Dreams of Empire
Roots: The Doctor plays "Skye Boat Song" on his recorder. There are references to Dante, Tolstoy, Kasparov, Capablanca, and Shakespeare's The Tempest.
Dialogue Disasters: "I think I might have been a bit of a silly billy."
Dialogue Triumphs: "I am not a gifted amateur, as you put it. Rather I am an absolute professional in fields that your people do not yet even count among the professions."
"Defeat makes thinkers of us all."
Continuity: The Haddron Republic is based on the planet Haddron. It has at least seven legions. The Haddron insignia is a stylised striking bird of prey. A Senate, consisting of three Consuls including a Consul General, rules the Republic. Planets within the Republic include Geflon, which has several moons, Yerlich, Tembraka, Bragadrok, Sertus Minor, and Trophinamon. There is a penal centre on Frastis. Compacted carbonite is mined on Uvonola. Laish is a type of grain used in the Republic.
Consul General Hans Kesar declared himself Consul General in perpetuity; his childhood friend and fellow Consul Milton Trayx, realising what this would mean for Haddron, opposed him, leading to a bloody civil war that lasts for a year and left almost one million people dead. Kesar's supposed ally General Axell Crugar assassinated him after his trial, believing that if Kesar died his followers would have rallied behind Cruger instead; to avoid Kesar becoming a martyr, Gerhart Rutger adopted his identity, wearing a mask supposedly to cover the burns that Kesar suffered in the explosion, and remained a prisoner on the asteroid fortress on Santespri in Kesar's place. Crugar, along with everyone else, was thus lead to believe that Kesar had survived the assassination attempt. When Trayx was a lieutenant, he defeated the Mezzanyre Hordes at the battle of Tolokabad, a frontier post in the Haddron Republic. Gregor Jank was the third Consul at the time that the civil war broke out and remained so afterwards; Trayx became Consul General, and Mathesohn became the third Consul.
The Republic uses VETAC troops; VETAC stands for Virtual Electro-Targeted Attack Computer, and the troops are robot drones with limited strategic and tactical reasoning capabilities. The VETC troops are dependent on the instructions of a command unit relayed over a virtual network. A lieutenant with similar capabilities usually backs up the VETAC commander to ensure a degree of redundancy. Toxin projectiles, which carry and broadcast computer viruses, can be used to take out VETAC legions. VETAC troops are massive humanoids with red eyes, and weapons built into their gauntlet-like hands. The commanders and lieutenants are bulkier than their troops. Android automatons, which are virtually indistinguishable from people, are also used in the Republic. Both VETACs and Automatons can detect human DNA signatures.
The Doctor has just built his sonic screwdriver (which first appears in the television series in Fury from the Deep). He uses it to resonate the mortar between some stone blocks in a wall in Santespri, allowing them to be pulled free. The Doctor has heard of Haddron, but believes it to be an empire rather than a republic. He carries a stick of chalk and a small mirror in his pocket. He reprogrammes Prion so that he operates on a frequency that changes randomly every few milliseconds.
Jamie doesn't know what chess is. He dons under-armour on Santespri and is armed with a blast-bolter.
Victoria makes some sandwiches in the TARDIS. Victoria's father taught her always to treat others as she would want them to treat her. Sponslor knocks her out on Santespri. Like Jamie, she dons under-armour on Santespri, tying her hair back in a ponytail to keep it out of the way. She is obviously attracted to Prion and is disappointed to learn that he is an android.
According to the Doctor, chess has originated in much the same form in the majority of civilised cultures without any external influence and nobody knows where it originated.
Zenon VII is a powerful incendiary that burns hotter than molten lava. Amphesite is a mild poison, prolonged exposure to which leads to mild paralysis initially, followed by brain damage and death.
Links: Jamie mentions Toberman (Tomb of the Cybermen and Kemel (The Evil of the Daleks). There are references to Maxtible (The Evil of the Daleks), duralinium (Colony in Space), and distronic explosives (Genesis of the Daleks).
Location: Santespri, in the Haddron republic, two years after the Haddron civil war [the date is unspecified, but the people of Haddron seem to be human, so it must take place in the future. Their use of duralinium probably places it after Colony in Space].
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor helped Middleton write a short poem about chess.
The Bottom Line: "Chess is such a dangerous game." Mixing political intrigue and action, Dreams of Empire is one of Richards' better novels, with great characterisation of the regulars and some memorable supporting characters.