Publisher's summary Edit
2011 BBC Books edition Edit
"The past is like a foreign country. Nice to visit, but you really wouldn't want to live there."
In 2003, Rebecca Whitaker died in a road accident. Her husband Mark is still grieving. He receives a battered envelope, posted eight years ago, containing a set of instructions with a simple message: "You can save her."
2014 BBC Books edition Edit
"The past is like a foreign country. Nice to visit, but you really wouldn't want to live there."
In 2003, Rebecca Whitaker died in a road accident. Her husband Mark is still grieving. He receives a battered envelope, posted eight years earlier, containing a set of instructions with a simple message: "You can save her."
As Mark is given the chance to save Rebecca, it's up to the Doctor, Amy and Rory to save the whole world. Because this time the Weeping Angels are using history itself as a weapon.
On 7 October 2011, Rebecca's husband Mark is still mourning her death. His colleague Siobhan suggests that he should have a social life. She then gives him a package with the day's date on it, which had been archived under instructions that it be given to him on that date. Mark recognises his own handwriting on the package.
Mark stops at a petrol station on his way home. He glimpses the statue of an angel on a CCTV screen, but when he turns around it is not there. However, it remains on the screen. The same thing happens at a Chinese restaurant, where the angel appears to be closer. As he passes by an electronics store, televisions in the shop light up, displaying Mark with an Angel right behind his shoulder. A voice of a man warns him not to look, turn around, or close his eyes. The man instructs Amy and Rory to watch the screens; the two alternate blinking. The voice explains to Mark that he is being stalked by a Weeping Angel, who is currently being observed by Amy and Rory and thus quantum-locked. He then tells Mark it is safe to turn around, and Mark meets the Doctor. The Doctor explains that the Angel only exists on screens and can only touch Mark if he is on them too. Mark runs home, but there is a camera by the door of his apartment, and he is touched by an angel.
The Doctor, Amy, and Rory use the timey-wimey detector to trace Mark, arriving at a block of flats. There is an Angel at the entrance, but a chunk of stone falls of its wing when the Doctor taps it. He explains that the Angel has used up all its energy. He can follow the residual time energy to find Mark. Rory stays behind to learn more about Mark, and the Doctor agrees to pick him up in an hour. In the TARDIS, the Doctor learns that Mark had been sent to 1994, which he is intrigued by because previously the Angels have not sent people back in their own timestreams, and thus there is a risk of paradox. He wants to prevent this, but the time trace is quickly fading. Amy brings up Rory, and they return to 2011, albeit a week after they left. In that time Rory has traced Mark's family and friends.
Meanwhile, a confused Mark finds that there are many pound notes in the envelope. There is also a letter with a list that is signed by his own name in his handwriting. The first item reads "10 June 1994: Arrival", which he learns by newspaper is the date. The letter briefly explains that he cannot easily return to 2011, that he needs to live with a new identity, and that he can "save her". Mark visits his mother, who to his surprise does not recognise him. He pretends he is a distant relative from Canada, and pleads that she get her husband a heart exam. He knows that his father only has three years to live. Mark then travels by train to where his younger self resides as a student. He feels a strange tingling in his hand and glimpses a blue box following the train outside. The TARDIS crew can see six Weeping Angels on the roof of the train.
Mark sees younger self with Sophie, his girlfriend at the time, and housemates Lucy and Rebecca. They go to the student union building for a dance. A light flickers across the building. The Doctor, Amy, and Rory can see the six Angels trailing him, and the Doctor says that they are waiting to feed off the energy when mark meets his older self. Amy and Rory, tasked with keeping the younger Mark busy, call him upstairs on an unexplained errand. The Doctor finds the older Mark, who refuses to be brought back to 2011, and the Doctor punches him and drags him out of the building, claiming that he is drunk. They are met by Amy, Rory, and the Angels, and escape by jumping onto a bus. The younger Mark, meanwhile, is left alone with Rebecca and they kiss for the first time.
The next morning in a hotel, the Doctor explains to Mark what the Weeping Angels want and that it is vital he get back. Mark says he cannot, telling them about the letter. He has put the letter in a safety deposit box. Mark explains this reasoning by telling of a time when his wallet was mysteriously returned in Rome; he believes his older self was behind this. The Doctor offers to use the TARDIS to achieve the same thing, but Mark refuses, leaving the Doctor suspicious. He and Amy and Rory believe the story, however, and the Doctor allows him to stay if he promises not to interact with himself or alter history. He also wants Mark to make a copy of the letter and send it to himself when the time comes, which the Doctor claims will not make a paradox.
