Roots: Film noir and gangster movies. Casablanca (the Doctor's pianist is named Sam). Dracula. There are quotations from Raymond Chandler's The Simple Art of Murder, and Al Capone. Bernice misquotes Orson Welles' improvised speech from The Third Man ("The Draconians had hundreds of years of warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed, and they produced art and architecture to amaze the galaxy. On Dulkis they had brotherly love, democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The egg-timer"). Dekker mentions Eliot Ness and smokes Camel cigarettes. Alien inspires the spaceship interior on Bill Donohoe's cover. There are references to the Chicago Tribune, James Bond, and Tarzan. The Chicago section, especially the scenes involving Capone and/or Ness, owes a lot to the film version of The Untouchables. Dekker's characterisation and narrative voice likewise owes a lot to Raymond Chandler's novels (the opening paragraphs, for instance, are straight out of The Big Sleep).
Goofs: Zargo's beard is missing on the cover.
Although it is artistic license, the revelation of other Lords and villages on the planet of the Great One flatly contradicts State of Decay.
Dialogue Disasters: "Death to the Doctor!"
"Rassilon must die!"
"I don't know nuttin' about nuttin'."
"And phwat's all this then, begorrah?"
"This is the dame took out Morelli."
"Bring out the Truth Machine."
"Oh no. Not the mind-probe!"
Dialogue Triumphs: "I know a lot of things I wish I didn't, Mr Dekker."
"But you, Doctor... What have the years done to you? Your curly hair, and flashing teeth, all gone! And your fine clothes. And you've even shrunk!"
Continuity: Before the Great One arrived on the planet, the inhabitants had established a primitive society and had discovered steam power and projectile weapons and simple explosives; contrary to what Kalmar believed, they were already native to the planet before the Hydrax arrived, which was crewed just by the Three Who Rule. Following the defeat of the three Vampire Lords (State of Decay), a period of peace settled upon the Village, before disagreements broke out between those who wanted change and those who wanted a return to the old times, with a new Lord in the Tower. Ivo's wife Marta died shortly after the Lords were defeated. Greenfruit is a type of crab apple that grows on the unnamed planet of the Great One. The villagers also eat Marsh-fowl eggs. Other animals on the planet include wood-weasels and blood-bats. There are rats and deer on the planet, which were presumably transported there on board the Hydrax. The garil flower has the same effect on Vampires as garlic. Kalmar still lives in his bunker, where a new resistance movement is growing as the signs that the Dark Time is returning grow stronger; Tarak's son, also called Tarak, serves him. Yarven kills Kalmar. There are other Lords on the planet besides the Three Who Rule, a few of whom are also vampires. There are also other villages. Vampires dislike the light of fire, since it reminds them of the dawn. Agonal uses Time Lord technology provided by Rath, Morin and Elar, to regenerate Zargo, Camilla and Aukon from the piles of dust left in the cavern below the Hydrax, but is unable to regenerate their brain tissue, leaving them mindless killers; Dekker kills them a second time by shooting them through the heart with his Colt .45. Agonal also regenerates the Great One from the remains of its skeleton; it is destroyed by a combination of sunlight and the Doctor forcing its already unstable regeneration.
Agonal is one of numerous elemental beings that include what humans know as gods, angels, earth spirits, devils, demons, ghouls, and poltergeists. Agonal is one such elemental being and magnifies evil, partly for his own amusement and partly because he feeds on agony and death [Goth Opera suggests that Agonal and these other elementals are actually Eternals (Enlightenment)]. His name is taken from the Greek word meaning "the agony of death". He can cloud people's minds, turn up anywhere and make people accept him, influence their behaviour, and make them forget that have ever seen him. He is trans-dimensional and can move through time and space at will, from planet to planet. In any direct confrontation he draws power from the strength of his opponent. According to the Doctor, his greatest weakness is vanity. Agonal assumes the human form of a tall, thin, elegant man with a long thin aristocratic face. He has influenced the history of Earth on numerous occasions, and has influenced the Spanish Inquisition, the Terror during the French Revolution, the Charge of the Light Brigade, and the First World War. The Doctor has been urging the Time Lords to deal with Agonal ever since he first started studying human history. Agonal adopts the alias of Lord Sargon on the planet of the Great One. Rassilon traps him in his tomb, in the place previously occupied by Borusa.
Flavia is currently President of Gallifrey (The Five Doctors). Spandrell is once more Castellan (The Deadly Assassin). A small amount of the Elixir of Life is kept on Gallifrey for emergences (The Brain of Morbius). The Committee of Three consists of Time Lord Councillors Rath, Elar and Morin. Rath is Goth's younger brother [cousin? See Lungbarrow] (The Deadly Assassin). Rath is a Prydonian, Elar an Arcalian, and Morin a Patraxean. Morin and Elar are first-rate temporal engineers, both having worked in Temporal Control. They intend to use a Time Gun, a temporal force field generator, to disrupt the temporal stasis field around the Tomb of Rassilon, release Borusa, and use Agonal to destroy Rassilon. They reactivate the Time Scoop. Borusa is released from the tomb, but having had time to repent his sins begs Rassilon to take him back; Rassilon decides to find him "a better place" to endure eternity.
