At the heart of the ruined city of Arcopolis is the Fortress. It's a brutal structure placed here by one of the sides in a devastating intergalactic war that's long ended. Fifteen years ago, the entire population of the planet was killed in an instant by the weapon housed deep in the heart of the Fortress. Now only the ghosts remain.
The Doctor arrives, and determines to fight his way past the Fortress's automatic defences and put the weapon beyond use. But he soon discovers he's not the only person in Arcopolis. What is the true nature of the weapon? Is the planet really haunted? Who are the Eyeless? And what will happen if they get to the weapon before the Doctor?
The Doctor has a fight on his hands. And this time he's all on his own.
The Doctor lands, alone, on an uninhabited, green skied planet in Galaxy Seven, almost exactly 290,000 lightyears from Earth, around the year 292009, near Arcopolis, to disable a weapon that wiped out the population fifteen years ago in 291994. He wanders through the city, looking at the futuristic technology. A six fingered ghost hand touches the TARDIS.
The Doctor encounters a group of children scavenging the city. They seem to think the Doctor is a ghost and try to attack him. While trying to convince them that he is no ghost, the Doctor wishes he could see one. A ghost appears and kills one of the children, making the other ones flee.
Moving closer to the heavily guarded Fortress where the weapon is located, two older children, Alsa and Gar, catch up on The Doctor. They ask him if he killed a girl who died a few days ago, which he denies. He then manages to shake them off and makes his way to the Fortress, where he sees a glass-like creature. Alsa and Gar catch up on the Doctor again and knock him unconscious.
The Doctor wakes up in a settlement consisting of a group of adults who survived the weapon, and a lot of children. The adults want the Doctor to stay, so he can help them with scientific progress and agriculture, but the Doctor refuses their demands. During his stay in the village, the Doctor befriends a woman named Dela. Recently her daughter Jall was found dead, and her eyes were missing from the body.
The Doctor goes to the Fortress again and spots a transparent, six-fingered figure. The figure flees. While the Doctor manages to reach the Fortress, Alsa, Gar, a few other children and two adults followed him. Alsa enters the Fortress with the Doctor. Outside the Fortress transparent creatures approach the remaining people and introduce themselves as the Eyeless. One of them has two eyes embedded inside its body, Jall's eyes.
A group of Eyeless manages to enter the Fortress and chases the Doctor and Alsa. They manage to convince Alsa that the Doctor is a threat and that she should become one of them. The Eyeless predicted the Doctor's landing on Arcopolis and his intentions, and they also want the weapon the Doctor is trying to destroy. Eventually the Eyeless lose their influence on Alsa. When the Doctor reaches the heart of the Fortress, he finds the weapon, but the Eyeless fight to gain it. Meanwhile, the Eyeless spaceships attack the Fortress from outside the Doctor and the Fortress' security kill all the Eyeless inside except the leader. The Doctor offers the leader the TARDIS key if he gets to keep the weapon. While trading, the Doctor unintentionally triggers the weapon, destroying all the remaining Eyeless.
The Fortress' defenses are deactivated and the Doctor and Alsa escape. He gives the weapon to Alsa, and gives her the choice to destroy it. Alsa is unsure about the future and the Doctor takes her to the TARDIS. They travel to Arcopolis in 292029. There an adult version of Gar tells them how they destroyed the weapon and Alsa is assured enough. Alsa is returned to her own time and the Doctor leaves.
- The Doctor's pockets contain his sonic screwdriver, psychic paper, a ball of string, anti-radiation pills, a pocket Gallifreyan-Cymraeg phrasebook, a bag of kola nuts, a yo-yo, a collection of coins from a dozen different planets, everlasting matches, and the TARDIS key.
- The weapon was built using quantum physics, the observer effect, the superforce, vunktotechnology, and vundatechnology.
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- This is the first book in the BBC New Series Adventures series to only feature just one person on the top half of the cover (discounting reissues with Rose Tyler removed from the cover) and the first in which he is not travelling with a companion.
- This is the only "companionless" Tenth Doctor Adventure in which the Doctor does not combat a returning alien race.
- This story was also released as an ebook available from the Amazon Kindle store.
- In AHistory, Lance Parkin reveals a deleted line from this novel would have revealed the Eighth Doctor was betrayed by his companions during the Last Great Time War, leading him to ending his life alone.
- The Doctor says that ghosts could be explained as being Gelth, (TV: The Unquiet dead) time travellers with a dodgy temporal feedback circuit, (TV: Day of the Daleks) an osmic projection, (TV: The Time Warrior) Waterhive, (PROSE: The Feast of the Drowned) or Cybermen. (TV: Army of Ghosts)
- The Doctor recalls the deaths of the last Racnoss, (TV: The Runaway Bride) the Pyroviles, (TV: The Fires of Pompeii) and Richard Lazarus. (TV: The Lazarus Experiment)
- The Doctor mentions Big Ben being repaired. (TV: Aliens of London)
- The settlement reminds the Doctor of Hooverville. (TV: Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks)
- It is suggested that the Ninth Doctor travelled by himself for a while after he regenerated, explaining why he appears in Clive's photographs without Rose as a travelling companion. (TV: Rose)
- The Tenth Doctor recollects the destruction of Gallifrey at his hand; it is the memory the Eighth Doctor previously recovered (after having suppressed it) of destroying Gallifrey to avert the War in Heaven. (PROSE: The Gallifrey Chronicles)
- Official The Eyeless page at Penguin Books
- The Discontinuity Guide to: The Eyeless at The Whoniverse
- The Cloister Library: The Eyeless
- Lance Parkin's Blog on writing The Eyeless