Roots: The novel opens with a quotation from Kyla Ward's The Traveller. There are quotations from "The Gingerbread Man", Henrik Ibsen's En Folkefiende, Carmina Burana, Margaret Murray, Napoleon, 'Kin' Hubbard's A Thousand and One Epigrams, Jan Standinger, Kokin Shu, Keith Preston, G. K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy, Austin Dobson's The Paradox of Time, Sun Tzu, Will Rogers, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. There are references to Sun Tzu, Monty Python's "Dead Parrot" sketch, Les Misérables, the Batcave, Nirvana, The Mummy, Jung, Greek Mythology, H. R. Giger, Hitler, Shakespeare's Hamlet, Anton Chekhov, Mary Shelley, Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, and The Wizard of Oz.
Goofs: The cover.
Dialogue Disasters: "Cruk off."
Dialogue Triumphs: "If I'd had any sense I'd have taken away your matches before you could burn yourself - or anyone else."
"If you make a hole, something will probably decide to live in it."
"It's very difficult to keep the human race on the straight and narrow."
Continuity: The Ants are four foot high at the shoulder and made of reflective silvery metal with bronze highlights. Their eyeless heads are covered in antennae and jointed tools. They serve Ship. The doughnut-shaped Ship is organic and made of vegetable matter. It uses the Ants to collect minds from abducted space travellers of various species. They have never encountered a Time Lord prior to the Doctor. The Leech is a curved piece of vegetable matter designed to extract useful information from the minds of intelligent beings; it kills its victims in the process. Ship travels through space and time via the rifts left by Kadiatu's time machine. It drains power from the Time Vortex. Earth colonists built Ship in the very far future, as a computer into which they could upload their minds. It fell into one of the rifts that Kadiatu's ship created, sustaining serious damage to its programming, causing it to try and assimilate all living minds into itself. Ship installs technology into its would-be slaves, including the Doctor and Kadiatu. Hoppers are large crab-like devices made of a fusion of machinery and flesh, designed by Ship to allow its human agents travel through time. The Doctor kills Ship whilst connected to its nervous system.
The Doctor first met Death on a hillside on Gallifrey, when he ran out of the house and up the mountain. Time describes him as her champion (see Love and War). He meets both of them in a dream, which Kadiatu seemingly shares. A flutterwing is a Gallifreyan insect. Pain visits Benny in a dream and tells her about the vulnerable ganglion under the Doctor's shoulder. There is graffiti in the Panopticon that reads, "History is time's way of preventing everything from happening at once", plus a joke about Time Lord suicide. Pain claims that she has a bargain with the Doctor. She is older than Death. Time Lord nanites can re-grow lost limbs.
Time Lords have a major ganglion just below their left shoulder that functions almost as a tiny, separate brain and allows them fine control over their own metabolism; a blow to the ganglion can render a Time Lord unconscious or cause immense pain. The Doctor normally only sleeps for an hour or so out of every forty-eight. After he repaired the TARDIS with Goibhnie's protoplasm (Cat's Cradle: Witch Mark) it infected the mind of the TARDIS and thus his own mind for several months; it changed the way he thought like a subtle form of possession, until he fought it off [there is possibly an implication that this is responsible for his actions towards Ace in Love and War]. He drinks mineral water on board the Cortese. He sustains a split, purple bruise to his left cheek when punched whilst being captured by Ship's human agents. Whilst held prisoner on Ship, he is stripped and suffers from exhaustion, dehydration and malnutrition. His blood volume decreases, and he suffers considerable subcutaneous bruising on his back, and a greenstick fracture in his thigh. He renders Ms Cohen unconscious by pinching her forehead. He is subjected to the Leech nineteen times; it can scan his mind, but not process it. He can switch off his mind and feigns death in an attempt to escape. He later goes into genuine double cardiac arrest, but Ms. Cohen resuscitates him. His pockets contain a slingshot, some coins, a dog-eared paperback, a jade brooch (see The Aztecs, The Left-Handed Hummingbird), and a toffee wrapped in paper. Whilst on the ship, he deactivates a force shield using a spoon. He carries a three-dimensional holographic map of the galaxy. Benny claims that his hat is the only white fedora ever made. He was warned never to talk to the dead at the Academy. He drinks wine for breakfast with Kadiatu and Thierry. He once told the Brigadier about the vulnerable ganglion so that he could exploit the knowledge if he ran into the Master again. Ship temporarily infects his body, including his eyes, with plant tissue in an attempt to assimilate him, turning his eyes green.
