Roots: The Reverend Colin Midlane's foreword mentions David Scott's Moments of Prayer SPCK, 1997. There are references to Milton, the Bible, All Things Bright and Beautiful,
Continuity: The Doctor builds small robots in his laboratory that Cat uses to dismantle the Wierdabi. One of his favourite tricks for entertaining people involves an elastic band and a prat-fall. The Doctor's hypnotism has different results on different cultures in different ages and occasionally requires an aide de mesmer. He dons a priest's vestments.
Cat is an android built [or modified] by the Doctor [she is a similar model to the androids used by the church, the Doctor noting that he is familiar with the type and reprogramming the android priests with ease] whose real name is supposedly Catherine Broome. She is unaware of her true nature, believing herself to be a twenty-eight year old human female from the late twentieth century. She smokes. She wants to examine the Doctors teeth, concerned that he may need root canal work [suggesting some knowledge of dentistry]. She believes that she was raised a Catholic in Liverpool and that her dad worked for Wirral Borough Council. She recalls being in London when she first met the Doctor. She also remembers Blundel Sands and believes that she had a brother who was a priest and that she had a great, great uncle who suffered from dementia [it is implied that she starts to pick up memories from other androids, including Paddy]. She discovers her true nature at the end of the story.
The TARDIS console is wooden with brass fittings [and may be the model seen in The TV Movie. The TARDIS fluid links run out of mercury again (The Daleks, The Wheel in Space).
Haven is an Earth colony established by the Council of Settlers. Saint Saviour's cathedral in Braak is one of the great wonders of the new worlds. Treel is another cathedral city on Haven. The Prax hills are another region on Haven. Kreekgs are large prairie animals used for haulage on Haven. Pa-arteks and redaara are other species of domesticated animal used on Haven. Ettriggel and Skreetah are species of wild animal on the planet. Plegan beans are eaten on Haven. Torkus 3 is another world under Earth's jurisdiction.
The Wierdabi are militant cybernetic insectoids. They were once mindless primitive insects, but were augmented by an unknown higher being. A group of Wierdabi is a hive. Wierdabigold is actually mercury.
The Balooshi hail from Balooshi Minor and are small strands of vegetable slime.
Del Toro uses terelexin to drug the Doctor.
Saint Yxtryl of Mars taught that Time Lords have thirteen souls; he was burnt as a heretic, but subsequently canonized.
Links: The author's note that the twist of the Doctor's companion proving to be a robot also featured in Death Comes to Time, purely by coincidence. Intelligent dolphins first appeared in Perry and Tucker's Storm Harvest and again in Heritage. The description of the damaged TARDIS that materialises on Haven matches those seen in The War Games. The Doctor has a future memory of hearing Puccini whilst unconscious (The TV Movie). The Doctor thinks about various past companions, with references to the deaths of Adric (Earthshock) and Katarina (The Daleks' Master Plan), Jo Grant's wedding (The Green Death), Tegan, and Ace. He recalls removing a bullet from Ace's corpse (Loving the Alien).
Location: Haven, during the twenty-eighth century.
Future History: By the twenty-eighth century, the Roman Catholic church has re-established itself and become a major space power with jurisdiction over numerous worlds. Pope John Paul XXIII is dead, but is kept in suspended animation because it was established during the reign of pope Sixtus that soul-death doesn't occur until five to seven years after brain stem activity ceases. The question of the baptism of non-humanoid species split the church in two, as the issue of whether or not they had souls emerged. There are three rival Popes: John Paul himself, who rules from a stone-by-stone replica of Vatican city on a massive man-made moon called Rome; a rival Pope based in Old Rome on Earth; and Celestine VI in the Magellanic Cloud. The rival Pope on Earth called himself Urban IX, and his successors have all taken this name. Celestine VI, whose real name is the Abbot Brrteetk, is a dolphin from the Rakash Nebula appointed Pope by the Scarthian bandit chief Brotak, who managed to unite most of the planets of the Magellanic System under his authority. Brotak converted to Roman Catholicism and acclaimed himself Tsar of the Magellanic Cloud. Pope John Paul decreed it an article of faith that dolphins are fish in response to this. The Inquisition start using robot priests as an experimental project carried out under the direct authority of Pope John Paul.
During the twenty-eighth century, a damaged TARDIS materialises on Haven and explodes causing a temporal storm that kills several of the locals. The Time Lord piloting the TARDIS is captured by the Holy Inquisition, and is dissected by Del Toro. The Church declares all Time Lords to be witches. The remains of this TARDIS are placed in the Vatican vaults.
By the twenty eighth century, humans can live to be one hundred and forty years old.
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor and Cat are fighting a group of Wierdabi at the start of this story. His escape from the Inquisition's ship at the end is left hanging, but it is implied that Cat will be able to save everyone once it becomes clear that she is a robot. The Venerable Bede made the Doctor an honorary dean of Westminster Abbey (The Talons of Weng-Chiang). The Doctor was given a Gladstone bag by Gladstone himself. The Doctor has taken Cat to a factory where machines built by men make artificial black holes, and to a war zone. Cat tells Paddy that she has seen aliens made of drifting gas, crystal and rock, and light and sound, and creatures so small that their entire races could fit in the palm of her hand [although these could be more false memories]. She also recalls being taken to see a gestalt of billions of creatures that circled a newborn star in a huge crystal cloud. She and the Doctor fought a group of Cybermen in the Prenadene asteroid belt. The Doctor has experienced Papal politics during the days of the Borgias.
The Bottom Line: A worryingly cliché-ridden exercise in religious fanaticism with a meandering, unfocused plot and dull characters, with the exception of Father Julian. As might be expected from Perry and Tucker, their annoying tendency to reference their own work re-emerges despite writing for Telos rather than Big Finish or BBC Books. The main selling point of the novella, the twist concerning Cat, falls flat partly due to the flat prose, but mainly because, as the authors' note at the end, Death Comes to Time beat them to it.