Millennia ago, the great god Valdemar held sway over the universe. Somehow the Old Ones defeated this dark presence and entombed him beneath the acid skies of Ashkellia, before disappearing themselves forever.
Over the centuries, the myths of Valdemar grow, crossing solar systems and races. A novelist, Miranda Pelham, pieces together the Dark God's story. Unfortunately for her, revolution and the rise of a New Protectorate force her to strike an agreement with the decadent necromancer Paul Neville to find the lost Ashkellia.
The Doctor and Romana, despite their best efforts, become embroiled in the complex conspiracies and attempts to re-discover Valdemar. High in the boiling sulphuric acid clouds, in the Palace of the Old Ones, a place where reality and dreams collide, the way is being prepared for the resurrection of the Dark One.
The Doctor faces an agonising choice: should he continue with his quest to gather the segments of the Key to Time, or prevent the rebirth of a being so powerful that its release will alter the entire fabric of the universe?
to be added
- Fourth Doctor
- Romana I
- K9 Mark II
- Miranda Pelham
- Paul Neville
- Erik Hass
- Robert Hopkins
- Niles Redfearn
- Tenniel Stanislaus
- The Doctor mentions Eru.
- Whilst at the Academy, the Doctor and the Master travelled into the Matrix to access the secret records of early Gallifreyan history, where they discovered information about Valdemar.
- The Brigadier is mentioned.
- The Doctor tries not to think of Sutekh whilst trying to persuade Huvan to give up his powers.
- In July 2013, BBC Books reprinted the novel for inclusion in The Fourth Doctor Time Capsule, a box set of various items relating to the Tom Baker era. The box set (and the novel reprint) was a UK-exclusive release, limited to 5,000 copies.
- The Doctor mentions the creation of the Daleks (TV: Genesis of the Daleks) and his trips to Peladon. (TV: The Curse of Peladon, AUDIO: The Prisoner of Peladon, TV: The Monster of Peladon)
- Romana I remembers the Sontaran invasion of Gallifrey. (TV: The Invasion of Time)
- Romana recalls the Doctor's involvement in the return of Omega. (TV: The Three Doctors)
- At the start of the novel K9 is affected by the higher dimensions and left in the TARDIS. (TV: Destiny of the Daleks)
- Huvan writes an eighty-page love poem that begins with the line, "Long ago when love was real..." (PROSE: Love and War)