Doctor Who: The Newbies Guide
The Sands of Time
This is the sixteenth in Virgin's Missing Adventures series of novels.
Where does this fit?
This happens in Season 20 between Arc of Infinity and Snakedance.
Other Guides to this Story
The fifth Doctor is much younger-looking than his other incarnations. He wears old-style cricketing clothes and a sprig of celery. He is much more vulnerable and innocent than his other incarnations and more like an older brother to his companions. In Earthshock he failed to save his companion Adric from dying whilst at the controls of the spacecraft whose crash killed the dinosaurs. He and his companions have not entirely come to terms with this.
Tegan Jovanka is an Australian air stewardess from the 1980s. She first met the Doctor in Logopolis. In Time Flight the Doctor left her behind in her native time at Heathrow. However, she rejoined the TARDIS crew during Arc of Infinity. Tegan is quite irritable and has a strong sense of national pride.
Nyssa: is a native of the planet Traken, a world where there wasn't even a concept of evil. In The Keeper of Traken her father, Tremas, had his body taken over by the Master. In Logopolisthe Watcher then took her to Logopolis to help the Doctor, shortly before he regenerated. During this story, the Master's plans destroyed Traken along with a great many other planets. Nyssa then joined the TARDIS crew.
Recurring and Historical Characters
Lord and Lady Cranleigh were 1920s aristocrats who met the Doctor in Black Orchid when they were still engaged. Lady Cranleigh (Ann) was physically identical to Nyssa. One of their friends has the mildly amusing name of Smutty Thomas.
The now-extinct Osirians visted both Egypt and Mars and left some of their technology behind them. One such piece of technology were the Osirian Service Robots, which look very similar to mummies. The Doctor encountered such robots in Pyramids of Mars.
Napoleon Bonaparte is an historical ruler of France and widely considered one of the greatest generals in history. He came to power in the wake of the French Revolution and conquered most of Europe. He also attempted to conquer Egypt. He was previously seen (just before his rise to power) in Season 1's The Reign of Terror.
This story will make more sense if you are broadly familiar with the following Classic Series stories:
In Pyramids of Mars the fourth Doctor defeated an Osiran called Sutekh.
In Black Orchid we meet Lord Cranleigh and his fiancée Ann - who is the spitting image of Nyssa.
If you can find them the authors notes that were available with the ebook version of the story contained lots of background information. They also included a flowchart showing the order in which the story happens from various characters' perspectives and an alternative ending.