Note: From this point onwards, the New Adventures were Doctor-less, since Virgin had at this stage lost the rights to publish Doctor Who fiction. An abridged audio adaptation of this novel was released as part of the Bernice Summerfield audio range in 1998.
Bernice Surprise Summerfield is settling into her new job as Professor of Archaeology at St Oscar's University on the planet Dellah — one of the most prestigious centres of learning in the Milky Way. She wants to put the past, especially her failed marriage, behind her.
So she's glad when she gets the chance to take her tutorial group to investigate the lost civilisation of Perfecton. Three whole weeks of archaeological research in the field. The perfect way to forget your worries.
She doesn't bank on three things.
That Menlove Stokes, Professor of Applied Art, and various other academics would be along for the ride. That vicious alien marauders would decide to explore the planet at the same time. And that a reactivated Perfecton device would plunge her into a situation that can only be described as — panto.
Paul Cornell is the chief exponent of the 'Squid in the Mouth' genre of fantasy. He has many novels published by Virgin, is co-author of The Guinness Book of Classic British TV, and his television work includes episodes of The Ward and plays for BBC2. He lives far too near to Cricklewood.