Eye of Heaven

Roots: The Bible (the story of Jonah clearly inspires Leela's exploits inside the whale). The novel features quotations from Thor Heyerdahl's Aku Aku, Katherine Routledge's 'On her expedition to Easter Island', R. M. Ballantyne's Coral Island, Robinson Crusoe, Treasure Island and Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Crabbed Age and Youth'. Stockwood's ship is named Marco Polo. The Doctor sings "Octopus's garden" and quotes Macbeth and Plautus. There are references to The Times, Methuselah, Galileo, the Indian Mutiny, Darwin, Around the World in Eighty Days (Phineas Fogg), the Beatles' "Ticket to Ride", Theakston's Old Peculiar, Jules Verne, Edgar Allen Poe, Francis Bacon, Hieronymus Bosch, and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.

Dialogue Disasters: "The peelers'll 'ave y'inside quicker'n blinkin' and Gawd knows what'll 'appen to yer then." "Bloomin' great scarf, 'e 'ad." And lots of other phonetic cockney.

Continuity: The moai have fluctuating mass and act as Einstein-Rosen bridges to other worlds; the rongo-rongo is the operating instructions. Easter Island contains a gateway to an alien world with two huge moons and a dark sullen sun, covered in giant moai and a vast abandoned city. Another world, with two suns (one a white dwarf, one a red giant) and numerous orbiting satellites and planets. The people that built this transport system strip-mined whole worlds to send further moai out into space. They were eventually wiped out by an unknown aggressor; realising this, they decided to preserve their race by launching great quantities of their DNA into space, preserved within support mechanisms controlled by intelligent machines. This DNA would be introduced to group of host organisms on arrival on an alien world, and would attach itself to the host species' DNA, remaining dormant and hidden. The aliens' intention was that once the aggressors left the original system, the intelligent machines would use the Einstein-Rosen bridges (extensions of themselves) to transport the members of the host species carrying their DNA back to the home system, where automatic systems would reactivate the DNA and re-create the original species from the host individuals. One of the intelligent machines arrived on Earth, on Rapa Nui, and influenced the development of the culture of the people of its people. They stripped the island bare to build moia due to a race memory conferred by the alien DNA. The aliens' plan worked, but human hosts from Rapa Nui returned carrying a plague virus they themselves contracted from visiting sailors, which wiped out the aliens permanently, leaving only their ruins and machines behind, including the factory world where the moai were built. They left a booby trap designed to detonate their sun if any species not carrying their dormant DNA passed through the Einstein-Rosen gates. The Doctor uses Leela's blood to inoculate the inhabitants of Rapa Nui, allowing them to pass through the gateway and recreate the original species.

The Doctor has phenomenal sensory input, but often compresses it to human normal to keep him alert and entertained. He again uses the alias John Smith. The fact that humans cram so much into their comparatively short lives is one of his favourite things about Earth. He carries a bag of mint humbugs and likes lemonade. He carries sulpha and band-aid plasters. He has a bag of enough gold coins to buy the Tweed. He carries a large bunch of keys that contains a spare TARDIS key, a Venusian landcruiser dock key, a Ford Granada ignition key, a key to the Bank of England vault, a key to the Exchange, a key to the city of Iskenderun, and Kublai Khan's Key to the World [see Marco Polo - in the novelisation, the key is a spare TARDIS key]. He carries a molecular analyser. A Peruvian sailor shoots him in the chest: he uses a healing trance taught to him by Padmasambhava at Det Sen Monastery (The Web of Fear) to repair the wound, which disappears [effectively by magic, although if you want to apply technobabble, we can assume that the Doctor's meditation triggers some kind of Time Lord healing ability]. The Doctor has never visited Easter Island before.

The Sevateem believe that a Tesh weapon that has sampled their blood can be used against them in Tesh machines. They use water bags made out of Horda stomachs, which despite being well-tanned rot away within a year. Their Shaman [Neeva or a predecessor?] told them that if they ate the brains of an enemy they will take on his or her intelligence [so they practised cannibalism, although there is no suggestion that Leela has ever done this.] Leela has eaten Horda. Leela learns about glass for the first time here, which she has seen before [such as when she jumped through a window in The Talons of Weng-Chiang] but not previously understood. Her father taught her to use the Hunter's Eye, a way of observing everything about one's prey and understanding its behaviour. She notes that as a warrior she will choose a mate in her own time [an attempt to explain her hurried departure at the end of The Invasion of Time]. The Sevateem only ever sing songs about victory in a hunt, war against other tribes [so are there humans other than the Tesh and Sevateem on the Mordee Colonisation World?], or celebration at a new birth or coming of age. The Sevateem had a game in which whoever killed the most bark-skippers in a day had more food at mealtimes: despite their speed, Leela once killed three of them in day. She uses soap here for the first time, the Doctor tricking her into it by describing washing as the Ritual of Carbolic. She also travels on the sea for the first time here. She eats chocolate surprise with so much enthusiasm that it makes her sick. She also tries champagne, but finds it revolting. Leela's sister Ennia was killed by a pack of Horda when she was three years old, and a year before Leela was born. Leela's mother was called Neela. Leela's knife is the same knife that her mother used on the Horda that killed Ennia. Stockwood lends Leela a navy greatcoat. Leela also learns here for the first time that worlds are spherical, not flat. Spinners (also known as web-spinners and web-tree spinners) make web trees on Leela's home world. A Cryuni is supposedly a death spirit feared by the Sevateem but is actually a corruption of cryogenic unit. The Sevateem use bark moss to make soup, and also weave moss to make cloth. They call tornadoes the Xaust wind; Leela first experienced the Xaust wind when she was ten and it carried off another child name Sooly. Leela can swim. She kills a shark with her knife and survives a tornado on the ocean by hiding inside the carcass of a dead whale.

The TARDIS has an Atmosphere Monitoring Subsystem, which tries to stop the Doctor stepping out into polluted air [see also The Daleks' Master Plan].

According to the Doctor, Ogri (The Stones of Blood) often insinuate themselves into primitive cultures to feed on blood from sacrifices.

Links: This story takes place between The Talons of Weng-Chiang and Horror of Fang Rock. There are references to The Face of Evil. Artron energy was first mentioned in The Deadly Assassin.

Location: Easter Island, October 1842; London, England and Easter Island, August to December 1872; and Easter Island, December 1902.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor once saw someone die blind from rickets on a ship called Santa María. He met Columbus. He last saw Nelson in 1805 and has visited Portsea Island before. He also claims to have met Lennon after he died. He again notes that he met Harry Houdini (Planet of the Spiders). He also claims to have taught Eratosthenes everything he knew. He has a copy of Ptolemy's Treatise on the Structure, Position and Medicinal Nature of Celestial Bodies, which he borrowed from the Library of Alexandria and never returned.

The Doctor and Leela's return to the TARDIS happens after the novel ends.

The Bottom Line: "Now - who wants to find out what all this really means?" A stunning novel, and not just a Doctor Who novel but a novel in its own right. Mortimore's tendency to describe death on a biblical scale here doesn't drown out the characterisation which, coupled with the shifting first-person narrative, is the real strength of Eye of Heaven.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

Feel free to Contact Us if you have any questions about the site, or any technical problems with it. You may also want to check out our Privacy Policy. There is also an About Us page, if you really want to read one.

Add new comment


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.