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Corpse Marker was the twenty-sixth novel in the BBC Past Doctor Adventures series. It was written by Chris Boucher, released 29 November 1999 and featured the Fourth Doctor and Leela.

This novel was a sequel to the 1977 television story The Robots of Death.

Publisher's summary[]

1999 BBC Books edition[]

Long ago and far away, the Doctor and Leela faced the Robots of Death...

To a society dependent on robots, the news that these benign, tireless, obedient labourers could be turned into killers would cause panic. So it was kept a secret. In Kaldor City, only the three survivors of the Storm Mine massacre know the truth. But now, several years later, they are beginning to show signs of mental breakdown. And once again, the robots are being programmed to kill. Can the dead genius Taren Capel possibly be involved in this new outrage?

Worst of all, this time the deadly robots are not confined to a Sandminer. This time they are loose in Kaldor City. And this time, unless the Doctor and Leela can stop them, they really will destroy the world.

2014 BBC Books edition[]

The Doctor and Leela arrive on the planet Kaldor, where they find a society dependent on benign and obedient robots. But they have faced these robots before, on a huge Sandminer in the Kaldor desert, and know they are not always harmless servants.

The only other people who know the truth are the three survivors from that Sandminer — and now they are being picked off one by one. The twisted genius behind that massacre is dead, but someone is developing a new, deadlier breed of robots. This time, unless the Doctor and Leela can stop them, they really will destroy the world.


Threatened by upstarts from the common classes, such as Topmaster Kiy Uvanov, Company Executives hire Carnell, a noted Psychostrategist, to devise a plan to undermine the people's trust in the current generation of robots, allowing the Company to introduce a new cyborg class with a minimum of fuss and ensuring the panic-stricken populace will accept the stability offered by the traditional ruling families. However, Carnell fails to factor the Doctor and Leela's presence into account and soon the plan goes completely wrong. As the executives who hired Carnell are now out to make him a scapegoat, he strikes a deal with Uvanov, giving Uvanov the leverage he needs to ensure a smooth transfer of power to him and his followers.





  • The TARDIS has "transdimentional flows".
  • A stun-kill is a weapon that looks like a cattle prod and is capable of delivering a lethal shock. The setting can be adjusted; maximum is lethal.
  • Cascade Berries stimulate the sense of taste and suppress the sense of smell.
  • Z9a is an explosive device.

Blind Heart Desert[]

  • Kaldor City is situated along the southern edge of the Blind Heart Desert.
  • The winter wind that blows into Kaldor City from the Blind Heart Desert is called "the Emptiness". Otherwise, the weather is usually calm and mild, known as "Ore-dream" by the workless of the Sewerpits, named for the good fortune it brings to the poor.

The Company Board[]

  • The Company Board comprises 30 individuals, mostly made up of senior members of the twenty Founding Families.
  • Firstmaster Chairholder of the Company Board is the most senior position on Kaldor. There are Topmasters and Firstmasters, the latter being the higher position.
  • Five members of Layly Landerchild's family previously held the title of Firstmaster Chairholder. For as long as anyone can remember there have been Landerchilds, Roatsons, Mechmans and Farlocks on the Company Board.
  • Diss Pitter is Firstmaster Chairholder of the Company Board.
  • The civilian administration, known as the Minor Faction, was originally devised to make group representations to the Company Board on behalf of the minorities.
  • Some members of the founding families aren't rich. Carnell has been involved with their attempt to re-establish their power.

Storm Mines[]

  • After the Taren Capel incident, Storm Mine Four was abandoned, left to sink into the desert. The events were covered up in order to prevent the end of civilisation on Kaldor. The official story detailed the crew's struggle against ore raiders.
  • Very few people outside the company board know the true story of Storm Mine Four. There are confidential debriefing tapes documenting the incident.
  • Storm Mine Seven is staffed by 14 human crew members: Lish Toos, its captain, Mor Tani, its pilot, and Simbion, its chief mover.
  • Storm Mine Seven returns from an 18 month tour of the desert with its ore hoppers full with high grade lucanol.


  • The information that a Laserson probe can be used to modify robots to kill humans is classified.
  • A deactivation circuit is used to shut down robots en masse.
  • A robot can switch to a different wavelength in order to see in total darkness. They also have infrared capabilities.
  • StopDums are used for restraining humans in a non-aggressive manner. Standard Dums can be reset to perform the function of a stopDum.
  • MedVocs are capable of administering medical care to humans.
  • SASV stands for Serial Access Supervoc.
  • SASV1 is a prototype robot. It is able to act as a directed control and modification device for other robots.
  • The robot division is obsessed with security. During the events of this novel, Uvanov is one of the Topmasters in the robot division.
  • There is an activist group known as the Anti-Robot Front, abbreviated as ARF.


  • Tarenists, followers of Taren Capel, are a quasi-religious group, one of the hundred fringe cults hostile to robots. They carry corpse markers with Taren Capel's initials inscribed to identify themselves and to mark their victims.




Additional cover images[]

Editions published outside Britain[]

  • Published in Germany by Cross Cult in 2021 as a paperback edition.


External links[]