Book Club: Timewyrm: Revelation

Time for another book! We are going to read together Timewyrm: Revelation

It’s the final book of the Timewyrm quadrilogy!

Please discuss below - no need to finish it first, discuss as you go along but please add spoiler tags for anything that could be considered a spoiler!

If you’ve previously read the book and want to join in the discussion, that’s great too!

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I am so excited about this. Will be interesting to read the conclusion to this arc.

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I think I will just write up a couple of more or less disconnected thoughts on this one, I read it probably 8 months ago so I just read the plot synopsis on the Wiki this time around :slightly_smiling_face:
Spoilers blurred.

But happy reading :tardis: I think you’ll enjoy it :blush:

I love Paul Cornell’s writing style, his prose flows effortlessly - though it only becomes better in his future VNA instalments.

The bit where the Doctor dances with Death on the surface of the moon is kind of pointless but works really well on the cover.

Hemmings is back, I like that the denouement from Exodus wasn’t glossed over.

Having the confrontation with the Timewyrm inside the Doctor’s psyche/timeline? was a really cool concept. The way the different incarnations lingered inside the current Doctor was a bit like the Guardians of the Edge from Power of the Doctor, and it allowed for the cameos of previous Doctors to be included in a way that didn’t feel gratuitous.

I liked how the Timewyrm was resolved by placing her within a space baby! very Blon Fel Fotch Passamer Day Slitheen in Boom Town :slitheen: .

The best thing for me about the Timewyrm quartet is in their diversity, but ultimately I think it should have been more streamlined to create a more cohesive narrative between the four books. But the idea behind the Timewyrm is very much in keeping with the 7th Doctor’s fight against general “evil from the dawn of time” by being Time’s Champion.

3,5/5 :star:

Ranking list of the Timewyrm quartet:

  • Exodus (I love an alternate timeline story)
  • Revelation (Really cool concepts throughout)
  • Genesys (A really good story but with iffy bits)
  • Apocalypse (A bit nondescript generic sci-fi)

Like all of these early NAs, it has been literally decades since I read them!

But there is one overriding memory of this story and that is of the parts set inside the Doctor’s mind. The appearances of the previous Doctors is marvellously done but it is the impact of the Doctor meeting Adric, Katarina and Sara that has always stuck with me. It also, of course, feeds into the neverending debate about where Sara and Katarina count as companions :slight_smile:

Also is this the book where it’s suggested the 7th Doctor deliberately killed off the Sixth so he could become Time’s Champion or does that come later?


This was the book that sold me on the VNAs! Truth be told I found much of the first half a little waffling and roundabout, but it builds to such a delightful, triumphant conclusion. I love those finall chapters-they’re joyous!

It’s full of fun and interesting ideas as well. I adore Saul, the sentient church. I also think that out of the Timewyrm saga it captures the Doctor and Ace best. They feel real here, especially Ace.

I was listening to an interview with a Big Finish writer (can’t remember who, unfortunately) who said that it should be appreciated just how much of a game changer Revelation was at the time. I mean, compare it to the previous books and the TV series, and the ideas and format are so exciting and new. I’d have to agree! It’s a burst of energy in a book range which up until now, at least to me, felt very traditional. Really like this one!


Yes, as I recall it is in Revelation and then referenced in Love and War

Here’s the Poparena Youtube video:

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Read the Prologue. It’s surprisingly good with such vivid imagery. Plus I discovered a cameo from who I suspect is Who author Alan Barnes.


I started reading this today. I have high hopes, because it’s written by Paul Cornell and I’ve heard his VNA’s are among the best in the range.

So far, it’s definitely different from the others. A bit bizarte, very imaginative and a bit confusing. I’m only two chapters in, though. I don’t know how all this stuff with a sentient church, astronauts, the Moon, Hemming from Exodus and the Timewyrm are supposed to connect.


That’s something I find with a lot of the VNAs I’ve read so far—a lot of them feel a bit scattershot as a result. I think this one pulls it off, though!


Gotta say, I’m over halfway through and it’s just… dragging for me. There’s been quite a few bits to keep up with and I’m still not sure how they tie together. And not a huge fan of the bully.


I think it’s more elaborated on in Head Games as well


I’m reading this book right now too, also about halfway through, and am also struggling. Hopefully the story starts to get more focus.

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I am about 1/4 in and am also struggling.


