(ISBN 0-426-20472-7)








 Arriving in Victorian

 London, the Doctor,

 Nyssa and Tegan run

 straight into trouble:

 Nyssa is kidnapped in

 the British Museum by

 Egyptian religious

 fanatics; the Doctor

 and Tegan are greeted

 by a stranger who

 knows more about

 them than he should

 and invited to a very

 strange party.


 Why are rooms

 already booked for

 the Doctor at the

 Savoy? How can Lord

 Kenilworth’s butler

 Atkins be in Egypt and

 London at the same

 time? What is the

 history of the ancient

 mummy to be

 unwrapped at

 Kenilworth’s house?

 And what has all

 this got to do with



 The Doctor’s quest

 for answers leads

 him across continents

 and time as an

 ancient Egyptian

 prophecy threatens

 1990s England. While

 the Doctor attempts

 to unravel the plans

 of the mysterious

 Sadan Rassul,

 mummies stalk the

 night and an ancient

 terror stirs in its



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The Sands of Time

MAY 1996






I have come to realise that I just do not get on with Justin Richards’ books. He may be one of Doctor Who literature’s most respected writers, but I am afraid that his work just does not do it for me. His sequel to the classic fourth Doctor serial “Pyramids of Mars” is a slow and measured story, the author wasting too many words on description and ambience to the detriment of plot and character.


On the face of it, “The Sands of Time” is based on a fascinating premise: Nyssa is kidnapped and ‘mummified’ for centuries, the intended receptacle of the Osiran Nephthys. It is up to the Doctor, Tegan and an old butler named Atkins to cross continents and time zones in their hunt to prevent her from becoming host to a creature of pure malevolence.


Sounding good so far? Well unfortunately the execution leaves much to be desired. The main story line is completely encapsulated by the above paragraph; all I need do is tag on a line about a cop-out ending featuring a certain Nyssa lookalike and that is the entirety of the plot revealed. There is little else in there.



However, whilst Richards’ story and supporting characters may be unremarkable, I do have to admit that he does write marvellously for the bickering duo of the fifth Doctor and Tegan. At times he even makes them seem like they care about one another – the magic of the printed word, seeing into their heads. Fascinating stuff.


The true highlight of the novel for me though has to be the back-story that Richards gives to the Osirans. We learn that they hail from Phæster Osiris, that they instructed Scaroth (from “City of Death”) to build the Pyramids, and that the Pyramids are in fact a map of Orion. Wonderful, evocative stuff… that could not fill more than a page. And Nephthys? Badder

than Sutekh, apparently...



Pity she is relegated to a non-speaking role.


I suppose that if you liked Richards’ previous novels, then you will probably like this one. It is unquestionably a step up from “Theatre of War”, if not from “System Shock”. On the whole though, I did not get a lot out of this one. Give me “Pyramids of Mars” or even better still Stargate any day…


Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006


E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.



This novel’s blurb places it between the television serials Arc of Infinity and Snakedance. We have placed it within this gap, between the novels Fear of the Dark (which is set directly after Arc of Infinity) and Zeta Major (which was released later).


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