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Empire of Death was the sixty-third novel in the BBC Past Doctor Adventures series. It was written by David Bishop, released 1 March 2004 and featured the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa.

This was the first and only novel to feature this line up of Doctor and companion, although it would be a pairing that Big Finish Productions used for several audio stories starting with The Land of the Dead in January 2000.

Publisher's summary[]

In 1856, a boy discovers he can speak with the voices of the dead. He grows up to become one of England's most celebrated spiritualists.

In 1863 the British Empire is effectively without a leader. Queen Victoria is inconsolable with grief following the death of her beloved husband, Prince Albert. The monarch's last hope is a secret séance.

The Doctor and Nyssa are also coming to terms with loss following the death of Adric and Tegan's sudden departure. Trying to visit the Great Exhibition of 1851, the time travellers are shocked when a ghost appears in the TARDIS, beckoning them to the Other Side.

What is hidden in a drowned valley guarded by the British Army? Is there life after death and can it be reached by those still alive? And why is the Doctor so terrified of facing his own ghosts?


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  • The Trakenites considered patience, tolerance, inquisitiveness and a wish for harmony and tranquility to be the best qualities for people.

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Comic preview from DWM 340. Illustration by Mike Collins.

Illustration by Roger Langridge (DWM 344)

  • This story was previewed in Doctor Who Magazine issue 340 with an illustration by Mike Collins.
  • This story marks the Doctor's earliest recorded direct meeting with Queen Victoria; the Fifth Doctor will again experience an adventure where Victoria plays a prominent role in the novel Imperial Moon, although he avoids directly meeting her, and the Tenth Doctor has another encounter with her in the television story Tooth and Claw.


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