I’m about two-thirds through. Yeah, it’s a bit of a struggle. I like Cornell’s poetic style and some of his wild ideas, but my problem is that this entire story feels like a loose connection of said ideas rather than a coherent narrative. He writes Seven and Ace very well, though, as I can year McCoy and Aldred say every line. I also like how the Timewyrm is involved from the start and how Cornell inserts earlier Doctors into the story.


I finished this one last night. Having heard great things about it and knowing that Paul Cornell wrote it, I had high expectations going into it. I was slightly disappointed, however, because it took a long time to turn interesting and somewhat coherent. The final third is tense, exciting, and well-written. Before that, I struggled to get through the book, as I found it was all over the place narratively, and I couldn’t get a grasp of what Cornell wanted to say with it.

In this one, I have to say that Seven and Ace are fantastic. Cornell understands them well as characters, and I could hear McCoy and Aldred say every line in my head. He also develops both characters quite a bit and adds to their backstories, which I like. In this installment, the Timewyrm makes a significant appearance and assumes a prominent role as the main antagonist, revealing the full scope of its scheme. However, I believe its defeat occurs too swiftly, albeit in a clever way. I find the rest of the characters uninteresting: Chad is constantly in the way, Hemmings lacks a meaningful presence, and the Hutchingses, not to mention Trelaw, come across as forgettable. And I never understood the point of Saul the sentient church: why is it sentient, where did it come from, and what happened to it?

Cornell also explores a multitude of intriguing concepts, including those pertaining to the Time Lords and the Doctor’s past, although his connections aren’t always seamless. All the stuff inside the Doctor’s head is interesting and inventive, such as us and him meeting his past incarnations in different roles (One is a Librarian and Five is the conscience) or being tormented by his dead companions. They all appear in a meaningful and natural way, which makes their appearances even more impactful. This one has some brutal violence, but it’s not excessive like it is in Genesys. It slots naturally into the story and feels like something that would not have been possible to show on TV.

There are some fun pop culture references here and there (the reference to Goldfinger is my favourite, or the description of an NME cover from the distant future year of 2018 :sweat_smile:).

I feel like I should like this one more due to its status, it is well written, with good main characters, a lot of interesting ideas, and the most inventive and well-defined Timewyrm novel. But due to its very slow and jumbled start, it’s not an all-time classic for me. Perhaps a re-read sometimes changes my mind, now that I know what it all adds up to. Right now, it’s a 7/10 for me.

So, I would rank the Timewyrm books as follows:

  1. Exodus - a timey-wimey adventure with good concepts and readable prose
  2. Revelation - best characterisation, great ideas, somewhat messy writing.
  3. Genesys - a bit too edgy, bad characterisation, but an interesting setting
  4. Apocalypse - a by-the-numbers and forgettable adventure.

I came here to write more or less the same thing as @MrColdStream . It was nothing wrong with the book but it took a long time before I got hocked and it felt a bit messy. The final third is the best but it had the problem that I had lost some interest by then. The best bit was when 7th and Ace argued about bigger things and the risks he put her in.

My rating is 3/5

My Timewyrm rank:

  1. Exodus - This one is by far my favorite. Especially the first part in Alternative London.
  2. Genesys - Don’t get the 7th doctor and try to be edgy in the wrong way. But a solid story.
  3. Revelation - I like some parts but have too many problems for me.
  4. Apocalypse - I don’t even think I remember what this was about.

It’s really interesting reading these reactions to the whole arc as I remember the reactions the first time round when Revelation was absolutely the pinnacle of a the run - although Exodus was well-loved too but probably because of Dicks being the author.

I’m going to be intrigued by the Cats Cradle reactions when they come round.


Just finished this.

I have to echo a lot of the thoughts above - I was excited about it because it was Paul Cornell, but actually the first half of the book was slow and very confusing.

It all ties up at the end and does make some sort of sense, but the sentient church just feels way too out there for Doctor Who to me. There is no scientific or extraterrestrial explanation. What does he think this is, RTD2?

Definitely the best characterisation of Ace and Seven, and I enjoyed the stuff in the Doctor’s mind but I can’t say it’s my favourite because it was all a bit too weird.

Seeing the reviews, that other people loved it, does make me worry about future novels by Paul. Are they often this weird? :sweat:

It’s a 3.5/5 from me!