Instruments of Darkness
by Gary Russell


Publisher: BBC
ISBN: 0 563 53828 7

     

    BASIC PLOT
    The Doctor and Mel arrive on earth just days before New Year, 1994. An old friend has been kidnapped, murderous enemies are setting up a new life and the doctor's old travelling companion Evelyn Smythe is using her knowledge from the future to make a fortune from chocolate cake recipes.

    DOCTOR
    Sixth.

    COMPANIONS
    Mel and Evelyn Smythe (companion in the sixth Doctor audios).

    Jeremy Fitzoliver isn't named, but it's clear he's John Doe (eg page 278, among others). He appeared in The Paradise of Death and The Ghosts of N-Space.

    MATERIALISATION CIRCUIT
    Norfolk Broads, December 1993.

    PREPARATORY READING
    This book is the third in a trilogy with The Scales of Injustice and Business Unusual. The former is not absolutely required, but the latter definitely is.

    It's helpful to have an idea of who Evelyn Smythe is, for which The Marian Conspiracy provides a good introduction.

    The Paradise of Death and The Ghosts of N-Space might be helpful as well, but I can't recommend these in good conscience. Then again, if you're reading Instruments of Darkness, you're probably a bit of a masochist to begin with, so what the hell.

    CONTINUITY REFERENCES
    Note: As with other sequels, such as The Quantum Archangel, I haven't noted every contintuity references to the explicit prequels, as there are a great many references to "four years ago" and so on. Most of these are throwaway references, so I've only noticed things of particular interest.

    Pg 17 "He had been seconded to a special military and scientific unit connected with Europe and the whole United Nations." This is UNIT.

    Pg 30 "And her enthusiasm coudn't be faulted, whether it was fighting off Vervoids, pan-dimensional terrorists, Chronovores or eighteen-foot Chiropterans" Terror of the Vervoids, uncertain reference, The Quantum Archangel, uncertain reference.

    Pg 31 "I haven't owned a car in... well, a few bodies' time." Not since Bessie.

    Pg 32 Reference to Peri and Grant (the latter is MA companion Grant Markham, first seen in Time of Your Life).

    Pg 33 Recently on a visit to London in the 1920s, the Doctor had made Mel a cosignatory on his Coutts bank account" We saw this account in Birthright.

    Pg 42 "Then in the 1960s, it became home to the government's newest version of black operations, C-19, and its more visible arm, UNIT." C-19 was first mentioned in Time-Flight and seen in Who Killed Kennedy, The Scales of Injustice and Business Unusual. The references to "four years ago" refer to Business Unusual and "a decade earlier" refers to The Scales of Injustice.

    Pg 50 "Their Sene-Net produced laptop" Business Unusual.

    Pg 68 "Oh, he said he was a vegetarian sometimes, when it suited him." The Doctor became a vegetarian in The Two Doctors.

    Pg 72 "A paramilitary task force with specialized scientific and medical sections, dealing with what one might call "the unexplained"" We get a long history of UNIT here (but see Continuity Cock-Ups).

    Pg 77 "He was taller than the Brigadier, and maybe a dozen years older, dressed in a black jacket, frilly white shirt and eccentric cape, with a shock of prematurely white hair." First hint that John Doe is Jeremy Fitzoliver.

    Pg 78 Reference to the fifth Doctor's outfit.

    Pg 82 "Couldn't find the phone when we first met." The Marian Conspiracy.

    Pg 89 "What if during some future battle with the Daleks or Chelonians or the Marmossan Horde she had lost a limb" The Chelonians first appeared in The Highest Science and Mel met them in the Decalog 3 story Fegovy. The Marmossan Horde is presumably made up here, not a reference to something.

    Pg 98 We get a summary of Business Unusual.

    Pg 101 "If not, I'll flag down the Master or that dear girl Romana" Evelyn met Romana in The Apocalypse Element.

    Pg 103 "So has he ever mentioned the Eye of Orion?" The Five Doctors.

    "Did he take you to the Kurgon Wonder?" It's suggested that Evelyn was trapped inside the TARDIS while the sixth Doctor investigated in The Sirens of Time.

    Pg 104 "I met one of my heroes, you know. Charles Darwin" Bloodtide.

    "Tonka? Tonka Travers?" Commodore Travers, from Terror of the Vervoids.

    Pg 110 "Should've left her on the Galapagos." Bloodtide.

    Pg 123 "Melanie Bush was, as far as he knew, safely back at home." Mel ends up back at home at the end of Head Games (but see Heritage).

    Pg 128 "Got involved in one of their weirder jobs, like the Shoreditch incident of '63 and the Henlow Downs one in the Seventies." Remembrance of the Daleks, The Invasion.

    Pg 132 "Doctor, do you remember when we were in London, facing down the Codex?" Millennial Rites.

    Pg 140 "Old Johnnie Subdury's lot." Sir John Sudbury was first mentioned in Time-Flight and appeared in The Scales of Injustice and Business Unusual. He's reported to have been killed here.

    Pg 143 "When you took me to Gallifrey" The Apocalypse Element.

    Pg 144 Reference to Tegan and Peri.

    Pg 145 "She even held her own against an entire Dalek army once" The Apocalypse Element.

