as the 9th Doctor's catchphrase. Who is this man? The answer is, not the Doctor or at the very least, not a proper representation of The Doctor as played by Christopher Eccleston.