Bernice saves the world. A lot. Possibly by being Jesus Christ. It's not entirely clear.
Professor Bernice Summerfield.
A cloned smart-raptor called Patience whom, sadly, we never see again.
None. You may be interested to know, however, that this was the last book to feature the NA logo on the front and, indeed, the last Virgin novel to feature Benny on the front as well.
Pg 11 "Interplanetary war had left Earth a changed world - and the changes were hardly subtle." The war in question, although not mentioned by name, would appear to be the Draconian War and the subsequent Dalek Wars from Frontier in Space.
Pg 27 "She took passage on the first trans-orbital whose booking clerk would accept payment by her antique AmEx Platinum card." A present from the Doctor - see Happy Endings and Eternity Weeps.
Pg 64 "We call it the Library of Things That Never Were" which sounds like it's related to the Museum of Things That Don't Exist from The Taking of Planet 5.
Pg 67 Benny is given a drug called NA Crack. Indeed.
Pg 70 "I've been married before." Jason.
Pg 71 "There was a chapter from the Egyptian Book of the Dead." Mentioned in Pyramids of Mars.
Pg 83 "On at least two occasions that she could name, she had actually met gods." Lots of possibilities, arguably, but, to be certain, The Left-Handed Hummingbird, Falls the Shadow, Eternity Weeps (possibly) and, maybe, the Doctor.
Pg 84 "Jumping Jehosophat" feels like a reference to The Five Doctors.
Pg 105 Screen seven of the cinema that Benny crashes into is showing "Indiana Jones: Final Genesis". Arguably, that title sounds like the plot of this novel.
Pg 184 "Only once before had Bernice encountered dinosauria of terrestrial origin." Blood Heat.
Pg 252 Reference to Jason.
Those familiar with Ubisoft's gradually deteriorating but terribly successful computer game series about centuries-old Templar plots to take over the planet would be amazed to find quite how much of the source material appears here. Indeed, The Sword of Forever appears to have more continuity references to a game that wouldn't invented until ten years after it was published than it does to Doctor Who. Which is odd, when you think about it.
Pg 5 Two knights during the crusades find a box of awesome power put there by what appears to be a forerunner race. In the game, these are called Pieces of Eden.
Pg 15 The collapse of the Templar Order here is shown as the opening sequence in Assassin's Creed: Unity (and in Maurice Druon's rather good book, The Iron King).
Pg 17 The Templars have a secret treasure, which others are hunting: "A thing from which your almost limitless wealth flows - and something which has the ability to confer such power as only kings dream of."
Pg 20 Castle Arginy has a series of clever traps and puzzles which you have to solve to get through to the treasure (it's later described as a "trap-laden maze" (page 73). Like most of the Assassin's Creed games.
Pg 32 We are introduced to a character called Ikvor DeLongPre. In Assassin's Creed: Liberation, the lead character is called Aveline de Grandpre.
Pg 53 It turns out that, despite their apparent destruction in 1307, the secret Templar order is still alive and well in the present (well, the future). Just like in the game.
Pg 84 Markus Priest is described as wearing "a very cool assassin's cloak".
Pg 100 The Templars turn out to be, now, a massive, global conspiracy network. Just like in the game.
Pg 120 Raptor Old and Raptor Fast are very similar in style and background to Old and Young Silurian in Doctor Who and the Silurians, which also formed the source material for Mortimore's book Blood Heat and, arguably, Eternity Weeps as well.
Pg 156 There is a depiction of Earth being ruptured by a terrible cataclysm, which is what happens in the backstory to the games when the First Civilisation fell.
There are quite a few others in implication, including a other suggestions of a technologically powerful precursor race, secrets from the dawn of time and plenty of quasi-religious imagery.
OLD FRIENDS AND OLD ENEMIES
NEW FRIENDS AND NEW ENEMIES
Patience, the smart-raptor who is absolutely brilliant throughout.
Marillion, director of Future Foundation Research Group and owner of London.
Hanna, Marcus Priest, Sara and Francoise Beaujeu.
The Abbot Menghist Fisseha. Who has tentacles for eyes.
Emperor Gebmoses III (also sometimes GebMoses).
- Pg 14 "Just the three of us. You, me and the Finger that grassed up Christ." Unless I'm missing some deep subtlety here, this appears to be an almightily stupid thing to say about the Finger of John the Baptist, the artefact in question here. Because John the Baptist baptized Christ (the clue is in the name); it was Judas Iscariot that 'grassed him up'.
