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Love and War was the ninth novel in the Virgin New Adventures series. It was written by Paul Cornell and features the Seventh Doctor and Ace. It introduced Professor Bernice Summerfield. In 2012, Big Finish Productions adapted the novel for audio to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its original release.

Publisher's summary[]

On a planet called Heaven, all hell is breaking loose.

Heaven is a paradise for both humans and Draconians — a place of rest in more ways than one. The Doctor comes here on a trivial mission — to find a book, or so he says — and Ace, wandering alone in the city, becomes involved with a charismatic Traveller called Jan.

But the Doctor is strenuously opposed to the romance. What is he trying to prevent? Is he planning some more deadly game connected with the mysterious objects causing the military forces of Heaven such concern?

Archaeologist Bernice Summerfield thinks so. Her destiny is inextricably linked with that of the Doctor, but even she may not be able to save Ace from the Time Lord's plans.

This time, has the Doctor gone too far?


Ace attends the funeral of her old friend Julian in Perivale. Afterward, the Doctor takes her to the planet Heaven in the year 2570. The bucolic planet lies on the border between the human and Draconian empires, and is neutral territory, serving as a cemetery world for both races in their long and sporadic wars against each other and against the Daleks. While the Doctor visits the governmental library in Joycetown in search of a lost manuscript, The Papers of Felsecar, Ace gets involved with a group of Travellers, a nomadic bunch that has lived on Heaven for some years now. She quickly falls for Jan, one of the Travellers, and he shares her interest, although he is in an open relationship with another Traveller, Roisa — who is in turn in another open relationship with yet another Traveller, Máire. Ace meets other colourful characters: Christopher, the sexless priest of the Travellers, who has peculiar powers thanks to a government experiment; and a guest of the Travellers: archaeologist Bernice “Benny” Summerfield, who is conducting a dig at some ancient ruins left behind by the now-extinct Heavenites. Meanwhile, Roisa steps on a filament of a strange fungus.

In Joycetown, Phaedrus — a priest of the death-obsessed Vacuum Church — conducts a ritual sacrifice of an old friend. The friend’s dying corpse is taken over by, and converted into, a fungus. The fungus is intelligent and has orders for Phaedrus. Later, he encounters Roisa, and warns her of terrible things to come.

The Doctor’s efforts to find the manuscript are unsuccessful, and he is balked by a nervous librarian. He meets with Miller, the head of the local military detachment, and takes him into his confidence, warning him of the real reason for his visit; Miller keeps it to himself, but is convinced to help the Doctor. Miller tells him about a mysterious sphere in space, which was spotted briefly before vanishing. The Doctor meets Benny, and she shows him a buried Heavenite observatory with a strange telescope and a decayed body inside — the first Heavenite remains found. The Doctor is disturbed by what he sees there. He accompanies Benny to Joycetown, but they are attacked en route; Benny shoots off the attacker’s arm, but the assailant is not deterred, and escapes. The arm is infected with white fungal filaments.

Ace joins the Travellers in “Puterspace”, a virtual reality environment that links to the Empire’s electronic networks, and which the Travellers use in lieu of drugs to join their minds for rituals and conferences. With Jan, she encounters a being calling himself the Trickster; and she learns more of Jan and Christopher’s history. The two men are old friends; both volunteered for military experimentation during their service. The experiments took away Christopher’s sexuality, but gave him strong psychic powers; Jan was mostly unaffected, but gained the ability to generate fire on command. As the Travellers gather, Roisa begs them to leave the planet and leave her behind. They are attacked in Puterspace by a strange sphere, but Christopher sacrifices himself to let the others escape.

Back in the real world, the others bury Christopher’s now-empty body, and grieve for him. Ace spends the night with Jan; later, she dreams of the Doctor bargaining with Death for her life, with Death refusing the deal. In the morning, the Doctor meets her, and is disturbed to find that she slept with Jan; she assumes he is jealous of her desire for a separate life. During the visit, he shows her a tesseract, a Gallifreyan hypercube, and plays a trick where it disappears between dimensions. He enlists her help in locating the book; she meets the librarian, who seems afraid, but drops a hint as to where to look in the library computers. Meanwhile, a guard named Kale meets with Miller and reports a (fabricated) attack by Sontarans, and requests to go to the orbital station to scan the planet for incursions. Miller allows it, but notices that Kale’s arm is in a sling.

