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The Sands of Time was the twenty-second novel in the Virgin Missing Adventures series. It was written by Justin Richards and featured the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan Jovanka.

Publisher's summary[]

1996 Virgin Books edition[]

"If Sutekh had escaped, no power in the universe could have stopped him wreaking havoc and destruction. This time, it's worse."

Arriving in Victorian London, the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan run straight into trouble: Nyssa is kidnapped in the British Museum by Egyptian religious fanatics; the Doctor and Tegan are greeted by a stranger who knows more about them than he should and invited to a very strange party.

Why are rooms already booked for the Doctor at the Savoy? How can Lord Kenilworth's butler Atkins be in Egypt and London at the same time? What is the history of the ancient mummy to be unwrapped at Kenilworth's house? And what has all this got to do with Nyssa?

The Doctor's quest for answers leads him across continents and time as an ancient Egyptian prophecy threatens 1990s England. While the Doctor attempts to unravel the plans of the mysterious Sadan Rassul, mummies stalk the night and an ancient terror stirs in its tomb.

2014 BBC Books edition[]

The Doctor is in Victorian London with Nyssa and Tegan — a city shrouded in mystery. When Nyssa is kidnapped in the British Museum, the Doctor and Tegan have to unlock the answers to a series of ancient questions.

Their quest leads them across continents and time as an ancient Egyptian prophecy threatens future England. To save Nyssa, the Doctor must foil the plans of the mysterious Sadan Rassul. But as mummies stalk the night, an ancient terror stirs in its tomb.


to be added




  • Nephthys is released when the canopic jar containing her reasoning is broken while robbers are plundering her pyramid.
  • Marcus Scarman arrives for dinner at Lord Kenilworth's in 1896.


  • This novel continues many of the themes in the television story Pyramids of Mars and functions as both a prequel and a sequel.
  • The story was released as an e-book on the BBC website in 2004, with the book remaining on the website until 2010. It contained illustrations by Peter McKinstry and added an alternate ending to the story. The alternate ending was added into the story by having a character called the Chronicler run a simulation of the events of the ending of the novel "if things had gone differently".
  • This novel was reprinted and released as an ebook by BBC Books on 6 March 2014 as The Monster Collection Edition.
  • The phenomenon of the Web of Time and the Doctor's inability to change history despite his limitless ability to travel in time is central to the novel. It is discussed several times by the Doctor and Tegan. The Doctor does mention that he has seen history changed, but that it requires "fantastic power" and is often disastrous.
  • Despite this, Tegan attempts to change history in a minor way. However, events end up not being changed at all — something that doesn't surprise the Doctor.
  • Further history of the Osirans is detailed in this story.
  • This story is set between Arc of Infinity and Snakedance.



The BBC e-book of The Sands of Time contained several illustrations by Peter McKinstry.

Additional cover images[]

Editions published outside Britain[]

  • Published in Germany by Cross Cult in 2021 as a paperback edition.

External links[]