The TARDIS materialises in Mexico during the Aztec civilisation. The Doctor and his companions step outside to discover they are inside a tomb - the tomb, it turns out, of Yetaxa, once High Priest of the Aztecs. Barbara is hailed as Yetaxa's reincarnation by Autloc, High Priest of Knowledge, and Tlotoxl, High Priest of Sacrifice, when they find her in the precincts of the tomb wearing the bracelet of the deceased Priest, now revered as a god. And she takes advantage of her position of unaccustomed power to try and dissuade the Aztecs from practising human sacrifice....
William Russell, who played the Doctor's companion Ian in the original TV serial, reads John Lucarotti's complete and unabridged novelisation, first published by Target Books in 1984.
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Essential listening for any first Doctor fan
Definitely. Even a neutral listener can pick up the context of the story as it is an historical one (as the name implies) and relies little on the science fiction aspect of the series. It's well read by the original actor who played Ian Chesterton (William Russell) and the sound effects enhance the story rather than become intrusive.
When Ian proves he can best the Aztec warrior Chief (Ixta) using only his thumb.
Mr Russell is a calm and steady reader with a warm voice who can add subtle intonation to his voice to help distinguish the characters. Having worked on the original televised story, I suspect he had an insight into the characterisation of the other actors and brought it to his reading. Definitely not something you can pick up just reading the text.
The moment where Cameca realises that the man she loves will have to leave her and how she takes it.
This story is one of the strongest both plot and character-wise in the first Doctor's era. The show is brilliant and the book matches it in its high quality.