For a long time, Big Finish had been prohibited by the BBC from doing any stories set during the Time War. I was pleased when that restriction was lifted, but disappointed when I found out I’d have to wait nearly two years before those stories would be released. Now my wait is very nearly over; the first set arrived in the mail today.

Initially, the Eighth Doctor Time War set was planned as a one-off complement to the War Doctor series. Sadly, the death of John Hurt means that there will be no more of those forthcoming. Soon it became clear that there was too much potential in the Time War to let the series come to a premature end. Soon there will be new series of The War Master (December) and Gallifrey: Time War (February). Also there are plans to up the Eighth Doctor box sets to three per year for the time being, one for the Time War and two for the Doom Coalition sequel.

According to Big Finish’s Vortex magazine: “There will be new regular characters in the Time War, too. When the saga opens, the Doctor is already travelling with Sheena (Olivia Vinall), who is a new companion for us but someone he has been with for a while. And then a second new friend will explosively enter his life—Bliss (Rakhee Thakrar), a refugee scientist. Listeners who follow our War Doctor stories will also need no introduction to Olistra (Jaqueline Pearce), here proving she has been a thorn in the Doctor’s side for far more years than we might have imagined.”

We have already heard some Eighth Doctor stories set during the Time War (in the Diary of River Song series and elsewhere), and we’ve seen him regenerate in the mini-episode “The Night of the Doctor”. As showrunner Steven Moffat once said of the audio range, “We saw how the Paul McGann Doctor died—now it’s time to find out how he lived.”

THE EIGHTH DOCTOR: THE TIME WAR
  The Starship Theseus - p1
  Echoes of War - p1
  The Conscript - p1
  One Life - p1

THE WAR MASTER
   Beneath the Viscoid - p1
   The Good Master - p1
   The Sky Man - p1
   The Heavenly Paradigm - p1

GALLIFREY: THE TIME WAR
   Celestial Intervention - p2
   Soldier Obscura - p2
   The Devil You Know - p2
   Desperate Measures - p2

THE EIGHTH DOCTOR: THE TIME WAR 2
   The Lords of Terror - p2
   Planet of the Ogrons - p3
   In the Garden of Death - p3
   Jonah - p3

THE WAR MASTER 2
     Call for the Dead - p3
     The Glittering Prize - p3
     The Persistence of Dreams - p3
     Sins of the Father - p3

GALLIFREY: THE TIME WAR 2
   Havoc - p3
   Partisans - p3
   Collateral - p3
   Assassins - p3

THE WAR MASTER 3
   The Survivor - p3
   The Coney Island Chameleon - p3
   The Missing Link - p3
   Darkness and Light - p3

THE EIGHTH DOCTOR: THE TIME WAR 3
     State of Bliss - p4
     The Famished Lands - p4
     Fugitive - p4
     The War Valeyard - p4

THE WAR MASTER 4
   From the Flames - p4
   The Master's Dalek Plan - p4
   Shockwave - p4
   He Who Wins p4

GALLIFREY: THE TIME WAR 3
    Hostiles - p4
    Nevernor - p4
    Mother Tongue - p4
    Unity - p5

SUSAN'S WAR
    Sphere of Influence - p5
    The Uncertain Shore - p5
    Assets of War - p5
    The Shoreditch Intervention - p5

THE EIGHTH DOCTOR: THE TIME WAR 4
     Palindrome, Pt. 1 - p6
     Palindrome, Pt. 2 - p6
     Dreadshade - p6
     Restoration of the Daleks - p6

GALLIFREY: THE TIME WAR 
     Deception - p6
     Dissolution - p6
     Beyong - p6
     Homecoming - p6

THE WAR DOCTOR BEGINS
      Light the Flame - p7
      Lion Hearts - p7
      The Shadow Squad - p7

THE WAR MASTER 5
   The Edge of Redemption - p7
   The Scaramancer - p7
   The Castle of Kurnos 5 - p7
   The Cognition Shift - p7

THE WAR DOCTOR BEGINS 2
    Consequences - p8
    Destroyer - p8
    Saviour - p8

THE WAR MASTER 6
   The Sincerest Form of Flattery - p
   A Quiet Night In - p
   The Orphan - p
   Unfinished Business - p
   

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CONSEQUENCES: "The War Doctor and Veklin crash on a ravaged planet. On the fringes of the Time War, this world has its own battles raging. Elsewhere, a survivor works out how she came to be here. But these newcomers are harbingers of something terrible, following in their wake."

I had a hard time following this one; I even listened to some of it twice. It continues into "Destroyer," so perhaps I'll pick up the story in part two. 

We don't know much about the survivor with The Doctor but pieces start to surface during the adventure. Veklin is a terrible, typical Time Lord, easy to dislike.

The planet they are on is in the middle of an epic war, led by two people who are invigorated by military tactics and successes. Of course, The Doctor plans to stop it. 

DESTROYER: "Trapped on a world that worships war, the War Doctor finds himself fulfilling an ancient prophecy - could he be the Warbringer of legend? His new ally Case is testing her abilities, too. And both will be called on to fight when the Daleks come."

I can follow these when I'm listening to them, but I have a hard time summarizing them later. I'm impressed  how Big Finish can tell such a variety of stories that don't involve direct confrontations with the Daleks. Haing said that, though, "his new ally Case" turns out to be a new type of Dalek in human form. Or something. Maybe Tracy can tell you more. 

Case is connected to the Daleks but she cannot remember so we don't know much. The whole population has been at war for a long time. The Time Lords want to destroy it and all the people before the Daleks arrive. Something about the war experiences and Dalek meddling makes the Time Lords feel threatened. Case may be the clue to everything. 

SAVIOUR: "The truth of how events on Tharius were set in motion is revealed. On a mission to destroy a Dalek Harvester vessel, the War Doctor discovers a new breed of Dalek. Whatever action he takes next, we have seen the consequences – and they are devastating for everyone."

We started listening to this one this morning; it will probably take us through Wednesday. I have three comments to make about what we've heard so far: 1) Case is an unsuccessful Dalek hybrid, 2) the battle TARDIS the Doctor is currently using lands on a battlefield and takes the form of a Dalek with its top blown off, and 3) the Doctor takes his tea with six sugars!

Warbringer is a non-linear arc (which I didn't realize until I got further into part three) that begins in the middle. Part tells the events which lead directly into part one. The Doctor's goal is to stop a Dalek "Harvester" from converting a planet's population into Dalek agents. Case is an unsuccessful conversion, and questions the Doctor's motives. She suspects that he saved her just to gain an ally who was part Dalek and could hack their systems. All this information will be useful the next time I listen to this set; I may even listen to part three first. 

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