    Pg 147 "A stick of Blackpool rock" The Nightmare Fair.

    Pg 149 "Three glowing spheres of pulsating light" Nestenes.

    Pgs 150-152 Jeremy has flashes of his time at UNIT, with memories of the third Doctor, the Brigadier and Sarah.

    Pg 165 "More dangerous than any Dalek or Stalagtron" Uncertain reference.

    Pg 170 "You told me once you wanted to be a train driver." Black Orchid.

    Pg 174 "Now that she had witnesses many types of futuristic megabyte modems around the galaxy" The Ultimate Foe.

    Pg 177 "At least you went to the Eye of Orion" The Five Doctors.

    "You went to Gallifrey!" The Apocalypse Element.

    Pg 185 Reference to Romana and K9.

    Pg 224 "Malvern sat down on a splendidly reconditoned Louis XIV chaise longue" Probably a reference to City of Death.

    "From the hellfire clubs of the eighteenth century" Minuet in Hell.

    "Lords Sandwich and Dashwood tried to harness the powerful netherworlds of devils and magicks." Minuet in Hell.

    Pg 227 "Gallifrey. Rassilon. Pythia. Zagreus. Omega." Rassilon was first mentioned in The Deadly Assassin and first appeared in The Five Doctors. The Pyhia first appeared in Time's Crucible. Zagreus appears in Neverland. Omega first appeared in The Three Doctors.

    Pg 231 Reference to the Brigadier and the Master.

    Pg 257 "Your matrix on Gallifrey, yes?" First seen in The Deadly Assassin.

    Pg 278 "He was a journalist. Not a very good one at that. Mind you, he was a worse photographer." The Paradise of Death.

    "I suppose the IRIS just got put to one side." Planet of the Spiders.

    OLD FRIENDS AND OLD ENEMIES
    Trey Korte, Bob Lines, Ashley and Joe Hambridge all appeared in Business Unusual.

    Ciara and Cellan appeared in The Scales of Injustice and Business Unusual.

    NEW FRIENDS AND NEW ENEMIES
    Janine, Justin Dickinson, Michael Dudley, Torrance Hayton, Shell & Daym.

    Sebastian Malvern, Tko-Ma (the Cylox Magnate).

    CONTINUITY COCK-UPS

    1. Pg 18 "Vice-Marshal Dickinson saw his fine young son off at the end of August and [...] he never saw or heard from him again." This is patently untrue, as he sees him again on page 246: "He and his father were mouthing to each other through the door"
    2. Pg 72 "The Americans, of course, don't believe in the paranormal, aliens or anything else bizarre unless it lives in Roswell." John Doe implies that the Russians and the Americans don't have a branch of UNIT, although he says the Russians have a similar organisation. However, in The Devil Goblins from Neptune, we saw both Russian and American factions of UNIT (the latter admittedly involving Roswell).
    3. Pg 78 "Clashing orange and green spats" The sixth Doctor wore green shoes with red spats.
    4. Pg 143 "When I stepped out of that police box of yours for the last time, five years ago, I swore that if you ever turned up on my doorstep I would never, ever have anything to do with you" completely contradicts the fact that the entire reason she's there is beacuse she's his agent! For example, page 168: "The reason poor Evelyn here had to do all that work for me was to locate them."
    5. Pg 160 Mel knows "older brother, Michael" but on page 49 Joe's brother is called Mark.
    6. Jeremy is killed on page 265, but he nevertheless appears in Interference, set in 1996.

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

    1. Dickinson has a momentary spell of short sightedness and hence cannot actually see his son through the transparent door, but bravely continues to mouth at him anyway.
    2. There's no reason John Doe would know about the Russian or American branches of UNIT, as despite appearances, it is a top secret organisation.
    3. It's quite possible the Doctor adjusted his footwear.
    4. Evelyn is trying to maintain her cover in front of Mel.
    5. Joe has two older brothers and Mel knows them both.
    6. The character here bears so little resemblance to the Jeremy heard on audio that it's likely not actually him and is instead a clone or something, meaning the real one is alive and well and still friends with Sarah.

    FEATURED ALIEN RACES
    The Hirudon Conglomerate, a small and relatively new part of the tri-planet alliance of Calfedoria.

    The Cylox, tall humanoids with long necks and massive brains (see page 254).

    FEATURED LOCATIONS
    Sunsleepland, time unknown.

    Los Angeles, 22 July 1857 and 22 July 1972.

    Oxford, 5 April 1978.

    Reunion, 4 May 1988.

    Halcham (the Peak District), Gohnn (a state island of Micronesia), Auckland, York, Los Angeles, Paris, Norfolk Broads, driving to London via Lincolnshire, Wessex Downs, Brighton, Derbyshire, London. Late December 1993/early 1994.

    IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
    A great steaming pile of irrelevant nonsense. The Doctor, Evelyn and Mel spend their entire time eating while a completely separate plot unfolds elsewhere. The author goes on at length about how Evelyn - a character he created - is the uber companion and how she and the Doctor are secretly in love. That isn't actually the low point of the book, which tells you something about the rest of it. There's too much pointless continuity, yet the book can't even get its own internal continuity right. Jeremy bears absolutely zero relationship to the character heard in the radio plays. But fundamentally, this book is just downright boring. Avoid this travesty.