The TARDIS brings the Tenth Doctor and Martha to Balmoral in 1902. Here they meet Captain Harry Carruthers — friend of the new king, Edward VII. Together they head for the castle to see the king — only to find that Balmoral Castle is gone, leaving just a hole in the ground. The Doctor realises it it the work of the Judoon — a race of ruthless space police.
While Martha and Carruthers seek answers in London, the Doctor finds himself in what should be the most deserted place on Earth — and he is not alone.
With help from Arthur Conan Doyle, the Doctor and his friends discover a plot to take over the world. With time running out, who will fall victim to the revenge of the Judoon?
Edward VII has a day to himself at Balmoral Castle. He decides to give a day off to Captain Harry Carruthers as well, and sends him to hunt deer around the castle grounds. When Carruthers leaves the castle he notices the rain is falling upwards.
The Doctor and Martha arrive in Balmoral hoping to visit the castle. They meet Carruthers, and Martha interrupts him before he can shoot a deer. Carruthers invites them to the castle to have dinner with the King, but when they arrive they find that the castle is gone, and there is a crater in its place. Instantly, the Doctor and Martha recognise this as the work of the Judoon.
The Doctor confirms this by detecting traces of a plasma coil with his sonic screwdriver. It is revealed that Carruthers brought a plasma beacon into the castle, after being given it by his friend the author Arthur Conan Doyle so that he could show the strange device to the king. The Doctor sends Martha and Carruthers to find Conan Doyle and gather more information about where the plasma beacon came from.
The Doctor takes Martha and Carruthers to London in the TARDIS. There, the two take a hansom cab to Carruthers’ apartment so he can change out of his country attire, before visiting Doyle in his suite at the Grand Hotel. Doyle is reluctant to say who gave him the device, but is persuaded when Carruthers convinces him that Martha and her associate “Doctor Smith” are eminent scientists who wish to use the device as an energy source. Doyle reveals that he was given the device by a secret society known as the Cosmic Peacekeepers. Believing the device to be extra-terrestrial, they had asked Doyle to convey it to the “highest authority”. Doyle tells Martha and Carruthers where to find the Cosmic Peacekeepers’ laboratory, and they head off. On their way to the lab, Martha and Carruthers visit the Golden Rose Restaurant in Soho for lunch, before visiting the lab of the Cosmic Peacekeepers.
Meanwhile the Doctor has parked the TARDIS in orbit around the Earth to locate the castle. He finds it in the middle of the Arabian desert, the most deserted place on the planet. After landing the TARDIS in the desert, the Doctor finds the castle and three Judoon spaceships. He sees many men on horseback riding towards the castle and shooting their rifles at its forcefield. When they can’t get through, they quickly move on.
Martha and Carruthers are greeted by Professor Challoner, who takes them into a lab which looks anachronistically modern. Challoner says that the device was recovered by the Cosmic Peacekeepers from a monastery in Tibet, although Martha believes this to be a lie. Challoner refuses to let them look any further around the lab, so they leave. Noticing how the ugly doorman that greeted them seemed to be replaced by Challoner within the second it took for the front door to open, Martha speculates that Challoner might be a shapeshifter.
They head back to Doyle’s hotel to ask him what else he knows about the Cosmic Peacekeepers, but to their surprise Doyle has no memory of meeting them earlier that day. He also appears to have forgotten all about the Peacekeepers and the plasma beacon they had given to him. After he leaves in a hurry Martha suggests that this might not have been the real Conan Doyle, or if it was then he might have had his memories wiped. Martha tries to call the Doctor, but can’t get through. They had back into the Grand, where Martha comes up with a plan and explains it to Carruthers.
The Doctor approaches the castle, and carves through its forcefield with his sonic screwdriver. Inside the Doctor hears Judoon and hides in an alcove. However, he is not alone in the alcove. A mysterious person puts a gun to his head, demanding to know who he is and what he’s up to.
Martha and Carruthers are climbing over rooftops. Martha is disguised as a boy. According to Martha’s plan, Carruthers had used his telephone and Royal connections to order plans and maps of London’s docklands, where they discovered an empty warehouse backing onto the Cosmic Peacekeeper’s lab. Martha and Carruthers break in via a skylight, then enter the lab.
