The Ancestor Cell was the thirty-sixth novel in the BBC Eighth Doctor Adventures series. It was written by Peter Anghelides and Stephen Cole, released 3 July 2000 and featured the Eighth Doctor, Fitz Kreiner and Compassion. It marked the end of Stephen Cole's role as editor of the BBC Books ranges.
The Doctor's not the man he was. But what has he become? An old enemy — Faction Paradox, a cult of time-travelling voodoo terrorists — is finally making him one of its own. These rebels have a mission for him, one that will deliver him into the hands of his own people, who have decreed that he must die. Except now, it seems, the Time Lords have a mission for him too...
A gargantuan structure, hewn from solid bone, has appeared in the skies over Gallifrey. Its origin and purpose are unknown, but its powers threaten to tear apart the web of time and the universe with it. Only the Doctor can get inside... but soon he will learn that nothing is safe and nothing sacred.
Shot by both sides, confronted by past sins and future crimes, the Doctor finds himself a prisoner of his own actions. With options finally running out, he must face his most crushing defeat or take one last, desperate chance for salvation...
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- Eighth Doctor
- Fitz Kreiner
- Lady President Romana
- Technician Nivet
- Greyjan the Sane
- Mother Tarra
- Mother Mathara
- Third Doctor ('ghost')
- The Faction Virus which infected the Doctor during his paradoxical regeneration on Dust continues to affect him.
- Fitz knows of the Faction Paradox either from his encounter on Earth in San Francisco 2002 or on Earth in 1996, or when he was part of the Remote prior to his re-remembering by the TARDIS.
- The Edifice which hangs over Gallifrey is revealed to be the Doctor's TARDIS, which he thought was destroyed. It exists in the form of a Gallifreyan Flower of Remembrance.
- The Panopticon should have six sides, but due to the Faction Paradox's interference it keeps losing sides until it's a circle.
- Romana is about to celebrate her 150th year as Lady President of Gallifrey.
- Romana is a Prydonian.
- Cherantrin V is a planet where the Doctor, Fitz and Sam saw a double sunrise.
- The founders of Time Lord society include Rassilon, Omega, Pandak, Apeiron and the Other.
- The Penansulix Structure is a building on Gallifrey.
- Greyjan was president for three days, between 2 September and 14 September 1752.
- Greyjan is "remembered" into existence by the Faction Paradox.
- After the TARDIS transforms into the Edifice, the 'ghost' of the Third Doctor manifests in the console room, generating bone spiders to protect the ship, he and the Eighth Doctor admitting that spiders are important to them in a manner that they cannot define, referencing the Third Doctor's original regeneration (TV: Planet of the Spiders) before history was changed.
- This is the first time Gallifrey is destroyed (but not the last).
- Both versions of Fitz appear in this novel, the "current version" and the original who became Father Kreiner; Father Kreiner is killed during the novel.
- This novel's version of Gallifrey is notably parodic of the glimpses seen in PROSE: Alien Bodies and PROSE: The Taking of Planet 5; it is mentioned that the Edifice's temporal damage is affecting and twisting not only Gallifrey's history, but its culture as well.
The Ancestor Cell saw the culmination of the War arc, which had begun in Alien Bodies. That novel's author, Lawrence Miles, had already begun plans for the Faction Paradox series, which continued the storyline; independently, he criticised The Ancestor Cell for its revelations about the enemy (suggested to be primordial cells irradiated by temporal interference and energised by a leaking bottle universe) and Grandfather Paradox (a future version of the Eighth Doctor). According to Miles, Stephen Cole claimed that both revelations were not definite answers.
- Despite this novel being the "end" of the War for the Eighth Doctor, Compassion, specifically following her travels with the Doctor, would become a recurring character in the Faction Paradox series.
- Lance Parkin's novel The Gallifrey Chronicles later specified that The Ancestor Cell's Faction Paradox fleet is a devolved and militaristic sect, come to the Eleven-Day Empire and invading Romana's Gallifrey from 292 years into the War. Parkin also retconned Grandfather Paradox to be everyone's potential future.
- Though The Ancestor Cell states Romana is War Queen of the Nine Gallifreys (with hers being the original and sire of the eight cloneworlds) and asserts all nine are destroyed, The Book of the War implies "nine" is actually a misnomer, with every cloneworld believing itself to be the original and creating even more tertiary worlds of their own. The Book of the War mentions some of the cloneworlds having a "War Queen." Previous novels Alien Bodies and The Taking of Planet 5 had both mentioned a Gallifrey being destroyed early in the War. Obverse Books' The Brakespeare Voyage carries this assumption forward, mentioning several being destroyed throughout the course of the conflict.
- According to Obverse Books' Spinning Jenny, set after The True History of Faction Paradox, there are different versions and conflicting accounts of Faction Paradox's destruction.
- The idea of the enemy having more than one "true" answer for its identity is a major recurring theme of Obverse Books' The Book of the Enemy.
- The 'ghost' of the Third Doctor who features here is intended to be a manifestation of the Doctor who would have existed before the Doctor's unintentional interference in PROSE: Interference - Book One erased the events of Planet of the Spiders.
- PROSE: Alien Bodies was the first novel to feature both the Faction Paradox and the first mention of the future War, the Enemy and sentient TARDISes similar to Compassion.
- PROSE: The Taking of Planet 5 debuted the war-TARDISes.
- PROSE: The Shadows of Avalon started the Time Lords chasing the Doctor, Compassion and Fitz.
- Fitz knows who the Faction Paradox are from his encounter with them in either/both PROSE: Unnatural History and Interference - Book One.
- Compassion drops the Doctor on Earth which leads into PROSE: The Burning.
- Compassion also delivers Fitz on Earth a hundred years later in time to meet the Doctor, which he does in PROSE: Escape Velocity.
- PROSE: The Gallifrey Chronicles sorts out and re-interprets many of the events seen in this novel.
- Romana mentions the Dalek incident. (AUDIO: The Apocalypse Element)
- Romana remembers challenging Flavia. (PROSE: Goth Opera)
- Father Kreiner mentions the T'hiili (PROSE: Dominion) and Vega Station. (PROSE: Demontage) Fitz retaliates with tales of Drebnar. (PROSE: Frontier Worlds)
- The Discontinuity Guide to: The Ancestor Cell at The Whoniverse
- The Cloister Library: The Ancestor Cell
- Unused Chapter 10 of The Ancestor Cell (PDF) from Peter Anghelides website
- My Review of THE ANCESTOR CELL, by Lawrence Miles.