The Doctor, Fitz and Compassion are investigating the work of the Frontier Worlds Corporation, the directors of which have, perhaps, been spending too long among their plants. Erm, that's about it, but don't get this wrong; it's really rather good.
Fitz and Compassion, who spend most of the story under the pseudonyms of Frank and Nancy Sinatra.
Pg 1 Near the Mozarno residence, in advance of this chapter
Pg 5 Somewhere on Drebnar, where it stays, not being much of a feature of this plot.
Pg 271 Back at the Mozarno residence.
It's still part of the vague arc about Compassion's nature, so you might want to check out the previous four books. They're not exactly vital, though.
The title of every chapter is a title or a line from a Sinatra number. Since a point is made of this, it's consistent throughout and there's a plot reason for it, it's a lot less irritating than the old days of NA authors gratuitously naming chapters after pop songs that they happened to like. It made me smile.
Pg 5 "Dewfurth wasn't looking into the abyss, he was staring at the Doctor." The NAs would often suggest that these two things were one and the same, starting with that oh-so-famous quote in The Left-Handed Hummingbird.
Pgs 12-13 "The Doctor offered him another thready smile, reached behind Fitz's ear, and produced a bruised red apple." This might be a conjuring trick on the Doctor's part, but it might also be that old favourite, transmigration of object, from The Ambassadors of Death and, more recently, explained at length in Interference part I.
Pg 14 "Fitz noticed that the Doctor had taken off one of his shoes, and was examining its torn sole forlornly. 'These were such a good fit.'" The Telemovie.
"I managed to get a job at Reddenblak." We don't know this for sure, but it's possible that Anghelides had recently seen Les Miserables when he wrote this book, as there's a song in that musical called 'Red and Black'. Note also that Reddenblak's Directors' surnames are Linoir and Larugge, which pretty much translate from the French as 'The Black' and 'The Red'.
Pg 22 "'I'm misquoting Rudyard Kipling,' said Fitz, obviously very pleased with himself." The Doctor met Kipling in Evolution, but we've been trying to forget that book for ages now.
Pg 41 "The room is awash with the scents of sandalwood and summertime and surprise." The Eighth Doctor has smelled of sandalwood for ages - I think it began in Seeing I - and 'surprise' may just be a subtle reference to Bernice 'Surprise' Summerfield.
"A schoolboy with a blank face applauds solemnly. He seems to give them a thin smile, although he has no mouth and his eyes are empty." This may be an image for the sake of imagery, but it may also be a reference to Turlough or to Timothy Dean in Human Nature (the book). Or maybe I'm thinking too hard about Human Nature since, as I write this, it will start broadcasting in the UK in approximately two hours.
Pg 43 "He told them he needed the TARDIS to stay put, unaffected by any further broad-spectrum interference. It was as good an excuse as any to get them both into town." This follows on from suggestions at the end of The Taking of Planet 5 that the Doctor wants Compassion to interact with humanity more, and therefore shouldn't be able to return to the TARDIS.
Pg 44 "And with the TARDIS behaving rather erratically recently -" Part of the ongoing arc wherein the TARDIS seeks dimensional anomalies, leading to the conclusion in The Shadows of Avalon.
Pg 46 "The time winds catch the long red hair." Time winds are from Warriors' Gate, whilst the long red hair that the TARDIS displays here suggests Compassion's future transformation in The Shadows of Avalon...
"The Doctor closes his eyes, feeling that anger and frustration flood through him. And holding the earpiece in his hand." ... as does the presence of this earpiece.
Pg 53 "The TARDIS has been through a rough time recently." Despite the fact that she wasn't there, the best we can suggest that Compassion is referring to is Unnatural History.
Pg 56 "It has sixty-nine chromosomes divided into twenty-three homogenous triads." The Doctor's DNA was established to be this way in Interference part II.
Pg 62 "His shadow appeared to turn a fraction of a second later. How odd, it must be the aftereffects of the self-healing coma, he decided, affecting his perception." The Faction Paradox fake shadow from Interference part II. See also Continuity Cock-Ups.
"The violinist, he decided. Yes, it was Fritz Kreisler." Nothing particularly continuity-based here, but what a tremendous coincidence of name.
Pg 66 "'Well, you can't expect a mechanical device to develop a mind of its own' 'Oh, I don't know about that,' pondered the Doctor." He's presumably thinking of K9.
Pg 71 "The Doctor had never seen a live Raab before. He did remember showing an illustration of one to a former travelling companion, several lifetimes ago, and explaining about its unimaginable size. She had dismissively described the creature as 'the Jolly Green Giant's very own sweet corn.'" We're guessing here, but we reckon it was Sarah Jane; it sounds like her.
Pg 81 "Who'd have thought that the spare [sonic screwdriver] would have rolled under the TARDIS console and remained there through two entire lifetimes?" An explanation for its sudden appearance in the Telemovie after being destroyed in The Visitation. Also see Continuity Cock-Ups.
Pg 85 "I suppose that's to reduce the common fear that people have of robots, the lack of empathy and expression." Robophobia, as we saw in The Robots of Death.
Pg 87 "Compassion was famished. She'd been away from her terminal for nearly an hour." This is a stunning piece of foreshadowing, as Anghelides doesn't state what Compassion is hungry for, goes immediately on to talking about her being cut off from her computer terminal, and then she goes to the canteen a paragraph later. Only in retrospect can you manage to notice that she's hungry due to lack of computer access, not due to lack of food; the canteen is mere coincidence. All of which foreshadows The Shadows of Avalon.