Told through flashbacks, Mark and Rebecca stay friends after college and sleep together in 1996 after drinking. They agree that this was a mistake, although Mark was lying. Their friendship becomes less close. They meet up again in 1997, when "Becky" is still seeing Anthony and Mark is dating Jenny. Becky hands Mark a lottery ticket from a newspaper that she thought was his. The older Mark, unrecognisable to both, picks up the newspaper. The two Marks experience a tingling sensation in their hands. Mark and Rebecca kept in touch after this meeting and she invites Mark to Rome with her in 1998; the trip was booked for her and her and Anthony, but he cheated on her. They share a bed, but with a pillow firmly between them.
The Doctor keeps the TARDIS trained on Mark's life, watching for any temporal disturbances. They return during the Rome visit, and Rory chases down the pickpoter who stole the younger Mark's wallet. The Doctor hands it in, but he is still aware of temporal disturbances. Mark remembers that he and Rebecca got locked in Capitoline Hill, and the TARDIS crew allow this to happen. They only escape the Angels because of a security guard. Meanwhile, locked together, a romance blossoms between Mark and Rebecca, and they sleep together than night after they are unlocked.
In 1999, the older Mark, disguised as "Harold Jones", has been running an investment business, run by Pollard & Boyce. Mark asks Pollard to allow his younger self to get a job, although to never reveal his involvement. Meanwhile, the younger Mark proposes to Rebecca.
After leaving Rome, the Doctor finds a disturbance on 4 November 2000, and to his horror learns that Mark is about to watch his own wedding. Unfortunately, the Doctor has caused the limousine carrying Rebecca and her father to crash, and Mark has offered them a ride in his car to make it to the wedding on time. The Doctor, Amy, and Rory have no choice but to follow. The Doctor is worried because Mark remarks that Rebecca was not fifteen minutes late to the wedding the first time. The Doctor gives them a ride in his TARDIS instead so she arrives on time, even replacing her dress when it gets splashed with mud. He hypnotises Rebecca and her father so they do not remember this incident.
However, the Doctor finds the Angels blocking the way to the church, and realises that they are trying to keep the two Marks apart. On 5 June 2001, Mark begins to copy the letter which had told him where to intervene. In fact, it is the second copy he has made; the first was the one he had shown to the Doctor previously, which omitted the words "YOU CAN SAVE HER. Just as I did." Meanwhile, Mark's younger self discovers that a mysterious Harold Jones has been promoting his career, and attempts to track him down. He is surprised by how similar Harold is to himself, and the older Mark is worried because he does not recall this meeting taking place. He pretends to be Mark's cousin. When the younger Mark spots the letters, there are flashes of electricity and smoke.
The Doctor, Amy, and Rory, who have landed nearby and struggled against the Blinovitch Limitation Effect, enter at that moment, as do the Weeping Angels. The Doctor, Amy, and Rory drag the two Marks outside. The older Mark comes to and tries to retrieve the letters, but they have burned. Mark despairs that history has changed, but the Doctor states that the Weeping Angels could have created the letter on psychic paper to create a trap. Mark drives away, refusing to answer the Doctor as to what else was on the list. The Doctor erases the younger Mark's memory of the incident, and he proceeds to go home to his wife. Rory recalls that Mark did not have a wife in 2011, and the three realise that she must have died and he is going to prevent that. Suddenly, another Rory appears, explaining that he had been sent back in time by an Angel from 2003. The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to allow the two Rorys to touch each other and gives the future Rory a fez to distinguish them. He then lands the TARDIS on the day Rebecca died.
Mark has parked his car up the road so the lorry cannot pass. The Doctor, Amy, and the Rorys arrive, and the Doctor tells Mark about the trap. The Weeping Angels are converging, and there is no way Rebecca can survive because her death is a complicated space-time event. The Doctor gives Rory instructions, but he is touched by an Angel on his way back to the TARDIS. The future Rory, however, explains that he has set up what the Doctor wanted, but two Angels are in the way of the switch. The Doctor convinces Mark that he must do something and he illuminates the Angels with his headlights, allowing them to be watched, and he presses the switch. Six big halogen lights with attached television screens and cameras switch on, and the Angels fade and are now too weak to exist outside of television screens. However, the sixth Angel has escaped. They prevent it from reaching Rebecca, but she still dies in Mark's arms. The Doctor explains that the sixth Angel was the one dying and chasing Mark in 2011.
