In the aftermath of their experience on Seabase Four, the Doctor and his companions Tegan and Turlough arrive at a 1970s seaside town ready for a holiday. Instead they quickly find themselves entangled in an investigation into a gristly series of murders and violent episodes involving the local inhabitants. With UNIT on the scene, the Doctor joins their effort to unravel what is going on, quickly uncovering a fearsome new alien threat. But will the Doctor be able to figure out what is going on before the phenomenon overcomes the inhabitants of the town — and then, the world itself?
By inserting the fifth Doctor into an adventure set during the third Doctor's era, Mark Morris's novel offers something a little different from most of its counterparts in the Past Doctor Adventures series. In some respects it's a study in contrasts, with a different Doctor and set of companions mixing with the characters familiar from a previous era. It's a mix that Morris pulls off well, in part because of the situation facing them. As others have noted the franchise is never stronger than when it is showing its roots. Here the gruesomeness of the violence and the body horror theme owes more than a little to the works of H. P. Lovecraft, with the countervailing force of the Doctor added to ensure a happy ending. While everything is a little too tidily wrapped up in its final pages considering what preceded them, this is nonetheless a solid entry in the Past Doctor Adventures series, one that offers the sort of premise that justifies why such novels are written.