The Doctor talks with Jan about Ace, and then enters Puterspace. He is attacked by Vacuum Church assassins; Christopher appears and rescues him. Christopher reveals that his powers allowed him to copy his mind into Puterspace as software before he died; he is working out a way to control his own dead body as well, via the Puterspace jack in its brain. However, before the Doctor can leave, Phaedrus enters Puterspace and catches him in a software trap, forcing him to relive painful memories of his third incarnation’s death. Ace arrives to rescue him, but is caught in the trap herself, and it shifts to her memories of Perivale. There she learns from the Doctor that the real enemy is a fungal race called the Hoothi, which absorbs its victims and gains their memories and minds. Ace sees her dead friend Julian there, and the Doctor realises the Hoothi have replicated her house from his memories, not from Ace’s, indicating that after his death, the Hoothi absorbed him. The Doctor briefly liberates Julian’s mind, and Julian in turn restores Christopher’s program; Julian is reintegrated into the group mind by Phaedrus, but Ace liberates them by reversing the trap onto Phaedrus and making him relive his worst memory in which he euthanized his own mother. With the Doctor, she escapes Puterspace. While they recover, Roisa gives the Doctor a drink from a Heavenite goblet that was once stolen from the Vacuum Church.

The Doctor and Ace lead the Travellers in a raid on the library. There they are intercepted by Vacuum acolytes, who have been absorbed by the Hoothi. Ace kills them with Nitro-9, setting the library ablaze in the process, but not before they infect the librarian. Just before he converts to fungus, however, he unlocks the computer, allowing the others to find out where the manuscript is hidden. They find that it was last released to Bernice Summerfield. On the way out, they meet Miller, and he learns that the Sontaran invasion was a lie; and Kale has been infected by the Hoothi spores. Kale, it seems, is the assailant who attacked the Doctor and Benny; his arm in a sling is fake, concealing a cache of the spores. He has now infected the entire orbital station crew, and removed the station from action, leaving the planet defenceless until help arrives, which will take a week.

The Doctor again tries to get Ace to give up her romance with Jan, but to no avail. He retrieves the manuscript from Benny, and finds his own handwriting in it, though presumably from a future incarnation. It acts as a Rosetta Stone of sorts, allowing him to translate Heavenite writing left behind in the observatory. Ace confers with Benny, and they discuss their respective pasts; Benny admits that she faked her credentials years ago, and is not really a professor. She travels in search of the truth about her missing father, who may be among the dead buried on Heaven. Ace spends the night with Jan, who tells her his secret name, Aradrath, meaning “one big fire”. During the night, mysterious figures release spores into the Traveller camp, infecting some of the Travellers. Christopher also appears, having regained control of his body, and collects most of the spores, which will not harm him; he also warns Ace that remaining with Jan will require a sacrifice.

The observatory writing leads the Doctor and Benny to the graveyards, where they find that every body is infected with the spores, and indeed, have not decayed. He gets Benny’s team to rush and dig up the observatory, as it is instrumental to his plan. The Hoothi, via Kale, try to crash the orbital station onto the dig, but the Doctor threatens Phaedrus to divert it; the Hoothi need Phaedrus alive for now, and they destroy the station before it can crash. The Doctor returns to the camp and levels with everyone about the Hoothi: they are an ancient, fungal race, who absorb and utilise the living and the dead alike in efforts to conquer the galaxy. They were believed to have fled after failing once to conquer Gallifrey, but now they have returned. They exist in sub-hive minds as part of the greater group mind, and each sub-group travels in a massive organic sphere, composed of the remains of absorbed creatures. Centuries ago, they farmed the Heavenites for raw material, until they eventually claimed the entire world; the observatory was left to guard against their return. Now they are returning, and their long game will pay off; they arranged to have Heaven made into a cemetery world, filling it with a vast army of the dead, which they are coming to claim for use in their conquest. They can see and hear through their living victims, and can control the victims’ actions, or take over at any time. The spores cannot be cured.

The now-liberated observatory contains a special telescope that can penetrate the Hoothi sphere’s ability to conceal itself. Roisa, knowing she is infected, goes to blow up the Vacuum Church in a suicide bombing, but can’t pull the trigger. Phaedrus forces her to meet the Hoothi that is located in the basement. Jan realises what has happened, and takes matters into his own hands; he takes some of the others and steals a shuttle, intending to set it as a passive projectile in orbit to destroy the Hoothi sphere. Ace and Máire follow him and sneak aboard. When he discovers Ace, he asks her to marry him if they survive. She agrees, and everyone but Jan waits in the shuttle’s escape pods. Jan will activate the final course of the shuttle, and then enter a pod himself, and launch the pods. However, when the ship appears, everyone except Jan, Máire, and Ace explodes into fungus; and even Jan is clearly infected, as he can’t fire the engines. He ejects Ace, Máire, and one of the others. Ace loses her mind briefly from grief; but the Doctor’s hypercube appears in her hand, containing impressions of Jan, which pull her back to sanity. Máire’s pod crashes into the Vacuum Church, doing much damage, but not destroying the church, Phaedrus, or the Hoothi.

