Rewritten from material that I originally posted 5/21/13 on another forum.
Blurb: Space Security Agent Sara Kingdom is dead, her ashes strewn on the planet Kembel. But, in an old house in Ely, Sara Kingdom lives on…
To the Elders of this ruined world, Sara is a ghost, a phantom that must be excised. She must prove her right to exist, and she does so with stories. Stories of a time when she travelled the universe with an ancient Doctor and his heroic companion Steven inside a magical space/time ship called the TARDIS.
And one story in particular could make a difference. The one about their trip to a world covered in water, where a human expedition is being wiped out. It’s a battle to survive, as the travelers face the horrors of the drowned world…
Format: Limited-cast audio drama, a Companion Chronicle from the point-of-view of Sara Kingdom. Published by Big Finish Productions and released July of 2009.
Setting: An unnamed planetoid, time unknown (some of the details would seem to link this story with Colony in Space, setting it around the year 2372). The framing sequence is set in Ely, England about one year after Home Truths was narrated (no earlier than 7000 AD). Lance Parkin's AHistory gives the time of the narration as 200,750.
Continuity: This story takes place between two episodes of The Daleks Masterplan, The Feast of Steven and Volcano. This story happens some time after the events of The Anachronauts but before the events detailed in Home Truths. The framing sequence occurs after the framing sequence within Home Truths. Sarah once again mentions going to Hollywood (see The Daleks Masterplan), the boy dying in her arms on Mars (see the short story, The Little Drummer Boy), and the man in the clock (see The Guardian of the Solar System).
Canonicity Quotient: This story once again has an unreliable narrator but there’s nothing in these details that seems at odds with what we know or seems to be poor characterization. 1.00
Discussion: I wasn't a big fan of Home Truths. I'm not a big fan of magic and the inexplicable. It was a story built entirely on atmosphere with no real explanation for the details within the story and no context for the telling of the story. So I went into the Drowned World with fairly low expectations.
I must say that I really enjoyed the story told within this one. The Companion Chronicles provide a great opportunity to have stories where the Doctor is not the central character. With the series depending on an ensemble cast the writers usually try and find something for everyone to do but sometimes it’s nice to have these stories that are unabashedly about one person because what the rest of the cast is doing is not that important. Sara's struggle to make sure that no one else dies and then the reactions from everyone when they see that she lived through exposure to the water when no one else did is a good downbeat tale showing that sometimes achieving your goal doesn't give you satisfaction.
I couldn’t have cared less for the framing sequence. I have a hard time buying that the world of a far flung future time that still has Cambridge seems to have no records of science or technology beyond a late 19th or early 20th century level. Then there's Robert, who the Sara-house is telling the story to who goes on about how the power of the house would be abused by others but then the second he needs something goes right over there and asks for what he wants. He talks about law but what law is he talking about? You can't have talking houses? You can't have magic? You can't have science beyond a level they can understand? Putting that question aside I have no respect for the man because of how he vacillates and seems to lack any conviction.
The fact that Sara-house is almost certainly A.) lying about having ever disincorporated because he could bring her back, and B.) most likely the cause of his daughter's illness just creeps me out. While I'm happy that BF has decided to use Sara Kingdom I'm not sure why anyone really cares about the framing story. It isn't Sara. It's some thing that thinks it's Sara and is definitely not an altruistic force.
I'm going to listen to Guardian of the Solar System next since I'm very interested in the use of Chen and how that'll be pulled off. I couldn’t care less about the Sara/Robert stuff. I'm definitely looking forward to the Anachronauts as I'm hoping for some more standard framing. Maybe Sara and Steven will randomly decide to put together a Big Finish Adventure in the TARDIS much like he and Vicki did in The Suffering. :-)
Final Rating: 8/10
Recommendation:: A story that keeps your interest because it’s about what one person will do to succeed and then what happens after you attain success. Its downbeat ending may not appeal to everyone but it grips at your heartstrings as you’re borne along on Sara’s story, feeling the same challenges and bouts with death that she does. If you like Home Truths then definitely give this one a listen.