REVIEW | Shield of the Jötunn

Arizona, 2029. Billionaire philanthropist Dr Hugo Macht intends to put an end to climate change with his revolutionary geo-engine, but his plans are put on hold when his team uncovers a Viking burial barrow containing a mysterious shield… and two strangers called the Doctor and Constance! Before long, it’s snowing in the desert and a flesh-hungry Frost Giant is on the loose, looking for a new body.

Shield of the Jötunn is a simple but highly effective tale, with compelling characters, a novel setting and a genuinely interesting and well-developed new villain. There are no massive twists or clever conceits; this is just a rip-roaring adventure and a great story well-told. A particular highlight are the flashback scenes in the middle two parts, which break up the narrative nicely, fleshing out the villains and their backstory without having them stop and monologue.

Colin Baker and Miranda Raison are on superb form throughout the story, rising to the challenge of Ian Edginton‘s excellent script, which serves both characters incredibly well. Baker is at his bombastic best here, giving us an authoritative, acerbic Doctor, while Raison adds both heart and steeliness to proceedings, capturing Constance’s no-nonsense attitude, resourcefulness and wonderful sense of humanity in equal measure.

Baker and Raison are joined by a really strong guest cast, led by Michael J Shannon as Dr Macht and Nell Mooney as Dr Zetterling. Baker and Shannon have excellent chemistry, their characters butting heads initially, before growing less confrontational, while Raison and Mooney share some lovely scenes where the two reflect on how different their worlds are. It’s impressive how well-developed Macht and Zetterling feel; Edginton has a really strong handle on their characters and this makes his story all the more successful. A shoutout to Ryan Forde Iosco as the Talessh too: he brings a great villain to life with menace and character.

Overall, this is a great story with compelling characters, lovely imagery, an impressive villain and some charming central performances from Colin Baker and Miranda Raison.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Shield of the Jötunn is available on CD or as a download from http://www.bigfinish.com

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