When the Doctor learns that Ace followed Jan, he is appalled, and he and Benny immediately take the TARDIS to the Hoothi sphere. The Hoothi - or rather, three of the four in their subgroup - meet with him, and reveal that he himself is infected, having received a spore from the drink given to him by Roisa. They will refrain from taking him over, and allow him to leave with Ace, if he destroys the planet’s military communication equipment so as to prevent the empire’s Spacefleet from arriving. However, they try infect Benny, but the Doctor secretly prevents the infection, feeding the Hoothi images from his mind to make them think they were successful.

As the Doctor and Benny leave, they see Jan’s body among the other captive forms. The Hoothi sphere enters the atmosphere, and sends down subspheres and stairways to receive their infected dead, which burst to life from the ground all over the planet. Along the way, the dead attack and kill many of the living, breaking down settlements and buildings. The Doctor sends Benny to recover Ace, who has crashed in the forest. Christopher joins them as well. Phaedrus, considering his work complete, enters Puterspace, still haunted by the death of his mother. Ace arrives and follows him in, seeking revenge for Jan’s death. The Doctor, meanwhile, deactivates the comm equipment. He goes to the Vacuum Church and enters Puterspace to rescue Ace. With Christopher’s help, he exploits the remnants of Jan’s consciousness inside the group mind, horrifying Ace. Rather than try to save Jan, he persuades him to ignite his pyrokinetic power, and the sphere, filled with flammable gases, explodes, destroying the Hoothi inside and breaking their control over their army. It was all a part of the Doctor’s plan, including leading Jan to confront the Hoothi, as he knew that Jan was infected; however, Ace cannot forgive the Doctor for manipulating and sacrificing her lover to win this battle.

As the colony picks up the pieces, Ace returns to the church and finds Phaedrus still alive in the basement. Phaedrus kills himself and is absorbed by the fourth Hoothi, which has been in the basement all along. It can still salvage the situation with enough blood, and decides that Ace will provide that blood. The captive Roisa pushes her toward the Hoothi, but Máire, who survived her pod's crash, appears and shoots Roisa, killing her. Ace calls on the last of Julian’s mind inside the Hoothi, and makes him rebel momentarily. He causes the Hoothi to explode and die.

The Doctor searches for Ace, and bears witness to Christopher’s final death, as he can no longer maintain his body. He finds Ace and tries to apologise to her, but her love for him has turned to hatred after his actions, and she refuses to go with him. She stays behind with Máire and the remaining Travellers, keeping only the hypercube - she even leaves her jacket with the Doctor, indicating her break from her life with him. He returns with it to the TARDIS, where Benny agrees to join him. After all, as she points out, he needs someone to remind him who he is, and to give him a reason to fight.




  • Dalek eyestalks are worth twenty decacredits in bounty at an imperial base.

The Doctor[]

  • The Doctor is known as Karshtakavaar — the Oncoming Storm — by the Draconians.
  • The Doctor can blow fire using an oil lamp.
  • The Seventh Doctor deliberately "killed" his sixth incarnation (though he was unborn at the time), knowing that Time would need a champion.


  • The 20th century is Bernice Summerfield's favourite era.
  • Cruk is used as a swear word.


  • The Travellers are a group of people who originated on Earth as anarchists and unhappy people. They use Puterspace instead of drugs to attain higher states of consciousness.


Libraries and archives[]

  • The Doctor goes to Joycetown Library on Heaven to get a book to take to the Monks of Felsecar.


  • The Vacuum Church believes only death and suicide can relieve the pain of life.
  • Kale is a guard for IMC.


Psychic powers[]

  • Jan Rydd has pyrokinetic powers that he gained through experiments with the military. His "secret" name is Aradath.


Theories and concepts[]


  • This novel introduced the character of Bernice Summerfield. She was the subject of a promotional campaign involving Doctor Who Magazine as the first companion created for the literary field. She is not, however, the first non-TV companion, as the Doctor travelled with several original companions in the various comic strips dating back to the 1960s. Benny would prove to be, inarguably, the most enduring character created during the Wilderness Years, appearing in adventures with and without the Doctor every year since her introduction (as of 2020).
  • This novel had a working title of Heaven.[1]
  • A prequel to this novel was published in DWM 192.
  • Big Finish released an audio adaptation of this story in October 2012 to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of this story and of the character of Bernice Summerfield.
  • This is the first Virgin New Adventures novel to be written by a returning writer.


Cover gallery[]

External links[]


  1. DWM 252 (Licence to Kill, pp 27-30)