Publisher's summary Edit
Up early one morning, Sarah Jane is astonished to see that the house opposite hers has changed overnight: what used to be a nondescript 1970s family home has been replaced by a smart Victorian residence.
How did a house from 1884 suddenly materialise in Bannerman Road? Where has the old O'Brien place gone? And more importantly, who – or what – has caused this temporal anomaly? Sarah Jane and friends must find out before time itself explodes and destroys the world...
One early morning Sarah Jane Smith is inside her kitchen, when she hears a crash from outside. She investigates and sees that the O'Brian's house on 39 Bannerman Road has swapped places with an old Victorian house. The owners, the O'Brian family, have gone to Australia for three weeks.
Sarah Jane decides to take a closer look. She sees that the house inside is still the same, there are family portraits of the O'Brian family and a DVD player. Just the outside of the house has changed.
Luke wants to use the Vorgatt defence field emitter to enclose the house and stop the effect spreading. Sarah Jane replies that she is not sure that it has the range but at least it would keep people away.
After using the Vorgatt defence field emitter Luke, Rani and Clyde go into the house. They realise that more and more things from inside the house swap places and suddenly Rani is gone as well. A short time later she returns. Mr Smith later says that someone, operating in 1884, has sent Rani forward in time again to ensure that she stays in the year 2009. He adds that they have to seal this crack in time otherwise it would cause an explosion of temporal energy that could destroy the life on Earth.
Then suddenly Sarah Jane and Luke back in 2009. There they find May who had fallen through the crack in time and promise her to bring her back to her parents.
Then Rani and Clyde come to the house as well. May tells them that a bad man at the "spidery place" was responsible for this. When Rani asks May what the spidery place is May doesn't reply.
Luke and Sarah Jane decide that they want to go back in time again to find out what is happening. Before that Sarah Jane wants to ask Mr Smith if he has any idea where to find the bad man. She tells Luke, Rani and Clyde to stay outside the house, but they don't listen.
Rani stays with May in 2009. Luke and Clyde want to travel backwards in time to 1884. Luke uses the Vorgatt defence field emitter on Clyde and himself so that whoever is operating in 1884 can't send them back to 2009 so easily. In 1884 they face Charles Burden, who thinks that they are evil spirits that have taken his child and replaced his furniture. Then Clyde and Luke hear a scream from upstairs they go there and see that Beatrice Burden is sent to the future. Just after Clyde and Luke see a large, spindly, shadow figure at the attic of the Burden house, they are sent back to 2009.
Beatrice Burden arrives in the year 2009. There she meets May and Rani. Rani get's to know that the "spidery place", where May had seen the bad man, is a toilet in the garden of the Burden's home.
When Sarah Jane returns to her attic, she sees that an alien intruder is already inside the attic and using Mr Smith. The alien is called Deathy, has red skin and three eyes. He explains that he hacked into Mr Smith's higher access level command centre and tapped into his power supply ten days ago. Mr Smith didn't notice it because he was still effected by his reboot after the Armageddon virus. Deathy needed Mr Smith to create a stasis bubble. He locked the criminal Ephnol in time while he caught Skak, another criminal. Skak now is attacking the time trap, to release Ephnol. This is causing time anomalies and the houses are swapping places because of it.
Sarah Jane and Deathy go to the house of the Burden family. Rani tells them that May has seen Skak in the toilet. Then a police car arrives. Deathy is pressing a control on his handhold device and in a flash the policeman vanishes. Deathy explains that the policeman isn't hurt and is 2km away now. However, his colleague who is still in the car makes a report, more police cars turn up. Deathy runs away and the police woman runs after him.
Meanwhile, Sarah Jane and Rani find Clyde and Luke outside 39 Bannerman Road on the floor. They tell Sarah Jane that they have seen Ephnol's shadow in 1884 at the attic of the house.
Sarah Jane and her friends decide to go into the O'Brian's house. They are sent back in time again and find Skak at the toilet. Sarah Jane and the others fight against Skak and he has to leave his time manipulator unguarded. Sarah Jane throws the Vorgatt defence field emitter to Rani. Rani puts it on the machine. Sarah Jane activates it with her sonic lipstick. Skak can't use the machine any more, however it is still active.
A short time later Ephnol arrives. He is free and the stasis bubble is broken. Now the world is only protected by the Vorgatt defence field emitter which doesn't have much power left.
Charles Burden comes into the garden and sees Ephnol and Skak. He thinks they are the demons that have stolen his daughter and wife. Along with other people from around the area he attacks them. The aliens are outnumbered.
Then Deathy arrives and sets everything right. The houses are back where they were. Beatrice and May are home again. Deathy takes Ephnol and Skak away. They have to stand trail for their deeds. Then he sends Luke, Rani, Clyde and Sarah Jane back to 2008. They go away to Sarah Jane's house to have breakfast.
- Sarah Jane Smith
- Luke Smith
- Clyde Langer
- Rani Chandra
- Charles Burden
- Beatrice Burden
- May Burden
- Jack Burden
- John O'Brian
- Judoon have to wait for search warrants before entering planets like Earth.
- Clyde mentions Hollyoaks.
- There is a house on Renfrow Street that has been condemned and has got loads of "Police keep out" tape outside.
- John O'Brian and his parents live in 39 Bannerman Road.
- Skak and Ephnol are genocidal war criminals from the Bedra Elite. They fled the Bedra Falsejacks prime conflict using low level time technology.
- John O'Brian, his father and mother visit Australia for three weeks.
- Deathy catches the genocidal war criminal Ephnol in Russia.
- Luke uses the Vorgatt defence field emitter.
- Luke uses a Vorgatt defence field emitter. (TV: Day of the Clown)
- Mr Smith was unable to detect time distortion at the O'Briens house due to his recent reboot. (TV: The Lost Boy)
- Sarah Jane recalls hearing stories about "Victorian scientists who experimented with time travel and static electricity", a possible reference to the events of Evil of the Daleks. It is presumed that she heard this story from Victoria Waterfield, who the Doctor was travelling with during this period of time, and who Sarah Jane met in PROSE: Downtime.