Empire of Death
by David Bishop

Publisher: BBC
ISBN: 0 563 48615 5


    A variety of people keep returning from the dead, including Adric and Queen Victoria's dead husband, Albert. It's time to claim the afterlife as a protectorate of the great British Empire. But the Doctor is more than a little suspicious.



    Adric appears to appear ("'Hello, Adric. We thought you were dead.'" Pg 22), but it's not really him.

    Pg 57 Prince Albert's Mausoleum at Frogmore, in the grounds of Windsor Castle

    Pg 150 The TARDIS dematerializes while on a train, in order to stop the rift from opening. It has rematerialized in the same place by Pg 155 (and we will brush over how it managed to do that on a moving train).

    None, although it helps to be familiar with The Keeper of Traken, Earthshock and Time-Flight. But we all know what happened in those anyway.

    Pgs 12-13 Nyssa's journal: "One of my travelling companions is dead, killed trying to prevent a cataclysm that proved to be historical fact. Adric's sacrifice seems to have been without reason or positive effect, making his loss all the more haunting." Earthshock. Nyssa is a lot more complimentary about her erstwhile companions than Tegan is in Divided Loyalties, but then Nyssa is a lot more analytical and a lot less emotional.

    Pg 13 "Just as I was coming to terms with that loss, Tegan has also gone, back in her own time and space." Time-Flight.

    "I was raised by my father, Tremas. He tried to instill in me what he considered the best qualities of our people - patience, tolerance, inquisitiveness, a wish for harmony and tranquility." We met Tremas in The Keeper of Traken. He is mentioned often throughout this book, and indeed, appears (an alien in disguise, but nonetheless). I do not record every mention.

    Pg 15 "Such knowledge must be a terrible burden. I wonder if the Doctor has such knowledge about my future life? Would he share it with me if I asked? I doubt it." He does, actually, since he has already met her after her time with him in Asylum.

    "Traken was destroyed by a dark field of entropy unleashed by the same individual who took my father's life. I suppose I could ask the Doctor to take me back to the planet at a time before its destruction, but there seems little point now." Logopolis. In Primeval, one of the audio adventures, Nyssa will go back to an earlier Traken.

    Pg 20 "I mentioned that we had been trying to reach something called the Great Exhibition of 1851." The Doctor and crew were trying to go there at the beginning of Time-Flight.

    Pg 21 "For some time I had been urging the Doctor to consider making some, or indeed any, of the repairs the TARDIS requires." He is doing this by the beginning of Arc of Infinity.

    There is nearly a collision in the Vortex, which is almost identical to the beginning of Time-Flight.

    Pg 22 "The air was thick with a sickly sweet smell like the succulent flowers that grew in the grove on Traken, petals falling across the calcified remains of long-dead evil." These included the Master's TARDIS. The Keeper of Traken.

    Pg 25 Dead Adric: "I can talk with Varsh whenever I want." Varsh was Adric's brother, who died heroically in Full Circle.

    Pg 26 "'Hmm,' the Doctor mused. 'Perhaps some residual effect from our encounter with the Xeraphin - you mentioned seeing a vision of Adric.'" Time-Flight again.

    Pg 50 "From the moment Tegan stepped on board she wanted to get back to London in 1981, but it took a temporal anomaly to achieve that." Time-Flight, and it's also a reference to much of Season 19.

    Pg 51 "The Doctor finished a few last tweaks of the central console's many switches and dials, then removed his half-frame spectacles to regard my clothes." Nyssa's experiences with Victorian clothing, just before this, are delightfully described. The Doctor's half-frame glasses appeared in Four to Doomsday.

    Pg 59 "'I require your full name, sir.' 'Very well - Smith. Dr. John Smith.'" The same pseudonym that the Doctor has used on and off since The Wheel in Space.

    Pg 71 "Recently she had experienced a heightened telepathy while in the presence of highly developed alien beings." Time-Flight. This telepathy is explained and subsequently removed in the audio adventure Primeval.

