Read an extract of original Fifteenth Doctor adventure 'Caged'

Are aliens ever abducted by aliens? And if they were, would anyone believe their story?

Caged, by Una McCormack, is the second of three original Doctor Who novels to be released in 2024, featuring the Fifteenth Doctor and Ruby Sunday in all-new adventures. To celebrate the novel's release, you can read an exclusive extract from the latest adventure below.

Doctor Who: Caged is available to order in hardback and audiobook here.


Ruby Sunday, lying back on the grass, stared up in wonder at the night sky. Strange stars twinkled back. She didn’t have names for them, but she could still admire them. 

When Ruby decided to go travelling with a mysterious stranger in his space-and-time machine, she hadn’t brought any expectations with her about what exactly space-and-time-travelling in a space-and-time machine might be like. She told herself to keep an open mind. This turned out to be a good decision, since her mind seemed to get opened further with every new place that they visited. Sometimes, if she took a moment to think about what was happening, she got the giggles. Help! I’ve been abducted by aliens! Okay, one alien, to be precise, but he was more than enough. The Doctor, she was coming to understand, was like a force of nature. You rolled with everything that happened and you kept on wanting more and more. 

A shooting star sped across the sky, better and more brilliant than any fireworks. Ruby gasped in delight. 

‘What is it?’ said the Doctor. 

‘You don’t really see night skies like this, do you?’ 

He smiled. ‘I do. All the time.'

‘I mean, at home. On… on Earth.’ It still took her a moment to say things like that, but – Oh, she did like saying them. 

She did like remembering that she was travelling in space and time. 

‘I saw this thing online once,’ she said. ‘They’d filtered out the light pollution, so you could see what the sky must have looked like over London thousands of years ago.’ Like a fishing net spread out across a pool of deep blue water. She remembered wondering what the stars were named. ‘I don’t think I’d realised how vivid it was. How different it must have seemed, to our ancestors.’ 

‘All that pollution,’ he agreed. ‘Disconnects you from the cosmos.’ 

Another shooting star went past. She’d seen maybe one or two before, in her whole life. This one made thirteen, since they’d arrived here about half an hour earlier. 

‘Nobody has ever seen these stars before,’ remarked the Doctor. ‘At least, from where we’re sitting.’ 

‘What do you mean?’

‘This world is uninhabited. Nobody lives here and – so far – nobody has ever lived here. There’s wildlife, yes, but nobody that could look up and say, “Look at those five stars over there. They remind me of that weird fish I saw in the river the other day.”’ 

Ruby laughed. ‘They don’t look anything like a fish. They look like a slipper.’

‘That’s something else that hasn’t happened before,’ said the Doctor. 

‘What?’ said Ruby. 

‘People arguing about what’s right in front of them. Next one of us will start a religion worshipping the Great Fish of the Stars and the other will declare themselves a follower of the Celestial Bedsock and, before we know it, the world’ll go to hell in a handbag.’ 

‘Or,’ said Ruby, ‘we could lie here in peace and admire this incredible, beautiful sky that nobody has ever seen before.’ 

‘Yeah,’ said the Doctor. ‘I guess we could do that instead.’ 

They managed about a minute more before the Doctor started twitching. 

‘You don’t really do lying quietly, do you, Doctor?’ 

‘Not really, no,’ he said. ‘But only because there’s always something going on.’ 

‘Even on an uninhabited planet?’ 

The Doctor didn’t reply. He was staring, very intently, up at the sky. He sat up, abruptly. ‘Did you see that?’ 

‘What? The shooting star? I’ve seen fourteen since we arrived here.’ 

‘Wait,’ he said. ‘Keep looking.’ He rummaged around in his pocket and pulled out what looked to be a kitchen timer in the shape of a tomato. Ruby, remembering her decision to roll with things, watched a few more shooting stars fizz past.

Beside her, the Doctor seemed to be muttering, like he was counting. After maybe half a minute, the tomato went Ting! 

‘Ah!’ he said. ‘Thirty-three seconds!’ He fiddled with the timer again. 


‘Wait!’ He jabbed his thumb up at the sky. ‘Watch!’ 

Ruby watched, counted along this time too. Thirty-two… Thirty-three… 


‘Ah!’ said the Doctor, triumphantly. ‘I knew it!’ ‘What am I missing?’ said Ruby, then paused and focused. ‘The meteors!’ 

‘Right!’ The Doctor grinned. ‘They’re coming every thirty-three seconds. Actually, it’s every thirty-three point-oh-one-two seconds, as the tomato flies—’ 


‘It flew again.’ Ruby frowned. ‘Meteors don’t come right on schedule, do they?’ 

‘No,’ he said. ‘And not in regular formation. So, what’s that going to be? Probes? Ships? There’s got to be some kind of intelligence behind them.’ 

Ting! agreed the tomato timer. 

‘But why fire so many whatever-they-ares at an uninhabited planet?’ Ruby pondered. 

‘Good question.’ From some pocket or other he pulled out a tweedy flat cap, placing it firmly on his head, like the lord of the manor. ‘Come on! Short walk.’


‘Great job,’ he told the timer. ‘Keep that up.’ 

Ruby scrambled to her feet. ‘Where are we going?’ 

‘To find some of that meteor debris. I want a closer look.’ 

Ruby dashed after him. ‘When you say a short walk…?’ 

‘Maybe not very short,’ he admitted. ‘But on an alien planet.’ 

And that, Ruby thought, her excitement rising, more than made up for anything.

Doctor Who: Caged is available to order in hardback and audiobook here.

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