The Banquo Legacy

Roots: Macbeth, Frankenstein, Zombie movies. H. P. Lovecraft's Necronomicon. There are references to Darwin, Galvani, Cluedo, Tesla, Napoleon, Thomas De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, Galileo, Newton, Faraday, and The Water Babies.

Dialogue Triumphs: "Surely crime is a philosophy of its own. One man obeys the law, another chooses to break it. Two different views of life and social responsibility."

"The morality of an organisation - a race - is no better than the morality of its most immoral member."

Continuity: Cuthbert Simpson is a Time Lord. He poses as butler of Banquo Manor. He uses an Artron dissipater to bring Compassion to the Manor. The dissipater is powered by a natural source of Artron energy generated by a murder at the Manor years earlier. Harries' animated corpse seriously injures Simpson, gouging out his eyes in the process: he is still able to see via nano-cam optic implants with a direct link to his visual cortex in a pair of rats he uses to spy on people in the Manor. He spends a hundred years on his mission on Earth, which the Doctor hypothesises is motivated by love for Romana. It is implied that the Butler's Pantry in the Manor contains his TARDIS. He sends details of the seed setting that the Doctor feeds to Compassion when he leaves to the Time Lords, via a hypercube (The War Games).

The Artron energy drain means that the Doctor is unable to regenerate. He adopts the alias Doctor Friedlander of the Society for the Propagation of the Forensic Sciences.

Fitz adopts the alias Herr Kreiner and briefly adopts an outrageous German accent and a monocle.

Compassion is dragged to Banquo Manor by a ninety percent Artron energy drain. She merges with Susan Seymour to limit the damage, their personalities alternating occasionally as they form an organic gestalt. Susan retains some memories from Compassion after Compassion dematerialises. The dissipater makes her vulnerable enough to sprain her ankle by inhibiting the block-transfer equations that make reconstitution and regeneration of the outer plasmic shell possible (see Logopolis).

Links: The Deadly Assassin, Four to Doomsday (Artron energy). In a nod to the subsequent The Burning, the Doctor notes that if he had to be stranded in one time and place, he'd choose England during the nineteenth century. The Doctor mentions Irving Braxiatel, and notes that he dislikes rats, as he had a friend who was almost eaten by one (The Talons of Weng-Chiang). He refers to Zygons in Scotland (Terror of the Zygons). Mortarhouse College was mentioned in Ghost Light. The Doctor paraphrases one of his own speeches from The Two Doctors. Simpson's sending of the hypercube at the end leads into The Ancestor Cell.

Location: Banquo Manor, near Three Sisters, South-East England, 1798, Winter 1898 and 1968.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor has visited Wittgenstein, but not for a long time.

The Bottom Line: Beautifully written, alternating between two different first person narratives to great effect, but rather dull. As is frequently the case with anything Richards is involved with, there's nothing intrinsically wrong, but the characters, despite being detailed, fade from the memory shortly after finishing the novel. Still, it sets things up nicely for a grand finale, so it's just a shame that what follows is a bilge-ridden hack-job.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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