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Shroud of Sorrow was the fifty-third novel in the BBC New Series Adventures series. It was written by Tommy Donbavand and featured the Eleventh Doctor and Clara Oswald.

Publisher's summary[]

23 November 1963

It is the day after John F. Kennedy's assassination and the faces of the dead are everywhere. PC Reg Cranfield sees his late father in the mists along Totter's Lane. Reporter Mae Callon sees her grandmother in a coffee stain on her desk. FBI Special Agent Warren Skeet finds his long-dead partner staring back at him from raindrops on a window pane.

The faces begin to talk and scream and push through into our world as the alien Shroud begins to feast on the grief of a world in mourning. Can the Eleventh Doctor dig deep enough into his own sorrow to save mankind?


After Clara and the Doctor help a ship to fly away from a world covered in a vast, bubble bath filled liquid, they are entailed in an adventure that involves them thwarting an alien's plot to send the whole world into grief. They end up meeting a news reporter and an FBI agent on 23 November 1963, after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, who, along with an army of clowns, help the Doctor to stop the Shroud from draining the world full of happiness.


Individuals imitated by the Shroud[]


  • Mae works at the Dallas Morning News on Young Street.
  • The Doctor says that the wormhole circling Earth is similar to a doughnut before redacting his statement and saying that it's more like a Scotch egg.
  • An ambulance is used as the Doctor's main mode of transportation when the TARDIS doesn't work.
  • By using some form of telepathy, the Doctor travels inside Ben's mind to see what the Shroud is doing to him.
  • The Doctor brings up his degree in cheese again, but specifies that it's "only the stinky, blue kind".
  • Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and her book, On Death and Dying, are brought up when the Doctor realises that her theory about the five stages of grief were correct. The two of them apparently argued about it.
  • The Doctor spent his gap year in the Bethlem Royal Hospital, mentioning that it was a nice place before he went to visit Peter Streete.
  • The Doctor once met John F. Kennedy at a party in the 1950s, just before getting engaged to Marilyn Monroe at Frank Sinatra's house.
  • The Doctor uses the foot of a sock, a satsuma, a nectarine, and a length of string to explain how a wormhole works.
  • The Doctor describes the Time Vortex as a "huge, complicated, multidimensional, trans-temporal thingy" that comes in two colours.
  • The houses built into the side of the hill are described as hobbit holes by Clara.
  • Contents of the Doctor's pockets include the sonic screwdriver, the psychic paper, a satsuma, a nectarine, a piece of string, a pair of scissors, a carrot, an original Paul E. Wirt pen, given to him by Mark Twain after he had written the first draft of Huckleberry Finn, a large key, a computer mouse, a baseball signed by Babe Ruth, and the recorder used by his second incarnation, which he plays.
  • Semtis is a planet situated in the top left-hand corner of the Andromeda galaxy.
  • The Doctor refers to clown cars as the only other dimensionally transcendental vehicle in the universe besides the TARDIS.
  • Clara comes across a sauna in the TARDIS.
  • The Doctor mentions that he met a Sontaran stand-up comedian.
  • The Doctor asks Mae if her grandmother is an alien or at least an Auton.

Foods and Beverages[]

  • The Doctor has a carrot in his pocket.


  • Of the three novels released in April 2013, this is the only one to feature Clara Oswald and marks her literary debut. It is also, to date, the only full-length Eleventh Doctor novel to feature her.
  • At the time of its release, this was the only piece of spin-off fiction confirmed to feature Clara, as neither the Doctor Who Magazine nor Doctor Who Adventures comic strips, nor AudioGO talking books line had announced any upcoming stories featuring the companion.
  • The novel is set on and around 23rd November, 1963, the day Doctor Who debuted, and revisits Totter's Lane. A meta reference to this takes place when Doctor notes that it's Saturday teatime in Britain and "the fun is about to begin." Published in the 50th anniversary year, this is the only original novel published that year to have an explicit tie to the milestone. However, its sibling releases, Plague of the Cybermen and The Dalek Generation, released on the same day also, contain brief (and possibly coincidental) references to the anniversary: the former mentions Karn ahead of the premier of The Night of the Doctor, while the latter ends with the Doctor declaring "No more".
  • A character in this book, Reg Cranfield, is a policeman patrolling Totter's Lane, and is named for the actor who played the policeman at the beginning of "An Unearthly Child".
  • The wormhole in this story is described as unique; there was a tunnel that needed to be traversed, unlike other wormholes that were instantaneous, there was breathable air, it had a solid area to walk across (though it was described as uneven), it resembled a "dead" Time Vortex, and had the bodies of the Shroud's previous victims spread across its walls. The Doctor mentions that the bodies greatly resembled the bodies of Pompeii. (TV: The Fires of Pompeii, AUDIO: The Fires of Vulcan) People that travel across the wormhole also have a chance of experiencing a mental jump and going through what one of the victims went through before their death.
  • Various incarnations of the Doctor attended the Brigadier's funeral. Paragraphs of the book (without name) refer to the Second, Third, Sixth, Seventh and Ninth Doctor being present during the event, and the First Doctor once mentions that all of his incarnations were present at the funeral and behaved themselves, although some arguing did occur at the wake. (PROSE: The Gift) The Eleventh Doctor is made aware of the Brigadier's death in The Wedding of River Song, however the Seventh Doctor appeared to be aware of the circumstances in Battlefield.
  • This was chronologically the last BBC New Series Adventures novel to date to feature the Eleventh Doctor, the other two novels released at the same time taking place prior to Clara becoming a companion. (A later release, Tales of Trenzalore was a short story collection, not a novel.)


Editions published outside Britain[]

  • Published in the USA by Broadway Books in 2013 as a paperback edition.
  • Published in the Czech Republic by Jota in 2014 as a hardback edition.
  • Published in Brazil by Suma de Letras in 2015 as a paperback edition.
  • Published in China by New Star Press in 2019 as a paperback edition.


External links[]