The first novel to feature the War Doctor, as played by John Hurt, starts out as you would imagine, with the Doctor fighting against the Daleks. In the aftermath of this battle, the Doctor encounters a young woman named Cinder, on a planet devastated by the Daleks. They discover a plot that could annihilate the Time Lords forever, and grant the Daleks unchallenged dominion over all of creation.
We see in this book the War Doctor as he was in the 50th special, weary and downtrodden. He has accepted his destiny as a warrior, and has no choice but to lay down his peaceful ways, and take up the fight against the Daleks. But as the cover says, 'war changes everyone'. This Doctor is determined to save his people, not only in a literal sense, but in a moral sense, as he tries to dissuade Rassilon and the High Council from crossing a line that will make them no better than the Daleks.
So he is fighting a war, but his heart(s) are broken over what he has become. He sees his people, the Time Lords, embracing the callousness needed to achieve victory. How far they have come from when his second incarnation stood on trial, begging them to intervene. He got his wish. Not only does he feel responsible for getting the Time Lords involved, he provoked the war in his fourth incarnation by going to Skaro to prevent the Daleks from being created. So in a very unique way, he kicked the hornets nest of these two powerful races. Unfortunately, alot of less powerful people get trampled underfoot.
This is a really powerful book, steeped in the on-screen Gallifrey stories (Deadly Assassin, Invasion of Time, 5 Doctors, etc) that brings forward alot of ideas from the old show, and puts them into the context of the Time War. It's a fairly quick read, but man, is it sad. Lots of 'feels'. Overall 8/10.