EXCLUSIVE: An extract of At Childhood’s End, the new novel

In a new novel by BBC Books, the Thirteenth Doctor will have a reunion with a friend from her past…

Order At Childhood’s End here.


Ace, the feisty friend of the Seventh Doctor, is all grown up now! But how will she cope with this very different Doctor? The actor who played Ace, Sophie Aldred, has written the novel that sees the two meeting again. You can read an extract below.

At Childhood's End by Sophie Aldred


Dorothy McShane jolted from her sleep, lashing out at the creature that was reaching for her. But there was no creature. She was alone in her bedroom, her attacker nothing but a phantom from a nightmare. With a groan, she slumped back onto the bed, the sheets rumpled, her arms and forehead slick with sweat. She closed her eyes again and lay motionless in the cool dark for a moment, trying to control her breathing and slow her heart rate. It had been the same story every night this week. The same nightmare, the same moment of sudden awakening, the same conviction that she was fighting for her life. It was becoming tiresome.

As with all the previous occasions, she tried to recall the exact events of her nightmare, hoping that some remembered detail might provide a pointer to what might be triggering these dreams. They always began in exactly the same way: feeling herself being drawn out of her body, watching her sleeping self recede into the distance as she rose higher and higher until she was floating far above the city, looking down on the patchwork of roads and buildings, lights blazing into the night. Then things tended to kick up a gear and she found herself moving faster, gaining altitude until London was no more than a smudge of light below her.

Soon the planet itself was revealed – a globe of brilliant blue against the blackness, before that too receded, and she was flying through nothing but stars and blackness. Dorothy always enjoyed this bit – she’d always enjoyed the sensation of speed. Bikes, cars, planes; she couldn’t get enough of them . . .

As dreams went, there was little that was unusual so far; dreams of leaving the physical form behind and of flying were common enough. Indeed, given her own past history, it might also be considered inevitable that she would have dreams of this type, but it was what happened next that was troubling her. The exhilarating flight was always brought to an abrupt halt in the same place – a vast dust-scoured desert littered with razor sharp rocks and shards of broken crystal, stretching out seemingly forever beneath a sky the colour of vomit. Every breath that Dorothy tried to take in this barren place seemed to sear the inside of her lungs, and with every step she took, the edges of the rocks threatened to slice though the soles of her shoes. All around her she could see other figures making their painful way across the hostile sand, too far away to make out their faces, but close enough to hear their anguished cries. There were scores of them; men, women, children, all making their way towards a huge building on the horizon.

The structure was vast, its cracked and crumbling walls seemingly made out of rough, dark pumice. Huge chimneys rose from its centre, belching thick, oily smoke into the sick-looking sky and the sound of grinding engines reverberated from within.

Fingers of lightning constantly tore from the clouds that roiled above it, and cracks of thunder echoed across the barren landscape.

It was a vision of hell itself.


To be continued...

Want to read more? Doctor Who: At Childhood’s End is available now as a hardback novel, ebook and audiobook. You can order it here.

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