As the name implied, it was a sequel to The Talons of Weng-Chiang, if an indirect one. Set during the Fourth Doctor and Romana I's quest for the Key to Time, it also served as something of a bookend to that earlier television serial. Whereas the serial had featured expatriate Chinese in London, the novel was set mostly in Shanghai. Moreover, because of the franchise's obvious British bias, Shadow is one of the few Doctor Who stories in any media to deal with the runup to World War II in Asia — much less the Chinese perspective on the war.
- "They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step. If I'm right, then a journey of a thousand miles will take but a single step."
The search for the fourth segment of the Key to Time brings the TARDIS to 1930s Shanghai: a dark and shadowy world, riven by conflict and threatened by the expansion of the Japanese Empire. Meanwhile, the savage Tongs pursue their own mysterious agenda in the city's illegal clubs and opium dens.
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- Fourth Doctor
- Hsien-ko Chang
- Mr Sin
- Lucas Seyton
- Sung-Chi Li
- Yan Cheh
- Ryuji Matsu
- In Shanghai in 1941, the Doctor assisted a group of stranded Alpha Centaurans return home.
- Jesse James taught the Doctor how to slip out of handcuffs.
- The Doctor refers to Professor Marius, the creator of K9 Mark I.
- K9 Mark II can climb stairs, unlike K9 Mark I.
- Romana mentions zero-point energy as described by Nikola Tesla.
- Romana won the Time Lord Academy marksmanship trophy.
- Henry Gordon Jago sold the Palace Theatre as a result of the scandal following the Weng-Chiang incident in 1889.
- Woo owns the Club Do-San.
- K9's laser sets Mr Sin's wooden parts on fire.
- The Doctor again claims that the head of Cleopatra's guard taught him how to fight with a sword.
- This story is a sequel to the television story The Talons of Weng-Chiang. Rather than revisit old concepts and character such as Magnus Greel, Henry Gordon Jago and George Litefoot, however, David A. McIntee notes his intention to take the sequel in a very different direction. Excluding the Fourth Doctor, the only returning character is Mr Sin.
- This adventures takes place during the Key to Time arc, between The Stones of Blood and The Androids of Tara.
- This story includes a glossary of Chinese and Japanese terms, as well as a few German ones, used in the book.
- The Doctor compares the quarry to ones that he saw on the surface of Skaro (TV: Genesis of the Daleks) and the surface of Gallifrey. (TV: The Invasion of Time)
- Romana refers to Vivian Fay. (TV: The Stones of Blood)
- Romana recalls using a gun on Zanak. (TV: The Pirate Planet)
- The Doctor tells Romana that he once dined with Nero. (TV: The Romans)
- The Doctor mentions that he has not been in China for several centuries. (TV: Marco Polo)
- The TARDIS was en route to Haarlagen III when it was intercepted by the White Guardian. (TV: The Ribos Operation)
- The Doctor remembers Lucas Seyton. (PROSE: Fallen Angel)
- Romana recalls Gallifrey was recently invaded. (TV: The Invasion of Time)