    Nyssa gets naked. This was an old NA cliche, getting companions in the buff. I'm sure some people appreciated it.

    Pg 90 "The Doctor put James in a trance with remarkable ease." The Doctor's skills at hypnosis were particularly strong in Terror of the Zygons and The Hand of Fear.

    Pg 97 The appearance of Tremas as someone utterly dead (rather than just possessed by the Master) should put a new complexion on Nyssa's thoughts about bringing him back in Goth Opera. However, as it turns out that Tremas is created from Nyssa's memories of him only, it doesn't.

    Pg 99 The Doctor: "'Every time one of my friends dies, I have to let them go - just like I did with Adric. Every time one of my travelling companions leaves the TARDIS, I have to let them go - just as I did with Tegan. One day you will leave me too, Nyssa, and when that day comes I will let you go.'" Earthshock, Time-Flight, and a pre-figuring of Terminus, which is not all that far away.

    Pg 110 "Time Lords possess a quantum of artron energy as part of their genetic make-up. This increases in tiny increments with each journey through time they undertake. Since I time-travel so frequently, I have an unusually high level. It's like a benign form of radiation, like getting a suntan." This is completely consistent with what we learn in The Deadly Assassin and has been mentioned in a variety of books since.

    Pg 113 onwards: The conversation here between Nyssa and the Doctor is quite startling, one of the few moments when you wish a PDA could have been televised, as I'm certain Davison's delivery in this would have been fantastic.

    Pgs 113-114 "But to have that parent murdered and then see their body possessed by the killer... that's almost beyond imagining." But it happened to Tremas and Nyssa: The Keeper of Traken, Logopolis, Castrovalva, Time-Flight.

    Pg 114 The Doctor accuses Nyssa of suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder: "You've been displaying many classic symptoms of the disorder. You've been having dizzy spells.' 'You said that was a mild mental disorientation, nothing more.' 'I thought it was at the time. Then I saw how you reacted to Adric's sudden death. Tegan was grief-stricken, shouting and screaming that I should use the TARDIS to rescue Adric from the freighter. But you hardly showed any emotion at all.'" Dizzy spells in Four to Doomsday and Kinda, Adric's death in Earthshock, Tegan and Nyssa's differing reactions in Time-Flight. And everything he says is totally justifiable and justified.

    Pg 115 "You believe Tremas will never rest easy while the Master uses your father's body as his own." This fits well with Nyssa's thought processes in Goth Opera.

    Pg 118 "'Doctor, how much will you tell Queen Victoria?' Nyssa asked. 'As much as she can understand. If I start discussing artron energy and the space-time continuum she will think me either a fool or a madman.'" The Doctor has been questioned as to whether he is an idiot or mad before, in Kinda.

    Pg 124 The Doctor: "It seems that Queen Victoria has just appointed me her Scientific Advisor." What an unbelievable coincidence. Seems he just can't escape the UNIT job, doesn't it?

    Pg 128 "I can't remember the last time I rode in a hansom cab. 1892, perhaps..." Indeed. The Talons of Weng-Chiang.

    Nyssa's journal: "I was looking out of the window, fascinated by how different London was from my other visit to this city." That was in The Visitation, where Nyssa was instrumental in burning the city to the ground.

    Pg 135 "'The Brigadier?' 'You must meet him some time. Splendid chap.' The Doctor abandoned his kipper and went back to reading The Times. '1863 - I wonder if England are on tour? Can't seem to find a match report.'" The Brigadier often referred to the Doctor as a 'splendid chap, all of them.' The Fifth Doctor's interest in cricket is well-documented, but Black Orchid was a highlight, and in Four to Doomsday it was a lifesaver.

    Pg 139 "The evolution theories of Charles Darwin created a storm of controversy, with debates raging about whether man was created by God or merely descended from apes." See also Ghost Light for more on this point.

    Pg 140 features reference to the Matrix.