Shortly before the Doctor carried him out of the TARDIS and gave him to Romana, K9 computed an infallible way of entering and leaving E-Space at will using information from the Hydrax data banks (State of Decay, Warriors' Gate). The Doctor remembered the information for future use.
The Doctor opens a nightspot in Dearborn Street in Chicago in 1929, under his usual alias Doctor John Smith; he becomes widely known as "Doc" for short. He employs a barman named Luigi, a pianist named Sam, and a bouncer named Happy Harrigan. "Doc's place" serves everything, including Jim Beam. The Doctor makes his own beer in the TARDIS swimming pool, and bourbon in the bathtub. He and Ace have lunch with Al Capone and save his life, thus befriending him. When the Doctor leaves Chicago he gives co-ownership of his saloon to Dekker and Luigi. The Doctor dons a grey striped suit and fedora. The Doctor has a sensosphere with a built-in force field, which he intends to use to imprison Agonal. The Doctor swears in Old Low Gallifreyan. He still has his Reichsinspektor General badge and returns Spandrell's Gallifreyan Army Knife (Timewyrm: Exodus).
Romana has disliked bats ever since she first visited the planet of the Great One (State of Decay). After leaving the Doctor, she stayed with the Tharils until they were no longer slaves; with the Tharils having re-established space travel, she asked them to take her to the planet of the Great One to see how the villagers were progressing now that they were free of vampires. She has become adept at horse riding since The Androids of Tara. K9 is now Biroc's Lord High Administrator. Romana decides to remain on Gallifrey.
Ace dons a black silk evening gown in 1920s Chicago. She later changes into tailored black costume with black silk blouse and broad-brimmed black hat. She wears black silk teddies underneath that she bought when she first arrived in Chicago. She shoots gangster Morelli in the head, killing him, using a small black gun that she keeps in her handbag. She picks a cheap lock with a hairpin in two minutes. She drinks coffee. Tony Ricotti, who kidnaps her and plans to force her to work as a prostitute, drugs her in Chicago; she breaks his neck between her legs. She carries a rocket gun with line and grapnel in a pouch on her belt, as well as plastic explosive. She also carries a flat metal disc capable of putting the wounded into "field cryogenics." Two of the buttons on her jacket contain explosives.
Bernice carries a flash of Eridanian brandy. She also carries a basic military hand-blaster with three settings whilst on the planet on the Great One. She has visited a Maxim's in nineteenth century Paris and a fish-bar on Metebelis Three (Planet of the Spiders). She eats a large meal at Veran's house, which includes venison, pasties, and oatcake, which she washes down with copious amounts of local wine. She eats omelet and venison at Lord Sargon's. She flippantly tells Romana that she's always wondered how she would stand up under torture. She recognizes that Romana is a Time Lady from her body language. The Doctor gives Bernice a SPATAB, a Spatio-Temporal Alarm Beacon, which Romana notes is also known as a panic button. It also acts a homing beacon for the TARDIS and works across the boundary between E-Space and N-Space. Once activated it remains functional until deactivated from the TARDIS and is virtually indestructible. Benny has learned a great deal about the political history of Earth from a long lecture given by the Doctor. She wears a safari jacket whilst on the planet of the Great One. She has read Huis-Clos. She brings various archaeological specimens from the planet of the Great One into the TARDIS, including a crate containing, unbeknown to her, Yarven, who escapes on Earth (see Goth Opera).
According to Reilly, there really is a little town in Ireland named Gallifrey, not far from Dublin (The Hand of Fear).
Links: State of Decay, The Five Doctors. Events in this novel lead into Goth Opera. Bernice notes that the Ellerycorp Foundation once employed her (Love and War). Ace refers to Nazi-occupied Britain (Timewyrm: Exodus). Romana mentions the Tharils (Warriors' Gate). Benny mentions Draconians (Frontier in Space) and Dulkis (The Dominators). Zorell mentions Omega (The Three Doctors, Arc of Infinity) and Shobogans (The Invasion of Time). A Drashig is seen on the Time Scoop control screen (Carnival of Monsters).
Location: Chicago, 1929; the unnamed planet of the Great One, E-Space; and Gallifrey.
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor has already had his bar established for several months when Dekker meets him, and has given a large contribution to the campaign funds of Big Bill Thompson, Mayor of Chicago, to ensure that the police don't try to close it down.
It is implied that the Doctor has met Winston Churchill [which he actually has, in the subsequently published Players, also by Terrance Dicks]. The Doctor knows the Chief Hospitaller on Gallifrey.
The Bottom Line: 'I've been drugged, kidnapped, shot at, beaten up and almost ravished, and that's just this afternoon. Don't you think it's time you told me what this is all about?' Whilst Timewyrm: Exodus was an entertaining homage to the past, Blood Harvest sees Dicks attempting to trade on past glories and suffering from ever-decreasing returns. Forming a sequel to both State of Decay and The Five Doctors, the novel becomes that sort of mess that would, had anyone else written it, be dismissed as fanwank. The scenes set in nineteen-twenties Chicago are potentially more interesting but are crippled by witless gangster clichés and atrocious dialogue. And whereas the Doctor's friendship with Hitler in Timewyrm: Exodus allowed Dicks to explore the ethical dilemmas surrounding time travel, his portrayal of Al Capone as a loveable and honourable rogue is highly distasteful.