At the heart of the ruined city of Arcopolis is the Fortress. It's a brutal structure placed here by one of the sides in a devastating intergalactic war that's long ended. Fifteen years ago, the entire population of the planet was killed in an instant by the weapon housed deep in the heart of the Fortress. Now only the ghosts remain. The Doctor arrives, and determines to fight his way past the Fortress's automatic defences and put the weapon beyond use. But he soon discovers he's not the only person in Arcopolis. What is the true nature of the weapon? Is the planet really haunted? Who are the Eyeless? And what will happen if they get to the weapon before the Doctor?
Pgs 7-8 On a beach near Arcopolis, the year 292,009.
None, although a passing familiarity with the Time War would be helpful.
Pg 8 "After the Time War, when he's lost everything but his TARDIS, he had decided he didn't need companions or friends." The backstory preceding Rose.
"Then he'd met Rose, who had been both those things and so much more." Rose et al.
"He'd vowed to travel alone after he lost her... Well, that hadn't lasted, and quite right too." Smith and Jones et al.
Pg 22 "Well... unless they're Gelth. Or time travellers with a dodgy temporal feedback circuit. Or from the future of an alternative timeline. Or an osmic projection. Or it might be because this city was built over a time rift." The Unquiet Dead, uncertain, Day of the Daleks, The Time Warrior, The Unquiet Dead again.
Pg 46 "There was a flash of light as bright as the sun for the merest moment, annihilation so profound it stretched deep ionto the past and far into the future. Then Gallifrey was gone." The Time War.
Pg 48 "St Stephen;s Tower, or the Clock Tower, but most people call it Big Ben. They'd only just finished rebuilding it, so I wasn't about to let anyone smash it up again." Aliens of London and its rebuilding in The Christmas Invasion.
Pg 56 "It reminded the Doctor a little of Hooverville." Daleks in Manhattan.
Pgs 57-58 "I'm from a world that was almost identical to this one. Sam size, so same gravity. Same atmosphere, just about. Organe sky, not green." The Sensorites.
Pg 97 "Be like... Rose." Rose et al.
Pgs 100-101 "The Doctor removed the sonic screwdriver from the vice and clipped the casing back together. He slipped it into his pocket and did the same with the psychic paper, the ball of string, the anti-radiation pills, the pocket Gallifreyan-Cymraeg phrasebook, the bag of kola nuts, the yo-yo, a collection of coins from different planets, the everlasting matches, the TARDIS key and everything else of his." The sonic screwdriver first appeared in Fury From the Deep. The psychic paper first appeared in The End of the World. Anti-radiation pills are from Destiny of the Daleks, the yo-yo from The Ark in Space et al and everlasting matches from Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks.
Pg 112 "I've never resonated concrete on my own before." The Doctor Dances.
Pg 142 "But that's what I see. All the time." The Parting of the Ways.
Pg 157 "He'd met ghosts before." The Gelth et al (The Unquiet Dead).
Pg 189 "He'd fought ogres and giant robots plenty of times in the past" Robot.
Pg 190 "So far, the defences had consisted of nothing but bursts of radiation that he could literally just shake off" Smith and Jones.
Pg 194 "Something to do with pi" The Five Doctors.
Pg 202 "My people died. All of them." The Time War.
"In the end their sacrifice made no difference. Because they survived. Thousands of them, millions. Just one. It doesn't matter." Dalek et al.
Pg 204 "'No,' Alsa said. The Eyeless turned its head. 'Explain.' 'It means no.'" Bad Wolf.
Pg 210 "'Infinite menace and a slight hum,' said the Doctor out loud, quoting Douglas Adams." Former script editor of Doctor Who.
Pg 211 "He remembered the last of the Racnoss, consumed in flames. He remembered the death throes of the Pyroviles. He remembered an army of Daleks sucked into the howling Void. He remembered Richard Lazarus, dying in a blitzkreig of sound courtesy of a cathedral organ and the sonic screwdriver." The Runaway Bride, The Fires of Pompeii, Doomsday, The Lazarus Experiment.
Pg 219 "Exterminate." The Daleks.
Pg 239 "And doesn't it just drive you mad?" The Parting of the Ways.
Pg 246 "Who says there are no second chances? What wally ever said that?" The Christmas Invasion.
OLD FRIENDS AND OLD ENEMIES
NEW FRIENDS AND NEW ENEMIES
Alsa, Dela, Gar, Jennver.
PLUGGING THE HOLES [Fan-wank theorizing of how to fix continuity cock-ups]
FEATURED ALIEN RACES
Pg 120 The Eyeless. They're made of glass, have six fingers on each hand, are telepathic and keep souvineers inside themselves.
Pg 123 The Fortress, an automated weapon.
Pg 8 A planet in Galaxy Seven, 292,009
IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
This is fabulous stuff. The first half is just the Doctor and a bunch of outcasts in a deserted city... and it works a treat. The characters are dynamic, the Star Trek setup works and the Doctor is really well developed. Tying this in to the time war, complete with hints about who actually built the weapon, works magnificently. And the engine that powers all this is the menace - and the history - of the Fortress, which looms unnervingly over everything. The second half features the Eyeless and the inside of the Fortress in an action-packed romp. It's not quite as successful, but it's still fun. The Eyeless aren't as effective as they should be, especially as many of the questions about them are raised but not addressed (why do they call themselves the Eyeless?). However, it's the Fortress which is the book's biggest disappointment: nothing could possibly live up to the promise of the first half... and nothing does. The Fortress is revealed to be a big MacGuffin after all, despite so much suggesting that it would be something more. It's not actively bad, but just not as magnificent as it could be. But then, compared to the rest of the NSAs, this is a huge hit and shows the others exactly how it should be done. More like this, please.