The Clockwise Man
|Series||Doctor Who book:
New Series Adventures
|Set in||Period between
"The Long Game" and
|May 19, 2005|
|Followed by||The Monsters Inside|
The Clockwise Man is a BBC Books original novel written by Justin Richards and based on the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It was published on May 19, 2005, alongside The Monsters Inside and Winner Takes All. It features the Ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler.
It is the first book in the New Series Adventures line, and as such is the first original novel to feature the Ninth Doctor or any characters from the revival of Doctor Who. It is also the first Doctor Who novel to be published in hardcover since the mid-1980s; all New Series Adventures books were released exclusively in hardcover until 2013.
The Doctor and Rose travel back in time to London in the year 1924 in a trip to the British Empire Exhibition, only to find themselves caught up in the hunt for a mysterious, inhuman murderer. They meet a woman who never shows her face, a cat that can return from the dead, and people who may not even know the truth. They must solve the mystery before the whole of London is destroyed.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (January 2008)|
Rose and the Doctor arrive in 1924 London to see the British Empire Exhibition. They hear someone in trouble while leaving the scrapyard where the TARDIS landed. They see a man fighting for his life, while a third figure disappears into the shadows. The Doctor and Rose rescue him. The man is Peter Dickson, and he works at a house down the street. His gloves are stained with oil, and the marks on his neck look like they were caused with a metal implement.
Dickson works for Sir George Harding and his wife Anna. Dickson says that he was asked questions about the guests tonight. Rose asks if she can wash her hands, but gets lost coming back and meets a boy of about 10 named Freddie. He is obviously Anna's son, and says that Sir George is his stepfather. After showing her how to get to the gallery above the library (where they can see and hear the guests below), he gives Rose directions to get back downstairs, and then she and the Doctor head back to the TARDIS. The gates have been relocked, and when opened, they find the TARDIS is gone.
After wandering the streets for a while, the Doctor decides that the disappearance has something to do with that night's events, and they go back to Sir George's. A car pulls up as they arrive, and a woman with red hair comes in wearing shimmering silk and a mask in the shape of a butterfly. Only her blue eyes and mouth are visible. Her name is given as Melissa Heart.
The Doctor tells the party that they've lost their lodgings, and Repple (one of the guests) says that there are rooms at the Imperial Club, and he will vouch for them. The Doctor asks what the 'conspiracy' is about as he takes his jacket off. It comes out that Freddie is the rightful Tsar of Russia, and Repple is the deposed leader of Dastaria. As they move from the dining room to the drawing room, Melissa leaves, letting herself out.
Repple suggests they walk to the Imperial Club, and the Doctor goes to get his jacket. It is missing, and he seems more upset about that than the loss of the TARDIS. They arrive at the club and meet Mr Wyse in the Bastille room. He is wearing a monocle and playing chess with himself. There is a black cat with a triangle of white fur under the chin sitting in the room with him. He tells them that Mr Pooter endowed the club originally, but he is away a lot and likes his privacy, so Mr Wyse runs the place and lives there.
When Repple leaves, his friend Aske tells Rose and the Doctor that Dastaria doesn't exist. Repple once played the part of "Elector of Dastaria" in a parade, and fainted. He awoke believing the fiction. Crowther (who is the chief steward) takes Rose and the Doctor to their rooms, which are adjoining with a lounge between. He says that Mr Pooter's rooms are above, so to please try to keep quiet. After Crowther left, there is a knock at the door and Repple comes in, with the cat slipping in as well. He tells them that he is the prisoner of Major Aske, and that the flag of Dastaria is black with a white triangle.
When Rose gets up the next morning, the Doctor is playing chess with Wyse. Wyse tells them that Aske is the one who is delusional, while Repple just plays along.
Crowther comes in to tell the Doctor that he has a visitor, Miss Heart. She is wearing a different mask, and has brought the Doctor's jacket, saying that she is returning it for Lady Anna. The Doctor rummages through the pockets to find his sonic screwdriver, and holds it out for her to see, asking if she knows what it is. She invites them to come calling, but her manner implies she means only the Doctor.
The Doctor decides that Rose needs a distraction from all that's been going on, so they leave for the British Empire Exhibition. They decide to stop at Sir George's to say thanks for finding his jacket, and to see if Freddie can come along. While they are waiting for Sir George, Freddie mentions that he saw Melissa Heart with the Doctor's jacket. Anna comes in, and says that Freddie can't go to the Exhibition, but can ride in the car.
Melissa hires two men (Cheshunt and Black) to break into the club and find information on the Doctor and Rose. They enter the club and hear voices (the Doctor and Wyse are playing chess). When they peek in the room, the cat sees them and attacks. People come running at the noise, and Rose comes down the stairs. Cheshunt grabs the cat and throws it into their sack, then the two run out the door. Rose follows, and sees the sack dumped into the Thames. She returns to the club, and mentions to Crowther that she heard Mr Pooter in the room above. He says that Mr Pooter is not back yet, but will return for the Trustee's meeting next morning. When Rose enters the Bastille room, she finds the Doctor, Wyse, Aske, Repple, other club members, and the cat.