    Pg 156 "The Doctor's shoulders sagged. 'It seems we'll have to do this the old-fashioned way. Nyssa, would you be so kind as to fetch me the manual door crank?'" We've seen this before in Death to the Daleks.

    Pg 188 In the Place of Remembrance in the TARDIS, we find a book entitled The French Revolution (Susan, An Unearthly Child), A scrap of Tartan cloth (Jamie), and 'roughly assembled on a black cloth were the fragments of Adric's broken star-shaped badge.' (Earthshock). This room is not unlike the Room of Remembrance that the Doctor has in The Infinity Doctors. The image of Adric's badge on a black background is from the closing credits of Episode Four of Earthshock.

    Pg 206 Mention of travelling in a lift with Tegan at Heathrow. Time-Flight.

    Pg 236 Nyssa's Guardian bear, BeeBee was mentioned in Divided Loyalties.

    Pg 245 "'But I thought all the Melkurs were dealt with by the grove,' Nyssa said." The Keeper of Traken.

    Pg 255 "'His death will spread among us, infecting us all, just as the horrors beyond the rift have infected our world with linear time.'" This sounds suspiciously like Star Trek: Deep Space 9 to me.

    Pg 258 "'Sorry, I was recalling an old analogy of mine. Imagine the rift is like a tear in a paper bag full of water. The bigger the tear -' 'The more water escapes?' Vollmer suggested." The Doctor used this analogy in The Talons of Weng-Chiang.

    None, unless you count the impersonators of Adric and Tremas.

    Queen Victoria, who would later appear in Imperial Moon, where the Doctor avoids her, presumably to avoid any embarrassment, as he is appointed herein as her Scientific Adviser.

    Sir Henry Ponsonby.

    The Baroness von Luckner, who turns out to really be Mrs Sylvia Walker, an actress. She ends up in prison, probably, but does a lot better than most of the characters in the book, who end up dead.

    Sergeant Charles Otto Vollmer, possibly David Bishop's own grandfather (see the dedication).

    Mary, a Chambermaid.

    Private Nicholas Johnson, Private Benjamin Morrison, Chief Inspector Lovesy, Tommy Douglas.

    James Lees, although for much of the book, he is an imposter.

    Lucina, Nyssa's mother, another imposter, and this may not even be who Nyssa's mother really was.


    PLUGGING THE HOLES [Fan-wank theorizing of how to fix continuity cock-ups]

    It's never made clear who the aliens are. They live in a dimension which is close to ours and can be reached through a rift underneath a river in Scotland. They can take on any form, generally made out of the memories of humans close by. For reasons that are never made desperately clear, the rift between their dimension and ours is opened because someone buries unborn fetuses nearby.

    New Lanark and Corra Lynn, on the River Clyde, Scotland, 1856.

    February 14th-21st, 1863: Windsor Castle, Prince Albert's Mausoleum at Frogmore, Corra Lynn on the River Clyde, London, including the Great Northern Hotel at King's Cross and a train travelling to Scotland from King's Cross.

    The 'Other Side', another dimension connected, unwillingly, to Earth.

    The Grove on Traken, and Nyssa's home in the same place, are both illusions, but appear nonetheless.

    IN SUMMARY - Anthony Wilson
    It starts brilliantly, and the style is awesome. Themes of death, mortality, loss and the pain of loss walk this book like gruesome strangers. Particular credit should go to the decision to have each chapter lasting a day, leading to no cliffhangers, but an ever-encroaching sense of doom, and the insights into Nyssa's thoughts and feelings as provided by her journal. Plus, the characterization of the Fifth Doctor is spot-on throughout. The investigation into repressed and repressive Victorian sexual values also begins interestingly, but somehow doesn't pull through. And as the book goes on, like Bishop's own The Domino Effect before it, the plot falls completely apart. We get no real denouement, no clear explanations, just a series of rather random set pieces and some pointless sacrifice. Sadly, despite good beginnings, if you want a good book about nostalgia, you should read Nightshade.