Inside they find plastic, which has yet to be invented, and some alien technology resembling a nuclear reactor. Then, Martha and Carruthers are caught by Professor Challoner, who explains that the technology is a temporal reactor which can be used to harness the energy of time. Challoner reveals himself to be a shapeshifter of a group called the Peacekeepers, who are working in an alliance with the Judoon. Challoner summons two Judoon and tells them that Martha and Carruthers are spies, before ordering the Judoon to kill them. A third Judoon appears and declines the order, saying that since Challoner is an alien on Earth he does not have any authority over the local lifeforms, and that Martha and Carruthers cannot be sentenced to anything without a trial. Challoner, the Judoon, Martha and Carruthers pass through a portal, which takes them to Balmoral Castle.
The man threatening the Doctor reveals himself to be George Fitzroy, one of the King’s private secretaries. He explains how the Judoon took the castle, before rounding up all of its occupants and locking them in the cellars. The King is being held and guarded in the old Queen’s sitting room. Fitzroy managed to grab a gun and escape from the Judoon, and has been hiding ever since.
Challoner and the Judoon bring Martha and Carruthers to the King, so that Challoner can tell him about a “master plan” he has concocted. Before he can begin, they are interrupted by the Doctor and Fitzroy. Challoner threatens to have the Doctor killed is he does not stop speaking. The Doctor is quiet, and Challoner offers to make King Edward the emperor of the world.
Challoner reveals he has hidden Temporal Reversion devices in all of the major capital cities of Europe, Asia, and Africa, which he can set off remotely from his lab. These would effectively erase the cities in which they were placed, making the British Empire an unchallenged global ruler. Martha and Carruthers protest, but the Doctor says he thinks the plan is good. After humouring Challoner, the Doctor convinces Challoner and the Judoon to leave, so that everyone else can have a conversation in private. The Doctor then tells the King to pretend to go along with Challoner’s scheme, or they all risk being killed.
Challoner returns, flanked by a squad of Judoon. The King agrees to Challoner’s plan on the conditions that Balmoral Castle is returned to it’s original position, and that the Doctor be allowed to act as his personal agent. Challoner agrees, but takes Martha as a hostage to ensure the Doctor does not double-cross him.
After the Judoon Captain escorts the Doctor out of the castle and through the forcefield, the Doctor questions his honour, asking why the Judoon would be mixed up in an act of piracy. The Judoon Captain states that he is acting with unflawed honour, and since the Judoon consider lying to be a crime the Doctor reasoned that he had to believe that what he was doing was honourable.
After Balmoral Castle is returned from the desert to Balmoral and the Judoon ships take off, the Doctor returns to Scotland so he can rescue Martha before destroying the lab in London. However, when he arrives he hears artillery fire, and realises battle has broken out around Balmoral Castle. The King’s men are in combat with at the Judoon. The Doctor approaches a soldier and demands to be taken to be taken to his commanding officer. The soldier takes the Doctor to Lieutenant General Robert Baden-Powell, and the Doctor persuades him to order a ceasefire.
The Doctor then enters the castle, where the Judoon Captain informs him that the Peacekeepers have identified him as an enemy and ordered his execution. The Doctor questions how the Judoon can have jurisdiction over Earth, and the captain shows him a scroll from the Galactic Council which authorises the Cosmic Peacekeepers to take over the Earth, which it calls a “hopelessly warlike planet”. While the scroll is genuine, the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to reveal that its text has been altered by the Peacekeepers. The original text says “Earth must be left alone to work out its own destiny”. Realising he has been lied to and his honour damaged, the Judoon Captain asks the Doctor what to do. The Doctor tells him to evacuate all of his troops. The captain orders the troops to retreat, but before he leaves himself he tells the Doctor that he must first take revenge for his damaged honour.
The captain storms into the room where Challoner is holding the King, Martha and Challoner. The Doctor follows, attempting to reason with him, but almost instantly the Judoon Captain draws his blaster and kills a number of Peacekeepers. The captain sentences Challoner to death, but before he can shoot him the Doctor rushes towards him. The captain sweeps the Doctor aside, and while he’s distracted Challoner grabs Martha to use as a human shield. Challoner grabs a device from inside his robe, and uses it to teleport himself and Martha away. The Judoon Captain asks the Doctor to find and “destroy” Challoner, to restore his honour. The Doctor leaves Carruthers to look after the King while he heads to the TARDIS to find Martha. As he leaves, he sees the Judoon ships taking off.