Next morning, Rose decides to check out the Trustee's meeting. She finds the boardroom, but there is a Cclub steward outside the door, so she can't listen there. She decides to sneak down the fire escape from the outside. She can't get close enough to hear anything or see much, but she can see a man at the head of the table, holding the cat. As she backs up the fire escape, it creaks, and the cat sees her.
When the Doctor returns, he says they should go visit Melissa Heart. She says to the Doctor and Rose, 'You do keep turning up. Like a bad wolf.' Inside is a long table, with over 20 masks arranged on it. On either side of the fireplace are suits of armour with swords on plinths.
As they talk, it becomes clear that Melissa thinks the Doctor is someone she is looking for. When he denies it, she becomes angry (and puts on her angry face). She snaps her fingers, there is a ticking sound, and one of the suits of armour begins to move. The Knight is 'clockwork' so as to avoid the use of 'traceable, anachronistic technology.' As they turn to run, the second of the two Knights jerks to life. The Doctor pulls out his sonic screwdriver, but nothing happens, and Melissa admits to removing the power source. Freddie appears outside the window, and pushes it in. The Doctor and Rose jump through, and all 3 run off. Freddie is unhurt (no cuts from the glass and splinters) and the Doctor tells him he should hurry home and not let his mum worry.
Back at the Imperial Club, the Doctor figures that Melissa will send her clockwork men as soon as it's dark. He tells Rose to go and warn Mr Pooter, while he talks to the rest of the guests and staff. The Doctor tells the group about mysterious clockwork killers sent by a masked woman to assassinate the wrong man. Wyse says that he cannot stay, as he has a prior engagement, but he will hurry back. In the end Aske, Repple, Crowther and a couple of staff and guests are left. Wensleydale (one of the guests) tells the Doctor and Rose that Wyse goes to play chess with someone named Ben something or other. Crowther says he sent the ladies away, and the Doctor asks 'Where is Rose?'
Rose has gone upstairs and knocked on the door, but there is no response. She hears the sounds of a clock ticking, and then a part of the door opens and the cat walks out. The eyes change from green to red, it hisses at Rose, and beams of electric red light come out of the eyes and scorch the wall where Rose had been. The cat leaps at her with its claws out, but Rose instinctively grabs it about the neck as tight as she can and holds it at arm's length. She realizes it cannot be a real cat, and smashes it against the wall until it is 'dead.' She runs back down the stairs, and doesn't see another cat come through the door.
There is a hammering at the club's front door, that turns into splintering wood and then a hand reaches through to unlock it. The Doctor decides that being brave is probably going to get everyone killed, and tells Crowther to take his men and go to the kitchens, and leave if it is clear. He tells Wensleydale to take the other guests to the Bastille Room and stay there. The Doctor, Rose, Repple and Aske head upstairs, 'to see a man about a cat.'
Freddie is watching the club from across the street as the shutters are closed and all doors and windows are locked. As he tries to decide what to do, Melissa Heart is suddenly next to him, and takes him across the street with her.
Upstairs, the Doctor, Rose, Repple and Aske break into Mr Pooter's room. Inside, it is completely paneled in dull gray metal, including the floor and ceiling. There is no furniture, but a dark metal control console is in the middle of the room. There is a white triangle on the front, and pigeon holes in one side with cats in them. There is a ticking sound in the room.
The knights are coming up the stairs, and the Doctor pulls a cable out of the console to force the them back. Then Melissa steps past the knight and into the room with Freddie. Melissa forces the Doctor to drop the cable or the knight will hurt Freddie. Melissa is holding a black tube resembling a cigarette holder, and uses it to destroy the console (which scares Freddie, who is worried about being scratched).
Melissa still thinks the Doctor is Shade Vassily of Katuria. Repple claims that it is him, and steps forward to give his full title. Aske steps forward, and says that Repple is insane, and then pulls out a black tube like Melissa's. One of the clockwork knights kills him. His last words are that he is Shade Vassily.
Meanwhile, Crowther sends both servants away, and then goes to the Bastille room to talk to Wensleydale and the other guests. The two men manage to sneak into the room and hold a gun to Melissa's neck. Rose, Freddie and Crowther make it to the top of the stairs before Melissa uses her weapon to kill Wensleydale. The three run, with the Doctor telling them to find Wyse, and a Mechanical chasing them down the stairs. They turn down a hallway, where two of the other guests trip it. The helmet comes free, showing cogwheels, gears, levers, flywheels, and a glass crystal where the forehead should be. Freddie and Rose manage to escape out a window and down the fire escape.
