Falls the Shadow
by Daniel O'Mahony

Publisher: BBC
ISBN: 0 426 20427 1


    Professor Winterdawn's experiments with Interstitial time have wounded the universe, and it has responded by creating Tanith and Gabriel, two sadists with no morality whatsoever. Unwittingly, the Doctor is sent in to sort the problem out, but, it transpires, he's not very good at it.


    Ace and Benny.

    Pg 24 Shadowfell.

    Pg 310 Cathedral.

    None, although a vague familiarity with The Time Monster would not go amiss. What's that you say? Not for all the Scringestone on Ribos? Fair enough.

    Pg 16 "She touched her hair nervously, seizing clumps between her fingers and tugging. It was comfortably long now, but she repeated the ritual endlessly, just to reassure herself." Ace had her head shaved in the previous novel, St Anthony's Fire.

    Pg 20 "This reminded me of a sticky situation I've been in before. Daleks perhaps. No, this is different." The TARDIS is being invaded by an alien presence and the situation he's remembering is the White Guardian cutting in in Enlightenment, even though the Doctor mis-attributes it. That's particularly clever, since the book later implies that the grey man is fallen from the ranks of the Guardians.

    Pg 23 Reference to the Eye of Harmony from The Deadly Assassin and everything that's spun from that.

    Pg 24 "The music reached a crescendo. The console room bleached out in a holocaust of white." The theme sequence from the JNT years.

    Pg 33 "Ace hugged herself. Derelict houses formed part of a vivid childhood nightmare." Ghost Light.

    Pg 34 "Benny adopted a light accent, startling the other woman with her uncanny vocal impersonation of the Time Lord." Anyone who has heard the Big Finish audio Professor Bernice Summerfield and the Criminal Code will know how very, very bad Benny's impersonation of the Doctor actually is.

    Pg 43 "'Cranleigh,' the man responded, grinning happily." Cranleigh is a main character in this, and may well be part of the family to which we were introduced in Black Orchid.

    Pg 48 "The house had a deeper power than any haunted venue from her childhood." Ghost Light again.

    Pg 49 A brief reference to Ace's Mum, who haunted series 26 and made a cameo appearance in Timewyrm: Revelation.

    Pg 58 "Miserable, ragged wretches condemned to tramp up those steps forever." This is a literary depiction of a famous picture by MC Escher, which was the one which inspired Christopher H. Bidmead to write Castrovalva.

    Pg 59 Reference to "bloody mutant dustbin bastards". Hmmm. Not entirely sure what this means...

    "Even cowards and traitors get their kids into military schools." Reference to the (incorrect) theory that Benny's father ran away from a military engagement, mentioned in Love and War and resolved in Return of the Living Dad.

    Pg 60 Reference to Daleks. Oh, that must be what they meant!

    "If she'd not gone to Heaven." Love and War.

    References to Benny's father and mother.

    Pg 61 "The Doctor laughing as he destroys worlds." An uncharitable approach to Remembrance of the Daleks.

    "Her mother screaming in the heart of an explosion, igniting like a slow-motion firework." Love and War and we get to see this in Parasite. Lucky us.

    Pg 76 Reference to Draconians, from Frontier in Space.

    Pg 78 "Besides, his private research into the Thascales theorem uncovered a few things that set his mind racing." Professor Thascales was a pseudonym for the Master in The Time Monster.

    Pg 93 Reference to Daleks.

    Pg 107 Reference to Mel, from Terror of the Vervoids through Dragonfire, with lots of books in between.

    Pg 113 "There was a murmur of discontent from the anti-imperialists as the chairman announced the UN's terms for the return of Thascales' research." All in the wake of The Time Monster.

    Pg 116 On the subject of Professor Thascales, aka the Master as played by Roger Delgado: "He's dead. He drove his car into a wall in the mid-seventies. His body was burned beyond all recognition. Nasty." This is presumably a UNIT cover-up for the disappearance of the Master in The Time Monster but, given that Roger Delgado died in a car-crash, this is in decidedly questionable taste.

    "The gap between now and now." A description of interstitial time, as quoted from The Time Monster.

    Pg 119 "Sandra was standing in the doorway, the woman who called herself Ace beside her. Both wore smiles that were not so much smug as triumphant. Winterdawn started, suspicious of the sudden rapport between his daughter and her attacker." Ace befriending the daughter of the lord of the manor is, once again, reminiscent of Ghost Light.