The Doctor arrives in London, and detects the Peacekeepers’ temporal reversal generator with the TARDIS. In the lab, Martha is tied up with plastic tape while Challoner powers up the Temporal Reverser’s remote control. He is in a rage, threatening to kill Martha in front of the Doctor before killing the Doctor himself. At this moment the TARDIS materialises in the lab and the Doctor steps out. Challoner aims his blaster at the Doctor, but misses the shot when Martha body-slams him. Challoner falls into the machine and the machine explodes. After the dust settles, the Doctor explains how this damaged the machine, resulting in “temporal blowback” which erased both the machine itself and Challoner from ever have existing. Martha asks the Doctor what will happen to the temporal devices Challoner has planted in all of the world’s major capital cities, and the Doctor proposes a quick tour of the world in order to dispose of all of the bombs.
- Tenth Doctor
- Martha Jones
- Harry Carruthers
- Edward VII
- Arthur Conan Doyle
- Lieutenant-General Robert Baden-Powell
- Professor Challoner
- Judoon Captain
- The Doctor mentions the Plasmavore from his previous encounter with the Judoon.
- The Ogrons, mercenaries of the Daleks, are briefly mentioned as a replacement for the Judoon.
- The Judoon are compared with rhinoceroses.
- The Doctor claims to have had dinner with many kings, stating that "Henry VIII always put on a good spread", "James I was surprisingly mean", and that Alfred the Great's hospitality ranged from "all right" to "terrible".
- The Doctor mentions Charles III, Queen Camilla, and William V as successors of Queen Elizabeth.
- There are several references to H.G. Wells' novel The War of the Worlds.
- Conan Doyle mentions The Strand. The Eighth Doctor had a collection of this magazine.
- There are several references to H.G. Wells' novel The War of the Worlds.
- Carruthers refers to the Wright brothers and their "new-fangled flying machines".
- The Doctor compares Genghis Khan, Napoléon Bonaparte and the Daleks, saying they all make great plans which don't go in their favour.
- The London Underground opened in 1906.
- Conan Doyle had recently returned from South Africa. Carruthers and Baden-Powell had both served there during the Boer Wars.
- Bemoaning the difficulty of short-range TARDIS trips, the Doctor says Pluto would be easier to get to than Piccadilly.
- The Doctor makes references to Lawrence of Arabia, Carry On Up the Khyber, and Monty Python's Spamalot.
Food and Drink
- The king has a breakfast of eggs and bacon.
- Alfred the Great used to serve his guests a venison stew that was "all right", and cakes that were "terrible".
- Martha and Carruthers ate steak and chips at a restaurant.
- Gin was a popular drink at this time, with people often getting "dead drunk for sixpence".
- Carruthers orders champagne and a tonic water.
- This novella was also released as an ebook available from the Amazon Kindle store.
- This was the last Quick Reads release to feature one of the Doctor's companions until the novel Magic of the Angels in 2012; there are no Quick Reads featuring Donna Noble.
- The Judoon previously appeared in TV: Smith and Jones and subsequently in TV: The Stolen Earth, PROSE: Judgement of the Judoon, TV: Prisoner of the Judoon (The Sarah Jane Adventures), TV: A Good Man Goes to War, TV: Face The Raven and TV: Fugitive of the Judoon. However, the events of the SJA episode and Fugitive of the Judoon contradict this novel, which has the Judoon Captain promising to never visit Earth again.
- The Doctor and Martha tell Harry Carruthers of their adventure in TV: Smith and Jones.
- Earlier in his personal timeline, the Sixth Doctor met Edward VII's grandson Edward VIII in London in December 1936 (PROSE: Players) whereas the Tenth Doctor met his mother Victoria in Scotland in 1879. (TV: Tooth and Claw)
- The Doctor makes references to TV: The Daleks' Master Plan, Marco Polo and The Reign of Terror.
- The Discontinuity Guide to: Revenge of the Judoon at The Whoniverse
- The Cloister Library: Revenge of the Judoon