Ace's surname is McShane. She was still listed in the pan-European database of missing persons in 2006. Ace has been in dozens of deserts, and once stayed alive in a desert with blue sand and a green sun by drinking ground water and eating lizards and beetles. When she was very young and had a cold, her mother would stay at home with her and she would play with Lego. Whilst stranded in Ancient Egypt, she becomes one of Lord Sedjet's bodyguards; they call her Tepy, which means First One. She kicks an Assurian bodyguard in the groin having broken a beer jug over his head to rebuke his advances. She tells them stories about her past, including the death of Mike (Remembrance of the Daleks). She wears a personal force shield generator around her wrist. She gets a scar on her shoulder during a battle. She changes history, writing a message in English in Ancient Egypt, which Bernice remembers as a great archaeological mystery that lasts into the twenty-fifth century and is known as the Armana Graffito. After leaving Sedjet, she ends up waiting on tables in a tavern, having failed to enlist in the Egyptian army because she is a woman. She destroys an Ant with a khopesh and kills several of Pharaoh's guards. Back in the TARDIS, she changes into a denim shirt and jeans. She carriers a flechette-thrower, which she calls her "Flash Gordon" gun. She also carries a Draconian army knife. Her combat suit is destroyed along with Ship. One of her earliest memories is picking up a black kitten out of a litter, joking that it was sleeping too much, and setting it on its feet; when the dead cat fell to the floor with a thump, she screamed and ran to her father. Ace's father is dead. Ace finally leaves the Doctor here at the age of twenty-six, remaining in nineteenth century Paris to protect the rifts, using Ship's hoppers to travel in time. The Doctor traced her family tree long before they visited Whitby and knew that she would end up in nineteenth century Paris. She visits Denon in Paris in 1815 at the age of twenty-eight, and Glebe, Sydney, in 1993 at the age of thirty-seven. By this point in her life, she is having a relationship with one of Sorin's ancestors. She fights aliens in Paris during the 1850s, who arrive through the rift and flee as soon as she mentions the Doctor, visits the Boston tea party, and manages to travel as far forward as 2002, when she visits Cristián and Ben (The Left-Handed Hummingbird). She considers saving Manisha, but thinks better of it; she does however arrange for her killers to be arrested.
Bernice eats grapes and drinks absinthe in Cairo. She drinks beer in a seedy bar and wins a drinking competition in order to gain information. She arrives in France when she first falls through the rift and separated from the TARDIS is forced to recall her high-school French. Her travel bag contains gold, vodka, antibiotics and camping equipment. She has studied Vivant Denon in the past, and deliberately sets out to meet him when stranded in France. Cultists steal her diary in Egypt.
Kadiatu has never been ill in her life. She has worked out what her origins are (see Transit). Kadiatu's travels in time and space leave permanent dimensional rifts in their wake, leaving a copy of a café at every arrival and departure point. Her time machine works, but she can't choose its destination. She has visited Arizona, Paris, the twenty-fifth century, and Mars, where she nearly crashed and was immediately forced to perform a second jump. Kadiatu's brother was first shown in public six days after his birth, and had several midwives. She has read secret documents in Stone Mountain that refer to the Master and Time Lords' vulnerable ganglia. Ship implants technology into Kadiatu, around her brainstem; under the control of the dying Ship, she jumps into the rift and disappears into time and space.
Links: Transit. Ace's new home was first hinted at in the portrait of her in the extended video release of Silver Nemesis and her liaison with one of Sorin's ancestors in Ian Briggs' novelisation of The Curse of Fenric. There is a reference to Iceworld (Dragonfire) and Ace's dream of Jan (Love and War) on Belial (Lucifer Rising). Meijer mentions Daleks. Ace reads ancient texts whilst in Egypt, looking for signs of the Doctor; she finds a reference to Daleks at the Pyramids (The Daleks' Master Plan) and looks for records of hers and the Doctor's meeting with Gilgamesh (Timewyrm: Genesys). She recalls visiting Tenochtitlan (The Left-Handed Hummingbird). There is a quotation from City of Death. Benny recalls the Hoothi (Love and War). There are references to Gallifreyan Outsiders (The Invasion of Time), the Draconians (Frontier in Space), the Exxilons (Death to the Daleks), Fenric (The Curse of Fenric), Sutekh (Pyramids of Mars), the death of Benny's mum (Love and War), the Doctor dislocating his shoulder and Robin Yeadon (Nightshade), Time Soldiers (The Dimension Riders), the Doctor destroying Skaro (Remembrance of the Daleks), his defeat of the Timewyrm (Timewyrm: Revelation), Olleril (Tragedy Day), Peladon (Legacy), and Antykhon (Birthright). Ace uses some of the Sisterhood's salve to heal her wounds (Timewyrm: Exodus). The Doctor tells Ace that he was once stranded, which might be a reference to The Crystal Bucephalus.
Location: Near Akhetaten, Egypt, 1366 BC; Cairo, Egypt, 1798AD; Paris, May 1871 AD and 5th October 1815; the Cortese, and Bellatrix City, the twenty-fifth century; Glebe, Sydney, Earth, 1995 and 14th July 1993; and on board Ship.
Future History: By the twenty-fifth century, the Cortese is the epitome of luxury starliners; cheaper options include fridge ships, which place passengers in suspended animation. "Cruk" is a common swearword. Slavery is no longer economically viable, since robots are cheaper than people. Set worshippers turned up on Eridani in the twenty-fourth century. Ace refers to Draconian jihads
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor met Sun Tzu, and eventually fell out with him when Sun Tzu killed two of the King's wives to win an argument. He also worked as a military advisor to the King. The Doctor and the thirty-seven year old Ace defeat the Voltranons' attempt to conquer earth using a plague in 1993, Ace rescuing the Doctor from a Klein sphere.
Q.v. Benny's Birthday, Love and War.
The Bottom Line: 'The rifts can't be repaired. Somebody's got to stay and keep an eye on them.' A triumphant return for Kate Orman marks a fitting departure for Ace, albeit one that allows for future guest appearances. The Doctor manages to seem godlike and vulnerable at the same time, and the use of the regulars, plus a plethora of times and places, is peerless.