This was the first Past Doctor Adventures novel to feature this line up of Doctor and companions and the first full length novel to do so since 1996's Cold Fusion. This was the first, and as of 2020[update], only full length novel to feature the Celestial Toymaker.
As he sets out to rescue his friend and exact revenge, the Doctor's companions become increasingly involved. Adric, determined to justify his place aboard the TARDIS, opts to face the Toymaker's game challenges while Nyssa, angered by the Doctor's actions, finds herself excluded by the people she thought were her friends. And what is the connection between the Toymaker and the planetDymok, whose comatose inhabitants find a new saviour in the shape of Tegan Jovanka?
While attempting to turn Adric against the Doctor, the Toymaker creates a hallucination of Jiana, a childhood friend of Adric, who reminds him about some of the things he's run into with the Doctor, including Great Vampires, Tharils, the Master, the Ferutu and Terileptils.
Runcible threatens to report Magnus and Mortimus to Lord Cardinal Zass.
Two members of the Celestial Intervention Agency travel from the future, who know that Mortimus will cause trouble once he leaves Gallifrey, and that another member of the Deca has a very important destiny. After studying the individuals in the Deca, they find that this individual is the Doctor.
The book is set between the TV episodes The Visitation and Black Orchid, despite the fact that there is no gap between those two stories. For the Toymaker, it apparently leads into The Nightmare Fair, though it is incompatible with various elements of that story.
Each character receives a lengthy "flashback" dream sequence full of unnecessary background information and references to previous episodes. Many of these contradict the very episodes they reference: for instance, the Rassilon Imprimatur is presented as a real thing that a person needs in order to travel through time, despite The Two Doctors only including it as a lie and despite the on-screen evidence of the Doctor's many companions. Similarly, the Master is called by the name "Koschei", despite that the Second Doctor didn't recognise him by that name in The Dark Path.
Later, the dream sequences are revealed to have been created by the Celestial Toymaker to frustrate the Doctor and his companions. The Toymaker's statement that he was tormenting the Doctor "because I have the power to, and I can!" acts as commentary on the Virgin Books authors' attitudes toward adding backstory to characters from the Doctor Who television series.
In No Future it was stated that the Doctor and Mortimus didn't know each other on Gallifrey. Yet in Divided Loyalties they are good friends, and members of the same Deca gang. In addition, it is stated that Mortimus "gave atomic bazookas to the Normans". However, in The Time Meddler the Time Meddler's entire plot was to prevent the Norman Conquest of England. The Time Meddler had planned to use an atomic warhead to aid the Anglo-Saxons.
It is stated that a Rassilon Imprimatur is essential for Time Lords, as without it no Time Lord will be able to regenerate, and that only graduates of the Academy are given the Rassilon Imprimatur. It is also stated in the last chapter of Divided Loyalties that Jelpax was the only member of the Deca to graduate from the Academy.
This book is highly significant, as, during the dream sequence, it depicts two separate characters named Magnus and Koschei together on Gallifrey at the same time. Koschei was the name The Master used in The Dark Path. whereas Magnus fantasises about working with the War Lords, hinting that he is the same person as The War Chief. As such, many people take this as "proof" that 'The War Chief is not the same character as the Master'. However, this occurs during what is explicitly said to be a "strange dream", brought on by the Celestial Toymaker. In addition, time is mixed-up within the dream, as Type 30 TARDISes are still being invented one night, yet the next morning Type 35 TARDISes have already been used for some time. And characters who the Doctor only met long after his time at the Academy interact with him while he is at the Academy.
While fighting to extend his life at the end of his regeneration cycle, many bodies were possessed by the Beevers incarnation but all kept somehow reverting to his real being until he finally regenerated into the MacQueen one. Hence, these sections cannot be strictly chronological