Doctor Who: The Newbies Guide
Other Guides to this Story
The Empire of Glass
This is the sixteenth in the Missing Adventures series of novels published by Virgin. It was one of the novels that had been made available as free ebooks on the BBC website.
Where does this fit?
This happens between The Time Meddler (Classic Series Season 2) and Galaxy 4 (Classic Series Season 3). It is immediately after the first Doctor is snatched by the Time Lords for the events of The Three Doctors.
The characters listed below are the series regulars, important recurring characters, and real life historical characters. If a character's appearance is a major spoiler, then their details will be hidden in spoiler tags. In general, recurring characters are not listed here on their first appearance unless they become a series regular during the story, or they are a real life historical character.
Steven Taylor was a space pilot, possibly from the late 22nd Century, who crashed on the planet Mechanus. Steven was held captive by the Mechanoids for three years, his only companion being a stuffed panda. When the Doctor arrived on the planet in The Chase (Classic Series Season 2), he stowed away on the TARDIS.
Vicki Pallister is a teenager who was on board a spaceship which crashed on the planet Dido. The other survivors were killed off by one of the survivors called Bennett, who was posing as an alien called Koquillion. She was rescued by the Doctor in The Rescue (Classic Series Season 2), who offered her a place on board the TARDIS. He treated her like a replacement for his granddaughter Susan.
Recurring and Historical Characters
Irving Braxiatel is a Time Lord who has a long history with the Doctor. He first appeared in Theatre of War (Virgin New Adventures novel), where his Braxiatel Collection was one of the biggest stores of information and artefacts in the galaxy. For Irving, that story takes place long after this one.
William Shakespeare was England's (and probably the world's) most famous playwright, Shakespeare wrote a number of very well-known plays in the Elizabethan and Jacobian eras. The Doctor has met him on a number of occasions, though all of those are later in the Doctor's timeline than this story.
Gallileo Gallilei was one of the key figures in the birth of science. He is most famous for his theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun, rather than the Sun revolving around the Earth, as well as being credited as the inventor of the telescope.
Christopher Marlowe was a playwright and contemporary of William Shakespeare, Marlowe was (supposedly) killed in a pub duel.
Cardinal Bellarmine was a real church official of the time. You don't really need to know anything about him.
The following stories and other resources are not necessary in order to follow the plot (we've summed up the essential bits for you). But being familiar with them will probably enhance your enjoyment of this story.
In The Chase (Classic Series Season 2), Vicki saw Shakespeare on the Time-Space Visualiser, a machine in the TARDIS that shows real events. In City of Death (Classic Series Season 17) it is revealed that the fourth Doctor helped Shakespeare write the play Hamlet.
In The Three Doctors (Classic Series Season 10), the first Doctor was taken out of his timestream by Time Lords from the future. He met his second and third selves, whom he described as "a dandy and a clown".
In Revenge of the Cybermen (Classic Series Season 12), we first come across the Armageddon Convention, a treaty that banned the use of more powerful weapons. The Cybermen didn't adhere to its provisions.
The author's notes which used to be on the BBC website provide lots of useful background information.