Roots: Quatermass.

Goofs: Edmund Trevithick remembers his unit discovering a mass grave in Poland during World War Two. However, he appears to be British and the British never sent troops to Poland.

The archaeological expedition was in 1919, according to the monastery's records, but Jack Prudhoe reckoned it was the year before he got married, which page 17 implies was 1928.

On page 32, the church is said to be eighth century, but on page 173 it's been around for nearly 900 years, which makes it late eleventh century.

Why does the Doctor need to take anyone with him when he's going to confront the sentience?

Dialogue Disasters: 'A continuous precipitation of condensed oxygen and hydrogen compound.' (i.e. 'it's chucking it down'.)

Dialogue Triumphs: The Doctor: 'I know this ship like the back of...the back of...beyond.'

The Doctor: 'Oh my dear fellow, I've always wanted to meet you,,, No, Wait. Wrong century, isn't it? Different chap.'

Hawthorne: 'We let this - this person and his freakish friend waltz in here without so much as a by-your-leave! Within five minutes he's telling us what to do...'
The Doctor: 'Story of my life.'

Continuity: The TARDIS contains a red room full of hats, a patch of open countryside, and a tertiary console room. This has stone walls, and a granite console like a gothic altar. Furnishings include a full-length mirror on an ebony frame, masses of clothes including a big brown duffel-coat, a thick donkey-jacket, a red toga, gloves, five collapsible opera hats, and a tweed waistcoat splashed with green ink, and a coal hill top.

The Doctor drinks either ginger beer or (less likely) Guinness. Ace's rucksack contains climbing ropes and two globules of nitro-nine-A [I knew there had to be more of it somewhere.] Time Lord shoulders can be dislocated and are very painful in that position, putting them pack is also very painful.

Links: The prologue shows the Doctor's departure from Gallifrey. There are important references to An Unearthly Child, The Dalek Invasion of Earth, The Five Doctors, and Remembrance of the Daleks. The Doctor mentions several companions - Susan, Ian, Barbara, Sarah, Jo, Jamie, Victoria, Tegan. There are minor references to An Unearthly Child, The Daleks, Marco Polo, Tomb of the Cybermen, Fury from the Deep, The Green Death, Logopolis, Resurrection of the Daleks, The Greatest Show in the Galaxy, The Curse of Fenric, Ghost Light, the Timewyrm Series, and theCat's Cradle Series. Death (previously seen in Love and War) is later revealed to be an Eternal (Enlightenment).

Location: Crook Marsham, a village 10 miles east of York, December 23 1968.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor and Ace haven't been anywhere exciting since Cat's Cradle: Witchmark. The Doctor remembers being there the day that Durham Cathedral was finished. He also recalls his and Susan's first visit to the French Revolution.

The Bottom Line: Good in parts, the first three chapters really drag, and nothing much happens in them. However, after that the pace really gets going and you start to get a feel that this is a Doctor Who adventure in the good old traditional way. Not innovative, but very well done.

Discontinuity Guide by Stephen Gray

Other Guides to this Story

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Luckily, I can't get enough of these ancient amorphous evil sort of stories so I ultimately enjoyed this one for the most part. I could picture it as a serial rather easily. Fun and gruesome, and I liked hearing about the nitro-nine-a and Chad Boyle again. That ending is awfully strange though. I don't remember that being followed up on in Love and War but I'll be reading that again very soon.

Sadly, it's not followed up in Love and War, because things weren't properly passed across between the two authors. Gatiss thought Cornell would be following up on it, but he didn't get the memo.

Well that's unfortunate. I think a later novel could have used that as a plot point, something terrible happening to Ace that for some reason she just forgot about and now she must revisit that moment. A shame no one tried to follow up on that ending.

How do you italicise titles in the comments? My attempts with HTML haven't worked at all.

The site only allows a few html tags. The one for italics is < em >, the one for bold is < strong >. The list of allowed tags is supposed to appear beneath the comment form, but it looks like it's only doing it for me when I'm logged in as the site admin, I'll have a look at that setting.

Well it looks fixed now. Thank you for the information.

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