    "i swear to protect the ancient law of gallifrey with all my might and main and to the end of my days i will with justice and with honour temper my actions and my thoughts." The Invasion of Time.

    "i am a kind man who never uses violence where it is not necessary i am never cruel or cowardly." Terrance Dicks' description of the Doctor as hero.

    Pg 131 "A journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step." Image of the Fendahl.

    "Gradually it dawned on Winterdawn that the oval was not in the Doctor's palm but distant." That's what we could perhaps refer to as a meta-reference to the Doctor's explanation of dimensional transcendentalism in The Robots of Death.

    Pg 148 "Ace was born in North London in 1970, Benny on an Earth colony in 2422." This very neatly dates all sorts of things, specifically the date of Ace's removal from Earth in the time-storm and Love and War (to 2452, as it starts with Benny's thirtieth birthday). It also - hurrah! - remembers that Benny wasn't born on Earth but on Beta Caprisis, which many NA authors have forgotten of late.

    Pg 173 "I believe in the greatest good for the greatest number. Bentham said that and he was right." The philosopher Jeremy Bentham, who defined utilitarianism for the modern age, also came up with the word 'Panopticon'. He is a direct ancestor of arch-Doctor Who fan and writer Jeremy Bentham.

    Pg 176 "I rarely settle. Perhaps I should. I did once, but I was a different person then." Spearhead from Space.

    "My family is gone, long gone." A kind of reference to The Tomb of the Cybermen, but also predicting Lungbarrow in a way.

    Pg 181 More references to Benny's mother and father, followed by "so many people died in the transit tunnels because you let that creature inside you" which references, you will be not be surprised to know, Transit.

    "Dorothy firebombed her mind as she fire-bombed houses." Ghost Light.

    Pg 182 "Ace becomes baby Dorothy again, and Iceworld, Gabriel Chase, the Doctor, Benny and the Daleks are things the future holds in store." Dragonfire, Ghost Light, Love and War, Remembrance of the Daleks (and all the fighting that Ace did in the Dalek War before Deceit).

    Pg 186 "'She was full of energy. A very intelligent woman, a wonderful person. Loved cats and logic problems. Fun while it lasted. What a bloody way to die.' The Doctor felt that he should say something, but there was nothing there. A cold lump in his throat and a blank mind in his skull. Winterdawn's words reminded him of age, of his past." On first glance, that seems a very strange reaction for the Doctor, but this actually appears to be a very subtle reference to the NA idea that the seventh Doctor sacrificed his previous self, who loved cats, you'll remember, in order to be born. It's quite clever, actually.

    Pg 196 "She'd never felt like this before. Not when Julian died. Not when Mike died. Not when Sorin died. Not when Jan died." Love and War, Remembrance of the Daleks, The Curse of Fenric, Love and War.

    Pg 214 "Just think, everything you've done - or haven't done - since you appeared on Svartos." Dragonfire.

    Pg 221 On the Daleks and the Doctor: "At times the contest seems to be one to find which of you can display the least possible morality." Remembrance of the Daleks.

    "'Nothing is irredeemably evil.' The grey man was shaking his head slowly. 'Especially not the Daleks. You should know, you've seen it.'" Presumably a reference to Genesis of the Daleks, although it's a bit unclear.

    Pg 239 "But there must be guilt." Of course there must; this is an NA.

    Pg 253 And, on that subject, Benny sums up the three main tropes of the NAs: "Is it a parallel thingy, a virtual thingy or a computer thingy?"

    Pg 255 "The cosmos formed during Event One. There was a hydrogen rush which defined the parameters of the material universe." Castrovalva.

    Pg 256 "The virus sterilized the world. It became the dominant lifeform, ruling supreme." A clever reference to Genesis of the Daleks.

    "Them and us. Black and white. Good and evil." It's all a bit subtextual, but the implication is that the grey man is from the same group of people who produced the Black and White Guardians from the Key to Time saga and the fifth Doctor sequels.

    Pg 257 And then there's a direct reference to Daleks.

    "It tapped into the mathematical core of the universe." Logopolis.

