In 1920s London the Doctor and Rose find themselves caught up in the hunt for a murderer. But not everyone or everything is what they seem. Secrets lie behind locked doors and inhuman killers roam the streets. Who is the Painted Lady and why is she so interested in the Doctor? How can a cat return from the dead? Can anyone be trusted to tell - or even to know - the truth? With faceless killers closing in, the Doctor and Rose must solve the mystery of the Clockwise Man before London itself is destroyed...
Pg 10 Behind the gate into Gibson's Yard, London, October 1924.
Pg 10 The TARDIS materialises in a junkyard, just as it did in An Unearthly Child (and Attack of the Cybermen, but nobody pays that much atttention). This is a nod to the fact that this is a debut novel for a new line of books.
Pg 47 "The corridor he led them through was decorated with woodcuts and watercolours depicting events from the French Revolution. The Doctor paused to inspect one of the pictures. 'That's not right,' he told Rose." The Reign of Terror, or possibly the First Doctor's previous visit to revolutionary France, as mentioned in An Unearthly Child. Especially as this echoes Susan's line from the first episode.
Pg 61 "He noted the position where the Millennium Wheel was conspicuous by its absence, and smiled at his memories of what was yet to come." Rose.
Pg 64 "Rose nodded. 'I suppose.' She could recall Gwyneth at the undertaker's in Cardiff had gone into 'service' when very young." The Unquiet Dead.
Pg 120 "You do keep turning up. Like a bad wolf." This ties in to the "bad wolf" clues seen throughout Rose and the Ninth Doctor's tenure, as finaly explained in The Parting of the Ways.
Pg 163 "'My appearance was changed, so that I would fit in.' 'Know the feeling,' the Doctor said quietly." The War Games.
Pg 189 "She could remember running along the same stretch of the Embankment before, with the Doctor, soon after they first met." Rose.
OLD FRIENDS AND OLD ENEMIES
NEW FRIENDS AND NEW ENEMIES
Repple, Melissa Heart, Sir George, Lady Anna, Freddie.
- Pg 88 "She could remember grimacing at a collection of fox furs - silver, black, red and white - but could not recall whether they were from Canada or Newfoundland." Except that, in Rose's time, Newfoundland is part of Canada.
- Pg 109 "It was a crisp morning. The Doctor was able to blow long streams of mist from his mouth into the cold air." Except, on page 7 of Time Zero, it's stated that the Doctor doesn't have steam breath. In Father Time, it's also stated that the Doctor and Miranda can't make their breaths mist.
PLUGGING THE HOLES [Fan-wank theorizing of how to fix continuity cock-ups]
- This wasn't true in 1924, so either Rose is thinking "currently", or just has bad geography (which she admits earlier anyway).
- Presumably the Doctor could, if he wanted to, so he's just indulging himself here.
FEATURED ALIEN RACES
Pg 163 Katurians. They're humanoid, but not human. They can change their appearance to resemble humans, so we never see their true form.
Pgs 7/10 London, October 1924.
IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
Despite the similar page count, this is a very slight novel, with more in common wiith the novellas than the BBC novel line that preceded it, thanks to a vastly lowered wordcount. Other than that, it's business as usual, if a little traditional. The new series has clearly swept a new broom through the place, but that's no bad thing. The plot is standard Richards fare, which makes it quite enjoyable indeed, with twists and turns and exiled rulers, chess motifs, androids and people not being who they seem to be... okay, yes, it's a slimmed-down version of Dreams of Empire, but that's decent source material to begin with, so no bad thing. Sadly, the plot isn't nearly as good as the idea it hints at early on, namely that it's much harder to force someone to win at chess than it is to beat them. A novel with that climax would have been a great one, so it's a bit of a mystery that it's apparently set up and then dismissed for a bog-standard ending instead. Rose is generic, which isn't great, but the Doctor is quite poor indeed: Richards just can't shake the idea of Doctor-as-aristocrat and Eccleston's bovver boy everyman Doctor just doesn't fit his worldview. Which is a shame.