Pg 89 "FROM USER JAMES BOWMAN." The pseudonym comes from the Telemovie originally, and was first used in the books in Seeing I.
Pg 94 "Then she pushed at the door, which tumbled off into blackness, a dark pit with no discernible bottom. Compassion grabbed desperately at the broken frame." Very similar, despite this being in cyberspace, to Resurrection of the Daleks.
Pg 101 "There, revolving slowly about its axis against a grid-pattern of question marks, was a line drawing of the TARDIS." Do we really need to explain this one?
Pg 118 "When I worked at the garden centre" The Taint.
Pg 127 "That must be why the moment seems so perfect to you. Memory cheats." JNT's famous catchphrase, which has rarely been used so artfully, and with such pathos, before.
Pg 128 "My security staff found it on your person, along with some strange confectionary." Jelly babies.
Pg 129 "while Time is a fine teacher, she eventually kills all her pupils." Great line.
Pg 130 "The Doctor flexed the muscles in his arm experimentally. The metallic straps that held them to the operating chair did not budge. What was it that Harry Houdini had taught him? Tense your muscles while you're being tied up before the escape." Ben did something similar to this in The Highlanders. The Doctor mentioned having met Houdini in Planet of the Spider.
"Pianist's fingers, he thought." The newly regenerated Master, in First Frontier, had the notable attribute of 'pianist's fingers'. We doubt that this is important.
Pg 131 "It was just a flesh wound." The Doctor's excuse for his remarkable healing powers are reminiscent of one of the most famous moments in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
"and so wouldn't have spotted the temporal imprimatur." The Two Doctors, and see Continuity Cock-Ups.
Pg 133 "The Doctor let out a piercingly shrill scream. He'd had a number of travelling companions who used to do much the same thing." The Doctor did something similar in The Power of Kroll, and as to the rest, we'll just mention Victoria and Fury from the Deep and leave it there.
"But that thing's so cold. Couldn't you breathe on the end of it for a bit." This is reminiscent of the silly torture sequence in City of Death, where the Doctor succumbs because his torturer has cold thumbs. Whither Genesis of the Daleks?
Pg 145 "I was reminded of the first time I had stepped into the TARDIS." The Taint.
Pg 171 "I did see something similar on an episode of Dr Kildare ." That Fitz watched this programme was also mentioned in The Taint.
Pg 172 "'Dr Who?' said Compassion." Boom boom.
Pg 174 "I could have dropped down on the spot and fallen into a profound and dream-filled sleep. That was entirely my problem." Fitz was also having issues with his dreams in The Taking of Planet 5. Compassion, who dreamed at the end of that book, doesn't answer Fitz's question about what she dreams here.
"I was thinking about the remembrance tanks on Anathema." Interference part II.
"When I think of my mum, for instance, I remember her last and best in the home, not in her home." The Taint.
Pg 182 "I thought of Chairman Mao's little red book." Revolution Man.
Pg 195 "Way up above us, past the tree line, I could still see the needle points of the unfamiliar starts in an alien sky." Kind of quoted from An Unearthly Child.
Pg 196 "Back home on Earth, I wouldn't have known the Big Dipper from the Plough." We're going to assume that this is a joke, given that those are alternate names for the same constellation. Given that Fitz is British, however, it would have made more sense for the joke to have been between the Great Bear and the Plough.
Pg 198 "'Being in the TARDIS,' I said. 'It's changed me, I suppose. It can change you too, if you let it.'" Oh, Gods, yes. See The Shadows of Avalon.
Pg 205 "When I'd worked in the garden centre at West Wycombe." The Taint.
Pg 224 "It reminded him of the time he'd lived in the South of England." The early part of the Third Doctor's tenure.
Pg 225 "They looked like the skin on an enormous bubbling rice pudding." Remembrance of the Daleks. Maybe.
Pg 228 "'What would you say,' he gabbled, 'if I told you this: "The next thing I say is true; the last thing I said was a lie"?' 'Get off with you,' snapped the robot." Fair enough, and The Green Death.
Pg 236 "What gives either of you the right to destroy my work?" Reminiscent of the Doctor's crisis of conscience in Genesis of the Daleks.
Pg 246 "I'm their new scientific advisor." The UNIT years.
Pg 254 "Like when he seemed to tell their future. Or read their minds." The Telemovie and so on.
Pg 267 "You can't usually put a society to rights with a snap of your fingers, or wipe out the bad guys by joining two wires together." Genesis of the Daleks, somewhat brutally.
Pg 268 Another reference to the Remembrance Tanks from Interference part II.
Pg 269 "I dream of the time vortex." Compassion had the same dream in The Taking of Planet 5.
OLD FRIENDS AND OLD ENEMIES
NEW FRIENDS AND NEW ENEMIES
Shar Mozarno and his wife, Marog.
Security Chief Kupteyn.
Hannaw Applin, Direk Merdock, Stinricz Lowfer, Rhadoon Haroon, Brab Tanquis, Nilloc Jascot, Bragnor Regot, Nadaly Allder, Pora Darg.
Sorrel Linoir and Jiulyan Larruge, from Reddenblak, and their lawyer, Mr Regot.
Fish which have been genetically mutated using the Raab plant, which can swim in an ice-covered lake, detect vibrations on the ice, burn through it with super-heated foreheads and then consume viciously whatever sinks into view. Nice.
There are some quite cute quadrupeds called leppos, roughly the size of cars with back legs that they use to thump the ground. They turn out to be fish-food.
It's made clear that the inhabitants of Drebnar aren't human, but it's not clear what they look like.