    Pg 280 "He would have to arrange her burial. That would be an experience. He'd never buried friends before. They had so many interesting ways of dying, they rarely left corpses behind. Reduced to dust, incinerated in antimatter explosions..." The Doctor thinks Benny is dead, and therefore references Sara Kingdom (The Daleks' Masterplan) and Adric (Earthshock). This also vaguely prefigures Roz's death in So Vile A Sin. Before we move on, can we just note that the Doctor describing the way in which his close friends have died as 'interesting' is a terrible piece of writing. Yes, he's alien, but he's not a complete bastard.

    Reference to the Reverend Trelaw from Timewyrm: Revelation.

    Pg 289 "The Marquis de Sade was executed in effigy because they hadn't caught him yet." O'Mahony's next book, equally as fluffy and fun-filled as this one, features the Marquis de Sade. It's called The Man in the Velvet Mask.

    Pg 333 "C. Moore Wedderburn's The Trail of the Black Orchid: A botanical and zoological guide to the journeys of George Cranleigh." Black Orchid, and, yes, pretty much confirms that the Justin Cranleigh of this novel is in some way related.

    Pg 355 "We've not done good, have we?" A deliberate reflection of the end of Remembrance of the Daleks.


    The Grey Man is the only apparent survivor and he actually died during the course of the book at least three times. Those people who were real at the start of the book end up dead, and those people who should never have existed at the beginning of the book also end up dead. It's not, shall we say, the happiest book ever written.


    1. Pg 48 "'I think we should go after her,' she said after a moment's consideration. 'Go through the house one floor at a time. Keep a low profile. Could be risky, but it's better than abandoning Benny.'" Ace presents this argument, that they ought to look for Benny rather than abandoning her, as if it were a possibility. Try and imagine the opposite: "I think we should leave. She's worthless. May as well abandon her completely", and wonder why the conversational gambit ever even appeared to make sense for the Doctor and Ace. It's made worse by the fact that Doctor 'nods his agreement'. The callous bastard was clearly considering it.
    2. Pg 132 "'I've got a bloody good voice,' Ace protested." Well, she did in Timewyrm: Genesys, but not in The Happiness Patrol.
    3. Pg 220 The grey man refers to the Doctor as 'Theta Sigma', to which we get "Theta Sigma was a secret he kept well guarded. It was not his name but it identified him uniquely among the Time Lords." Really? There are 24 letters in the Greek alphabet, making a total of 526 different combinations, and there are a lot more Time Lords around than that. I'm called Anthony Wilson, but that hardly identifies me uniquely amongst the peoples of Earth. Also, Drax knows this name, so it's not exactly going to be the universe's best-kept secret.

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

    1. Despite their seemingly better relationship of late, Ace clearly hates Benny with a passion and therefore thinks nothing of potentially abandoning her. She's only really suggesting that they look for her because she wants to keep in the Doctor's good books. What a horrible person she has become.
    2. Ace has gained in confidence since season 25.
    3. Gallifreyan names are allocated on a year-by-year basis, with a different theme for each year, thus it wasn't for long that people took names from the Greek alphabet. Bet they were all pissed off that Omega had already been taken, though, and imagine the poor guy called Pi Ro (who probably worked in the Gallifreyan Arsonists division). After this, Gallifreyans used different sources. One year, they used Doctor Who villains, so there's a Time Lord out there called Davros Vaughan, and another one going by the unfortunate monicker of Mestor Yartek Of The Alien Voord. You should see the year they used My Little Pony and Care Bears. No wonder she calls herself Romana.

    Qxeleq is an insectoid student from an alternative Earth than never happened.

    Tanith and Gabriel are the damaged cosmos made carnate in the pattern of sadists.

    The grey man is possibly one of the Guardians, possibly Lucifer, the fallen angel.

    The Mandelbrot set are big stone heads who rule over the Hell that is Cathedral. They are also the thing that, by virtue of their name, really, truly date this book to the early 1990s.

    The house called Winterfell.

    The meta-cultural engine known as Cathedral.

    The nowhere place that is interstitial time.

    IN SUMMARY - Anthony Wilson
    It really is very well-written, crafted, with every sentence having weight, if not always meaning. But it's far, far too long and has far, far too much misery, pain and torture even for an NA. That O'Mahony makes the Doctor powerless and useless and gives him no redemption or chance to be a hero is tragic, whilst Tanith and Gabriel are allowed to be sadistic for our apparent entertainment for way too long. In the end, when the plot is explained to Benny on Page 295, she commits suicide, and I found it hard to blame her. A book that really did start well, and then got longer.