Martha and the Doctor discover an apparently deserted starship, and soon, a village appears in the middle of the craft. As they try to work out the mystery of the village, and its connection to the ship, they find out that the village has other problems - fog and monsters surround them at every turn, and their children have been going missing.
Pg 14 On board the Castor.
Pg 17 "It reminds me of another ship, a craft with a link to a person from the history of your planet..." The Girl in the Fireplace.
Pg 21 "If you've encountered rhino-headed storm troopers and witches on broomsticks, she reasoned, you've got to keep your options open." Smith and Jones, The Shakespeare Code.
Pg 30 "Isn't Brunel buried there?" Reckless Engineering.
Pg 86 "'He's amazing,' said Martha, remembering her first proper meeting with the Doctor, and the surprise she'd got when she'd heard two hearts beating through her stethoscope. 'For all I know, you could chop off his arm and he'll grow a new one.'" Smith and Jones, The Christmas Invasion.
Pg 244 "Perhaps, one day, I will go back." The Dalek Invasion of Earth/The Five Doctors.
OLD FRIENDS AND OLD ENEMIES
NEW FRIENDS AND NEW ENEMIES
Petr, Saul, Jude, Dazai, the creature, Thom, Kristine.
- Pg 32 "It says we're both standing in Security Room B" Except that on page 33 "The Doctor and Martha left the security room" then on page 34 "They headed back the way they had come, past the dead guards and the rooms filled with slumbering equipment", followed by "one identical corridor after another"... only to arrive "Just opposite Security Room B was a cadaver". And Martha can't be thinking retroactively, because she only starts navigating by dead bodies some time into this journey.
PLUGGING THE HOLES [Fan-wank theorizing of how to fix continuity cock-ups]
- Dead body navigation isn't very reliable and tends to send you in a circle. Martha is clearly no traumatised by all the bodies that she doesn't feel the need to comment on this.
FEATURED ALIEN RACES
Pgs 60/122 A creature with prominent, ridged bones, eviscerating skin, slender limbs and scarlet eyes. It has an emaciated lizard-like face and body, huge bat wings and a large spiked tail.
Pg 96 An animal with a bristly brown hide, a mouth full of tusks and black eyes.
A purplish creature with thick, multijointed legs, stunted wings covered with barbs and pustules, a tapering neck, a vertically flattened face and lidless black eyes.
Pg 200 Bullet-shaped water creatures.
Pgs 221-222 A creature with globular appendages that pulse with internal light and might be extra brains or heads, as well as smaller limbs that ebb and flow like hair, and a central body made up of rounded shapes.
Pg 14 The Castor and a simulation inside of it.
Pgs 162/168 A house and a courtroom, long ago (page 180), seen as part of a VR simulation (page 186).
IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
This is a very elegant book. It sets up a central mystery and then runs with it quite effectively, eventually peeling the layers to reveal a very satisfying backstory. Some of the events, such as the children randomly reappearing because the creature wanted to give the villagers hope, are a bit contrived, but they don't detract from a very satisfying, self-contained novel.