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You may be looking for Ghost Machine.

Ghost Devices was the seventh Virgin Bernice Summerfield New Adventures novel. It was the first appearance of Clarence, a representative of the People who looks like an angel.

Publisher's summary[]

In the evening, when the sky was the colour of burnt umber, the factories crawled down the continental shelf to drink.

The Spire is an inhuman artefact, a construction almost three hundred miles high. But it is more than just a big dumb object. Those close to it can look into the future — a future which is going to be arriving sooner than they think, and which is as bad as can be.

In the here and now, Professor Bernice Summerfield, doyenne of twenty-sixth century archaeology and seedy space-port bars, is used to seeing strange things in her rooms. So it takes the unexpected arrival of an angel to get her away from increasingly desperate professional deadlines and off to investigate one of the seven hundred and seventy-six wonders of the galaxy.

However, Benny is not the only one interested in the Spire. A mysterious race of weaponsmiths, a mutogenic assassin and a sect of fanatically anti-religious reptiles all have their reasons for learning — or concealing — the structure's secrets. And, as she struggles to unlock this ancient mystery, it soon becomes clear that the life of an eccentric professor is of very little consequence indeed.

Chapter titles[]

  • Prologue: Necessary But Insufficient Causes
  • Chapter 1: Angels in Dirty Places
  • Chapter 2: Murder Must Advertise
  • Chapter 3: Dark and Stormy Light
  • Interlude: The Big, Big Picture
  • Chapter 4: Commerce and Visitations
  • Chapter 5: In Search of Ancient Astronauts
  • Chapter 6: Sailing to Bizzarum
  • Chapter 7: I Am the Assassin
  • Chapter 8: Doctor at Large
  • Chapter 9: High Dungeon
  • Chapter 10: You Can't Be Too Careful With Life
  • Interlude
  • Chapter 11: Nostradamus Was Right
  • Chapter 12: Turing Tests
  • Chapter 13: The Nuclear Way to Universal Peace and Brotherhood
  • Chapter 14: Mystery Under the Sea
  • Chapter 15: Ah Ha!
  • Chapter 16: When I Say Run, Run Like Rabbits
  • Chapter 17: Up, Up and Away!
  • Chapter 18: There Was Death From the Beginning to the End of Time
  • Chapter 19: Cover Stories
  • Chapter 20: Kill the Dog on Sunday
  • Interlude: The Future
  • Epilogue


to be added




  • Bernice is unable to cope with her role in the temporal paradox. She overdoses on tranquilliser pills, but is saved by Clarence.
  • Clarence used to be a People ship. Bernice thinks he looks a bit like Keanu Reeves, though naked and with wings.
  • Factory 34561239 thinks about excluding pears from its fruit and vegetable section when it hears Bernice state, "Everything's gone pear shaped".
  • Someone (presumably the Doctor) tells Sul Starren he should invest in Telvos, Hoopla IV, and New Rarga and in plough shares on Spindrast Maxima.



  • Benny's group are rescued by an Air Vent inside a life-hating submarine.


  • Ordifica is briefly seen here.
  • Factory 34561239 helps Benny's group escape Vo'lach Prime.
  • The planet "They're All Nouns You Idiot" (otherwise known as Noun) was named due to a translation issue.
  • Vo'lach Prime orbits the star Sadr.
  • Canopus IV is a world in the Canopus system.
  • The planet Telvos - and in fact the entire Telvos Nebula is controlled by the Mondesfiore family.
  • In the year 2594, Hoopla IV's Rattacatta mines are occupied by supporters of Prince-Imran Suleiman.
  • The Wompon coasts of New Rarga are in civil war in 2594.

Time travel[]


  • This novel shows another permutation of Bernice Summerfield in an alternate universe.


External links[]