- Pg 19 "Arginy, 2560" Now, that's weird, because nine pages ago, in the scene prior to this, it was 2562.
- Pg 163 "I was six when Daniel died" says Sara, and she's 26 now (page 164). Except it's 2595 now, and Daniel died in 2560 (or 2562, depending on which page you believe). And that's either 33 or 35 years ago. We know that Benny has been displaced from her own exact times and space (and she's 42 now (page 252) so that fits), but has Sara too?
- Pg 210 "The route into the castle interior had not changed, though there was twenty years' more rubble to negotiate." The same problem: it's 20 years for Benny, but not for the rubble.
- Pg 214 "The distraction caused by thinking of her former lover had nearly killed her before." This lover is Daniel Beaujeu, who died when Benny was 22. As such, he utterly contradicts the fact that Benny had only had one lover during this time of her life, and his name was Simon Kyle (Love and War, Return of the Living Dad).
- Pg 222 "With the crumpled remains of the Eiffel Tower emerging." They're not very crumpled on the front cover.
PLUGGING THE HOLES [Fan-wank theorizing of how to fix continuity cock-ups]
- Benny has got her Biblical knowledge confused or there has been a radical reinterpretation of the role of John the Baptist since 2016. Or she's drunk.
- There's a weird time-warping effect in the Castle of Arginy. Someone really should have picked that up, though.
- There's still a weird time-warping effect in the Castle of Arginy.
- There's still a weird time-warping effect in the Castle of Arginy.
- We can perhaps assume that Benny means 'lover' in the context of someone she loved and not necessarily someone she had sex with.
- It's still standing, but if you were able to look closer, you would be able to see that the individual bits were, indeed, crumpled.
FEATURED ALIEN RACES
The Raptors, although technically they're inhabitants of Earth from millions of years ago.
Hybrids, monstrous results of the genetic retro-virus that has destroyed much of the French interior. There are lots of different types, all equally attractive.
Pg 3 Egypt, 1287.
Pg 10 Arginy, France, 2562, including the Castle of Arginy in the Massif Central and near the Rhone Valley.
Pg 15 Paris, 1307.
Pg 19 Arginy, 2560 (and see Continuity Cock-Ups).
Pg 22 Paris, 1314.
Pg 25 Antarctica, 2595, 500km south of the Ross Ice Shelf.
Pg 40 Egypt, 2595.
Pg 58 London, 2595, including the British Museum and various other famous landmarks.
Pg 73 Arginy, 1354.
Pg 81 Pangaia, 80 Million BC.
Pg 113 The Midlands, 2595.
Pg 134 Loch Ness, 2595.
Pg 161 Arginy, 2595.
Pg 170 Ethiopia, 2575.
Pg 222 Paris, 2595.
Pg 228 Kampuchea, 2577.
Pg 249 Antioch, 2595.
Pg 258 Pangaia, 80 Million Anno Quincunx. (A quincunx is a pattern of five dots, four in a square and one in the centre, thus forming the shape of a cross.)
Pg 261 Kampuchea, 2595.
Pg 269 The Orient, 4500 Anno Quincunx.
Pg 279 Jerusalem, 3355 Anno Quincunx.
Pg 283 Kampuchea, 150 Anno Quincunx.
Pg 290 Dellah, 2.
IN SUMMARY - Anthony Wilson
And people thought Ghost Light was confusing. I was determined to understand it this time through, and I think I came closer - at least I got that Benny died, recreated herself and then everything she does thereafter is in reverse as she creates the conditions for the story to happen in the first place. I think. OK, maybe. Anyway, it's got some fabulous imagery, some surprising humour, some achingly sad internal monologues, a wonderful guest star in the guise of Patience and, as you would expect with Mortimore, some beautiful language. Equally, as you would expect with Mortimore, it's convoluted in the extreme, incomprehensible in places and incorporates a whole new back-story for Benny that had never been mentioned before and would never be mentioned again, because Jimbo does not play well with others. Also, the ending collapses in a way that suggests Mortimore simply ran out of time. That said, the style, where what you expect never quite happens works brilliantly, and, frankly, Benny's conversation with Markus Priest is worth the entry price alone. It's a book I end up liking despite myself and, often, despite the book.