Melissa takes the Doctor and Repple back to her home, and locks them in a room with thick glass windows looking into the Thames. The Doctor works through the various versions of the story of Shade Vassily. He tells Repple that when he bothers to listen, he can hear a clock ticking, but Repple cannot hear it. Then the Doctor tells him that he isn't Shade, he just thinks he is, and reaches up to take off Repple's face. Repple looks at his reflection in the glass, and sees the clockwork face of Melissa's Mechanicals. The Doctor tells Repple that they still need to find a power-mad homicidal maniac with a superiority complex.
The Doctor and Repple escape from the room, and climb the stairs to find Melissa wearing her angry face. Repple shows her his real face, and the Doctor tells her that Repple is a decoy, and the real Shade is still out there. They realize that there must be a ship in the Thames, and that reenergizing it will create a firestorm that will burn all of London. The console had preventing such a thing from happening, but thanks to Melissa destroying the console, the real Vassily can escape.
When Rose walks up to the door of the clock tower, Wyse opens the door, asks her in, and then tosses the cat back out. She realizes he is Mr Pooter, he admits it, and when she tries to quietly go back out the door, she finds it locked. She sees Freddie through the window and mouths 'Find the Doctor.' Wyse leads her up the stairs to a room full of cogwheels, shafts, gears, and levers. It is quiet, and Wyse explains that he had it built by saying that it was to make the clock more accurate.
Repple spots Freddie, who tells them about Rose. All three climb onto the roof to get to the small window. Freddie is worried about being cut on the broken mesh, but lets the Doctor lower him through. He cannot open the door, so he goes upstairs to find Rose, and sees blood on the steps.
Melissa returns the sonic screwdriver power pack, and the Doctor uses it and parts from one of the Mechanicals to fix the broken cat and use its eyes to open the door. The Doctor, Melissa and Repple go through, followed by the last Mechanical.
Freddie hides as Rose and Wyse exit the room to go upstairs, but then Wyse slips slightly and sees the blood on the steps as the door below bangs open. Rose and Freddie try to escape, but are caught and taken to the clock room. Wyse tells the Doctor that the mechanism will activate when the clock strikes 10. The Doctor asks 'What if it doesn't?' and goes back to the room below, with Wyse following. Rose notices that Freddie is bleeding, realizes that he is a haemophiliac, and starts yelling for help.
Melissa and the Doctor work on stopping Wyse, and Repple helps. The Doctor sends Repple to see what Rose is shouting about, and he puts a tourniquet on Freddie's leg. It helps, but the wound must be cauterized to stop the bleeding. Rose realizes she needs the sonic screwdriver, and runs to find the Doctor.
The Doctor has given Melissa the sonic screwdriver to disable the mechanism while he tries to keep Wyse away. Rose finds them, and tells Melissa she needs the sonic screwdriver to save Freddie, but Melissa says that they will all die if she doesn't finish. She finishes and gives Rose the screwdriver, but Wyse snatches it and throws it into the mechanism. When Rose goes to save it, she is nearly crushed between two cog wheels. Repple saves her life by using his arm to jam the wheels, but loses his arm in the effort.
The Doctor and Wyse get into a fight, and Wyse manages to restart the mechanism. Realizing something more substantial is needed to destroy it, Repple tries to throw himself inside, but the Mechanical knocks him out and sacrifices itself in his stead. Wyse is attacked by the broken cat, and falls from the tower. Freddie loses a lot of blood, but is fine, and Melissa returns the TARDIS. Repple's broken arm is replaced by the Doctor with one from the broken Mechanical, and he has another of the cats for company.
- Clockwork men also appear with the Tenth Doctor in "The Girl in the Fireplace" and the Eighth Doctor in Anachrophobia.
- There is a mention of Rose 'dressing up' while the Doctor only has a 'new shirt' (similar to "The Unquiet Dead").
- Rose has a conversation with one of the servants in the Imperial Club, and the girl makes her think of Gwyneth, who appeared in "The Unquiet Dead".
- In the club, the Doctor looks at a painting of the French Revolution and says "That's not right". In the first episode of Doctor Who, An Unearthly Child, the Doctor's granddaughter, Susan Foreman, reads a book about the French Revolution and says the same words.
- The Doctor mentions to Rose at the end of the Series 2 episode "Tooth and Claw" that Queen Victoria suffered from a condition called Haemophilia. This was also mentioned when the Doctor and Rose visit the British Empire Exhibition.
- Melissa Heart says the Doctor and Rose keep turning up like a 'Bad Wolf'. Rose corrects her and says she means 'penny' as in the phrase 'keeps coming back like a bad penny'. The phrase 'Bad Wolf' was the arc word to Series 1.
- The Clockwise Man at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- The Cloister Library - The Clockwise Man
- The Clockwise Man at The TARDIS Library
- The Clockwise Man title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- The Clockwise Man reviews at Outpost Gallifrey
- The Clockwise Man reviews at The Doctor Who Ratings Guide
Reviews of the first three books
- The Clockwise Man, The Monsters Inside and Winner Take All reviews at Outpost Gallifrey
- The Clockwise Man/The Monsters Inside/Winner Takes All reviews at The Doctor Who Ratings Guide