The Domino Effect
Roots: The novel opens with a quotation from Harry S. Truman. There are references to the Evening Standard, Enya, Who's Who, Monty Python's Meaning of Life (machines that go ping), Withnail and I (get in the back of the van!), Franz Kafka, Anne Boleyn, Sir Walter Raleigh, Rudolf Hess, . The Doctor quotes from W. B. Yeats' The Second Coming.
Dialogue Disasters: 'You're coming with us, terrorist!, terrorist scum!', and many more.
Continuity: In the alternate time line seen here, the British Empire still exists in 2003. It is ruled from London by the Star Chamber, the leader of which is the Pentarch. Britain never became multi-cultural, and racism is rife. Women are still considered to be second-class citizens, suggesting that the suffragette movement never happened, or that it was a failure. The alternate time line arises due to agents of the alternate Sabbath preventing the development of computers, by murdering Charles Babbage, John Herschel, Herman Hollerith, and Konrad Zuse. Alan Turing was spared, but imprisoned in the Tower of London and never met the Doctor (The Turing Test). According to the Oracle, the Vortex has started to collapse, leading to the propagation of alternate time lines and parallel universes, which were previously held in check by the Vortex. The Oracle tells Sabbath that this is a result of whatever once sustained the Vortex being removed from eternity [the Time Lords - the damage to the Vortex is a result of the events of The Ancestor Cell, which have now caught up with it]. Misguided by the Oracle, Sabbath tries to alter Earth history to create a focal point centred on the planet to protect it from the disintegrating Vortex; the Oracle collapses the focal point, destroying the timeline in which it was created and affecting every other reality, further destabilising time and space.
Sabbath was twenty-one years old when he was initiated. During his initiation into the Service, the drowning Sabbath was freed from his bonds by the Oracle [it is not clear whether this is true of just the alternate Sabbath, or the more familiar version also]. The alternate Sabbath has never met the Doctor. He states that he was initiated into the Service in 1762, at his coming of age. His time machine is only capable of moving forwards in time. He has been manipulating history for two hundred and fifty years. Under the alias of the Adjutant, he has secretly guided the Star Chamber whilst serving the Oracle. When the Doctor finally meets him, he is both thinner and older than the more familiar Sabbath.
The Oracle refers to the Doctor as an Elemental (The Adventuress of Henrietta Street) and can sense his arrival in Britain. It calls him Time Lord. The Oracle is a creature from beyond the Vortex [related to the Chronovores], but is half-human, which is how it is able to survive on Earth.
The Doctor again uses the alias Dr. John Smith and claims to be a head injury specialist from the Royal Infirmary. He sips at a pint. He suffers chest pains the nearer he gets to the Oracle [due to the temporal distortion it represents]. He has contemplated travelling back into his own past to discover the nature of the trauma that caused his amnesia but has decided that it happened for a reason and that he must move on (The Ancestor Cell).
Fitz is sentenced to death, extensively tortured, and imprisoned in the Tower of London pending execution. Prior to meeting the Doctor, he often contemplated visiting the Tower of London but never got around to it.
Dave once persuaded Anji to skive off work for a day, so that he could reenact a 1980s brat-pack film in London rather than Chicago; they visited the Tate Gallery, walked along the Embankment eating ice creams, had lunch at the Oxo Tower Brasserie on the South Bank and went to a New Age spa near Waterloo for a sensory deprivation session. Anji panicked inside the tank, and was not mollified by the fact that Dave had suggested it because he wanted to know what it felt like to float in outer space. Anji's colleague Mitch (Time Zero) got head hunted for a job at Tartan Futures Trading in Edinburgh in the real timeline.
The mass and density of the TARDIS are different every time they are measured. The device provided by the Oracle is capable of cutting the TARDIS exterior. The TARDIS screams as a result, which the Doctor hears from afar. He says that there is a female voice intermingled with the scream, which is both familiar yet different [possibly Trix - see Time Zero].
Links: There are references to Dave's death (Escape Velocity), and Siberia (Time Zero). The Doctor fondly recalls Alan Turing (The Turing Test). The Doctor coldly reminds Anji of her betrayal in Hope. She mentions the Absolutes of the System (History 101).
Location: Edinburgh and London, in an alternate time line from Thursday April 17th 2003 to Sunday April 20th 2003; France, 1819; America 1884; Berlin, Germany 1941; the Thames, London, England, 1732.
The Bottom Line: Absolutely dire. Bishop's continuing desire to emulate the style of the Target Novelisations results in a painfully simplistic plot with poor characterisation, all wrapped up in turgid prose.