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The Dust of Ages is the first book in The Darksmith Legacy series.

Publisher's summary[edit | edit source]

It is a few years into our future, and there are bases on the Moon. A recent survey has shown something unusual, an unknown power source. When a tall, skinny spiky-haired stranger turns up and announces he's from the Bureau of Alien Technology doing a spot check, the survey team know they've found something special. But is this special power source a blessing or a curse?

Plot[edit | edit source]

The Doctor lands on the Moon in 2010. As he steps out he remarks "Not where I expected, I wonder what drew me off-course?" indicating that he meant to land on Earth. He is guided downstairs into a research facility beneath the lunar surface. He is greeted by Professor Dollund and Roberta Goodman, using the psychic paper to pass as Inspector Smith from the Bureau of Alien Technology. Goodman explains that they are running Survey 4: a mission, started by the 'big industries', to discover natural resources on the Moon as the Earth has been "depleted". As the Doctor is lead into the mining room, Clinton Seymour announces news that their drill has found a power source deep underground.

The team of 3 begin the descent into the new tunnels to locate the power source. There is a nod to the Doctor's elevator trip in The Impossible Planet during a scene in which the team are squished into a small mine elevator. Upon entering the chasm, Professor Dollund almost falls into a chasm after miscalculating the load-bearing ability of a rock under Earth gravity. They are greeted in the new cavern by Lisa Summerton and Henderson, two archaeologists. Tracing the energy signal to the wall, the Doctor begins to scoop away at the packed dust. It's not long before he discovers a stone hand - the source of the power.

Whilst examining the hand, Bobby accidentally snaps the hand from the wall. Dollund puts the hand in a box in his rucksack in order to take it back from analysis with Seymour. He and the Doctor walk back through the mines to the lab room. Upon arrival, Dollund unpacks his bag and to his amazement, the hand is gone. All that remains is a pile of dust. Bobby and her team call in and report that the hand has rematerialised in the wall. The Doctor and the Professor, dumb founded, make their way back with tools and vacuums. They begin to clean the statue and reveal more and more until they cause the wall to collapse. It’s revealed that the stone statue is an exact replica of the Doctor, with a Crystalline rock in its throat.

Back in the control room, Seymour notices that dust keeps piling up on his desk and has formed a thick layer on the wall. The Doctor is examining the statue when he hears a scream over the comms. The hand has appeared in the control room and is trying to strangle Seymour. The Doctor races back to help but Seymour manages to attack the hand with a chair, reducing it to dust. Bobby calls urgently with news that the statue has changed and is now her mirror image. Meanwhile, on the distant planet of Karagula, 3 figures convene over the re-emergence of the Crystalline.

The statue in the wall begins to change shape and soon takes a vague outline of a human. It becomes animated and reaches out, attempting to grab at the team. They manage to escape but not before it begins to move. Slowly, the rest of the walls give birth to more shapeless creatures. The teams meet up in the access tunnel where the forming has accelerated and now limbs and whole bodies are emerging. The floor begins to shift and the team lock themselves inside the base. The generator goes down leaving Henderson & Lisa to investigate whilst the Doctor attempts to send an SOS. Henderson discovers that the generator is clogged with dust and figures emerge, capturing him & Lisa.

The Doctor & Bobby discover Lisa & Henderson almost suffocated on dust. They manage to restart the generator and re-enable the power systems to send a signal. Meanwhile on Karagula, the Darksmiths have fashioned a robot out of all their remaining resources, including plastic from the Nestene homeworld, Polymos. The Agent is capable of flying through the time vortex and navigating the time winds in order to retrieve the now called Eternity Crystal. It was lost when a member of their community fled and lost them the “contracts” they depend upon.

The dust inside the base is beginning to take shapes. The Doctor and his team endure a risky journey down the main corridor as the dust begins to mount up. Seymour is able to close off sections and increase air conditioning just enough to get them into the control room. The dust begins to press against the door and it eventually gives way, leaving space for dust to fill the room. A hand forms and takes hold of Seymour’s mouth.

The dust begins taking more finite shapes, prying at the team. They are battling to fight it off and the Doctor has no solution. He is rendered powerless, in the grip of the dust with no Sonic Screwdriver. On Karagula, the Darksmiths have set the location for the Agent’s pod. It departs from their planet on its course to retrieve the crystal from the lunar landscape.

Pinned down by the dust, the Doctor is fighting for his life. He eventually manages to grab a hold of his Sonic Screwdriver and destroys the dust. He then uses “wave cancellation” to prevent the Eternity Crystal from transmitting anymore signals to the dust. On Karagula, the Darksmiths pick up the termination in transmission signals and tell the Agent to use extreme force, if necessary, against the Doctor.

The Doctor begins to say goodbye to the team and contemplated leaving them behind, but succumbs to the guilt. He locks the Eternity Crystal in a stasis box to prevent any further transmissions. Whilst he is downstairs, saying his final farewells, his TARDIS is stolen by a moon buggy. He traces the buggy but only finds the Agent. It picks him up and throws him around. It precedes to say: “Brother Varlos. You have been found guilty of treason.” The Agent has confused the Doctor with the Darksmith who fled Karagula with the Eternity Crystal, and is going to kill him. The book ends with the Doctor in the Agent's fist.

Characters[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  • Snorkellians are snouted creatures that suck up dust and dirt, digest it and expel it as pellets which apparently are good for growing tomatoes
  • The TARDIS Data Bank on the Moon mentions that the Moon is the only other world the humans have travelled to by the year 2010.
  • The Agent's metal bodywork is augmented with plastic salvaged from the wreckage of the Nestene homeworld, Polymos.
  • The Agent is programmed with innate understandings of the time Vortex that were found in a deactivated Gundan robot. This allows the Agent to travel on time winds.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • TARDIS Data Bank (extra information on 'the Moon' and 'Analysis of Crystal')
  • Activity pages x4 (The puzzle solutions give the reader the chance to think like the Doctor!)
  • Next instalment cover preview and opening chapter.
  • The Darksmith Legacy's overall story was devised by Justin Richards who contributed four of the ten titles.
  • The Darksmith Legacy was certificated to 13, with under 13's needing parental approval.
  • This first book in the series was released along with the second before the remaining titles saw a monthly release throughout 2009.
  • Each book in the series had a foiled cover with illustration by Peter McKinstry
  • By visiting the website and participating in the Quest participants can unlock additional content like computer wallpapers to download.

The Quest itself features; games - (like finding a specific target in an image, by using the sonic screwdriver as a detector, to hone in (to register 100 on the scale). Once located the 'Target' then provides additional information used in further puzzles involving both words and numbers.

Continuity[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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