They take Mark to Rebecca's funeral, and then back to 1993, where he meets a young Rebecca. He tells her a veiled life story and she advises him to move on and stop mourning his dead wife. She touches his face and he leaves, just before his younger self arrives and meets her for the same time. The Doctor notices that Mark looks younger since Rebecca touched him, making him the same age as when he met the Doctor in 2011. The Doctor takes Mark back to his flat a week after he was sent back in time, and they leave. Mark, still with a lot of money from the Harold Jones endeavour, decides that he call up Rebecca's old friends Lucy and Emma and tell them the story.
- Eleventh Doctor
- Amy Pond
- Rory Williams
- Mark Whitaker
- Rebecca Whitaker
- Frank Pollard
- The Doctor finds a book named The Venusian Book of Calm in his coat pocket.
- There are cardboard cut-outs of the Teletubbies outside Woolworths.
- Mark walks past a Dixons in 1994.
- Mrs Doubtfire and Groundhog Day were films that were released in 1994. Incidentally, Groundhog Day is about a man who is caught in a type of incomplete time loop.
- Amy likens the Doctor chasing Mark's train in the TARDIS to a scene in Harry Potter.
- Mark works for Pollard & Boyce.
- Mark remarks that his wedding has turned into an episode of the Chuckle Brothers.
- Rebecca Whitaker listens to The World Tonight on the radio.
Story notes Edit
- The films Mrs Doubtfire and Groundhog Day are cited as films that were released in 1994. In the real world, Groundhog Day's given release is incorrect, being released instead in 1993, while Mrs Doubtfire's is only correct from a UK standpoint, being originally released in 1993 in the US.
- The Weeping Angels first appeared in TV: Blink.
- The Doctor claims that the timey-wimey detector's ability to boil an egg is not a side-effect, but rather a feature. His previous incarnation stated that it could cause chickens to explode. (TV: Blink)
- The method in which the Doctor defeats the Angels echoes TV: Blink.
- Future Rory is forced to wear a fez on orders from the Doctor who declares him "Fez Rory". (TV: The Big Bang)
- The Doctor says that the Weeping Angels "should know better than to put [him] in a trap". (TV: The Time of Angels)
- In this story, the Angels attempt to create a temporal paradox to feed on its energy; although TV: The Angels Take Manhattan states that creating a paradox is shown to poison and kill the Angels, the Doctor's words suggest that only certain Angels can feed on paradoxes in the manner depicted here, and only so long as they take no direct role in the paradox.
- The Doctor asks Rebecca if he looks like the sort of person that would kidnap a bride, on her wedding day, in a police box. His previous incarnation in fact did that to Donna Noble in TV: The Runaway Bride, albeit unintentionally.
- The sonic screwdriver is compared to an electric toothbrush. (TV: The Lodger)
- The Blinovitch Limitation Effect (TV: Mawdryn Undead et al.) is explored in detail. The two Marks create an energy field simply by being in the same room, and the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to lessen the effect on future Rory, allowing him to make contact with his past self without consequence.
- The Weeping Angels have access to psychic paper (TV: The End of the World et al.), which according to the Doctor, is "child's play" for them.
- The Doctor refers to Mark's letter to himself as a "Sally Sparrow survival kit". (TV: Blink)
- Rory is time-displaced by a Weeping Angel. However, he is able to reunite with the Doctor, Amy and his past self a month afterwards thanks to the fact that the Angel displaced him to a time that they were visiting while following Mark. Rory later ends up being sent into the past twice by a Weeping Angel in The Angels Take Manhattan with the second time leaving him permanently trapped in the past where he dies of old age.
- The story was released as an audiobook on 6x CD read by Clare Corbett.
- Before the company went into administration, the audiobook was available as a download from the AudioGo website.
- This story was also released as an ebook available from the Amazon Kindle store.
- This novel was reprinted and rereleased as an ebook by BBC Books on 6 March 2014 as The Monster Collection Edition.
Additional cover images Edit
- The Discontinuity Guide to: Touched by an Angel at The Whoniverse
- The Cloister Library: Touched by an Angel