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The Curse of Fenric was a novelisation based on the 1989 television serial The Curse of Fenric.

Publisher's summary[]

1990 Target Books edition[]

If this is a top secret naval camp, I'm Lord Nelson!

Ace has a poor opinion of the security arrangements at Commander Millington's North Yorkshire base – and she's less than comfortable in 1940s fashions. But the Doctor has graver matters on his mind.

Dr Judson, inventor of the Navy's ULTIMA code-breaker, is using the machine to decipher the runic inscriptions in the crypt of the nearby church.

Commander Millington is obsessed with his research into toxic bombs that he insists will hasten the end of World War Two.

A squad of the Red Army's crack Special Missions brigade lands on the Yorkshire coast with instructions to steal the ULTIMA device – unaware that Millington has turned it into a devastating secret weapon.

And beneath the waters at Maidens Point an ancient evil stirs...

The Doctor uncovers mysteries concealed within villainous plots – but what connects them all to a thousand-year-old curse?

2015 BBC Audio edition[]

The TARDIS brings the Doctor and Ace to 1943, and a British Naval camp in North Yorkshire. Dr Judson is using the ULTIMA code-breaking machine to decipher the runic inscriptions at the nearby church; meanwhile Commander Millington is obsessed with his research into toxic bombs that will hasten the end of World War Two.

Nearby, and ancient evil stirs beneath the waters at Maindens Point. What connects all these to a thousand year old curse?

Chapter titles[]

  • Prologue: Dusk
  • Chronicle I: Betrayal
  • Document I: The Wolf-time
  • Chronicle II: Dangerous Undercurrents
  • Document II: The Curse of the Flask
  • Chronicle III: Weapons within Weapons, Death within Death
  • Document III: A Victorian Storyteller
  • Chronicle IV: Vampire City!
  • Document IV: The First Contest of Fenric
  • Chronicle V: Wind and Water, Earth and Fire

Deviations from televised story[]

  • The novelisation includes an epilogue that leaves Ace (now called Dorothee) in Paris. The Virgin New Adventures novel Set Piece sets out the events which lead up and into this eventuality.
  • The way Haemoveres kill people is not fully described in the book. It cuts to the next scene just before the Haemoveres kill someone, but the victims bodies are described afterwards.
  • The Doctor recites the names of his past companions to overcome the Haemovores: Susan, Ian, Barbara, Vicki, Steven, Jo and Sarah Jane.
  • Nurse Crane is implied to be a soviet agent.
  • Prozorov is renamed Trofimov and frequently thinks of his wife Irena and his daughter. It is mentioned that he and Sorin investigated the deaths in Transylvania.
  • Vershinin's rank is given as corporal, which is not clear on screen.
  • Jean is described as blonde: On screen, she has dark hair.
  • There is dialogue indicating that Ace, Jean and Phyllis are not "maidens". (This was scripted but cut down during filming and removed entirely during editing.)
  • The Doctor's name is obscured by a splodge on his forged authorisation.
  • Wainwright is described as "young", rather than middle-aged.
  • The sentry the Doctor encounters during the night is not identified as Perkins.
  • The Haemavores that kill Petrossian are said to be the missing commandos. (They are not seen on screen.)
  • The marines that Jean and Phyllis tease and who are later killed by the Russians are replaced with a group of Home Guard, who Miss Hardaker asked to look for the pair. Leigh and Miss Hardaker witness the killings from a distance and Miss Hardaker blames the girls for it.
  • There is an extra scene of the Doctor and Ace visiting Miss Hardaker looking for Jean and Phyllis.
  • It is mentioned that the camp was set up by the navy as a rival to the army's research at Bletchley Park.
  • There is an extra scene of the Doctor and Ace finding Millington in a trance.
  • Miss Hardaker is given backstory as an unmarried mother who never escaped the stigma.
  • Millington causing Judson's disability is elaborated on; he broke his back during a rugby match, going in hard out of jealousy after seeing Judson exchanging looks with another player.
  • The refugees are said to have arrived that day, explaining why Bates mistakes Ace for one.
  • It is two technicians who find Fenric's flask and ignore it, rather than Leigh and Perkins.
  • Sorin tells Vershinin to sharpen stakes to use against the Haemavores.
  • Ace mistakes the Doctor's reference to the flask coming from the Orient, believing he means Leyton Orient Football Club. (The novel contains interludes telling the story of the Doctor's first encounter with Fenric and the flask's journey to Northumbria).
  • The Doctor tells Ace she can hear the psychic "singing" against the Haemavores because she is slightly telepathic.
  • Ace drives a land rover into the Haemavores to help Kathleen and Audrey escape.
  • Ace pulls out the cable from the Ultima Machine rather than wrestling with the power control but it continues to work anyway.
  • The Doctor attempts to question Ace about crying out for her mother when she is about to be executed.
  • The Doctor establishes it is Fenric, not Millington, who set the dynamite trap.
  • Millington kills Vershinin and Bates, with the result that Bates is dying when he tells Ace the clue to the chess solution. Millington later dies in the laboratory explosion.
  • The Ancient Haemavore helps Fenric because he believes he will return him to his own time.
  • The references to the Doctor knowing Fenric's influence with Lady Peinforte and the Cybermen is removed, with him instead saying he knew instantly that Audrey was Ace's mother.

Writing and publishing notes[]

  • Along with Remembrance of the Daleks, this commission was given an unlimited wordcount. In the light of the forthcoming range of New Adventures, new editor Peter Darvill-Evans encouraged the writers to take a more "grown up" approach to the story, in particular its underlying theme of adolescence and sexuality.
  • As a result of the removal of a page limit, The Curse of Fenric, at 188, is the longest Doctor Who novelisation published under Target Books' traditional format; several later novelisations would be longer, but they would be published in a format similar to the NA line.
  • Acknowledgement: "A story has many authors. Among the authors of this story were John Nathan-Turner (who indulged my flight of fantasy), Andrew Cartmel (who didn't) and a dozen teenagers in Ealing (for whom it was written). My gratitude to these and others – but especially to Andrew. IB".
  • This paperback included a map of the flask's route.

British publication history[]

One single paperback edition, priced £2.50 (UK), estimated print run: 29,000 copies.


This Target Book was released as an audiobook on 3 September 2015 complete and unabridged by BBC Physical Audio and read by Terry Molloy.

The cover blurb and thumbnail illustrations were retained in the accompanying booklet with sleevenotes by David J. Howe. Music and sound effects by Simon Power.

External links[]

to be added