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The Stone Rose is a BBC Books original novel written by Jacqueline Rayner and based on the long-running Britishmarker science fiction television series Doctor Who. It features the Tenth Doctor, Rose and Mickey. It is the first original novel to feature the Tenth Doctor.

Synopsis

After Mickey Smith discovers a 2000-year-old statue of Rose in a museum, she and the Doctor travel to Ancient Rome and discover some unpleasant secrets. Rose meets a girl who can predict the future, and learns to be careful what she wishes for.

Plot

Rose, Jackie, and the Doctor visit the British Museummarker where Mickey has discovered a statue of the goddess Fortuna from second century Rome, which looks exactly like Rose. The statue is holding a cornucopia in one arm, while the other is broken at the wrist. Jackie points out the statue is wearing Rose's earrings, and Rose removes one to compare, then puts it in her jacket pocket. The Doctor notices that the statue is wearing her ring too, which means it was done of her specifically, not a mass produced body with her face. So the Doctor and Rose head off for Rome.

The TARDIS brings them to a 'not-so-nice part of town' in AD 120, during the Ides of March; Hadrian is Emperor. Rose and the Doctor save an elderly man -Gnaeus Fabius Gracilis- from muggers. They take him to a cafe, and learn that he is looking for his son, Optatus. Patrons of the cafe overhear, and tell him to visit a noted astrologer, a slave girl named 'Vanessa'. She appears very scared, and when told what Gracilis wants, starts to work calculations on a bit of parchment. The Doctor suggests that she might have better results if she is in the place where Optatus disappeared, so, after some discussion, Gracilis buys her from her 'owner'. Vanessa doesn't say much, even when Rose tries to befriend her.

They take a donkey-drawn carriage to Gracillis's villa, which takes them a couple of days. There they meet Gracilis's wife, Marcia. The next morning, the Doctor and Rose are invited to see the new statue of Optatus, which is amazingly realistic. The sculptor is a scowling, unpleasant person named Aulus Valerius Ursus, whose huge gloved hands seem too clumsy to belong to an artist. The Doctor asks questions of Ursus, but the answers are sullen and unhelpful. He has a workshop near the stables, but will allow no one inside. However, he invites Rose to be a model for a statue of a goddess, and tells her to come to his workshop the next day. Afterwards, the Doctor and Rose discuss Vanessa, with Rose stating that she doesn't believe Vanessa really an astrologer, and that even though she knows about Hadrian's Wallmarker, she doesn't seem to be British. The Doctor says that the wall has not been started yet.

Rose goes to find Vanessa, who is with Marcia. Marcia tells them that she has known Ursus since he was a child, and was always clumsy and unpleasant. But about 10 months ago, his name was suddenly everywhere, and his statues started appearing in temples and shrines. Rose gets Vanessa away, and tells her that she and the Doctor will find Optatus and then take her home, which causes Vanessa to begin crying again and tell Rose that she has no home.

The Doctor comes bounding in to tell them what he has discovered. Prior to his disappearance, Optatus had been visiting Ursus for a couple of weeks. The impression that he had given everyone was that the statue was still in the planning stages. Suddenly, Ursus states that statue is almost done. Rose questions this, and the Doctor says that he's no master sculptor, but he thinks it should take longer. Rose teases him that he's never taken lessons with Michelangelo, and the Doctor says maybe he should pop back to the Renaissance and do that. The Doctor suggests that he and Rose visit the studio for a look around (using as an excuse that Ursus didn't tell Rose what time to be there), and they leave Vanessa with Optatus's statue.

As they walk over, they see Ursus leave the studio. Since the Doctor has no pockets to carry the sonic screwdriver, they use one of Rose's hairpins to open the door. Inside is an attractive man, who turns out to be a slave named Tiro, and who will be modeling as well. Ursus returns, and is angry to find them there. He refuses to answer the Doctor's questions about where the stone for the statues is kept, or why the tools all appear so clean and unused.

Vanessa wakes Rose the next morning to get ready for her modelling appointment; Vanessa is prevented from accompanying her, but remains watching outside. Ursus gives Rose a goblet of wine, and then starts sorting his tools. Rose feels herself nodding off, then realizes that she cannot move and that the wine was drugged. Ursus puts a spear in her hand, and then moves her around, posing her. He puts a helmet on her head, walks over to the corner to uncover a statue, and Rose realizes it is Tiro. Ursus removes his gloves and touches Rose.

The Doctor has spent the morning 'doing his Sherlock Holmes thing' and decides to take food for Rose as an excuse to visit the studio. He sees a cart leaving and jumps aboard to check it out. He partly uncovers it, to find a statue of Mercury, whom he recognizes as Tiro. He jumps off and runs back toward the studio, just in time to see another cart being loaded. The Doctor tackles Ursus, and Vanessa comes up with a bronze lamp, but hits the Doctor by mistake.

When he wakes, the Doctor tells Vanessa that he thinks she knows more than she is telling, because she knows of an unbuilt wall dividing two countries that do not yet exist, and that while 'Vanessa' sounds like a Roman name, it was invented by Jonathan Swift. She also was working out 'Merik's Theorem' (not astrological calculations), so he thinks she is from the twenty-fourth century. She pulls a black tube from her tunic and threatens him, but he tricks her to get it away (it's a vid-caster remote control). She starts to talk, and admits to being scared for a long time, since she first arrived in Rome. She asks if the Doctor can return her home, and tells him she is from 2375 (the Doctor notes that they didn't have time travel then).

Vanessa and the Doctor go into the workshop, but there is nothing there (no Rose, no Tiro, no statues, no marble dust). Vanessa had seen a statue of Rose, and the Doctor explains that the statue was Rose herself. After collecting his sonic screwdriver from his room he and Vanessa walk to the villa entrance, and find cart tracks going down the road in both directions. They split up, the Doctor taking the road which led to Rome. Not discovering anything, the Doctor returns to the villa, asking Gracilis for help; they set off for Rome on donkeys. Since Vanessa has not yet returned, the Doctor so he asks Marcia to send him word of what she finds.

Gracilis insists they must stop at a way station to rest the donkeys. The Doctor asks the proprietor about renting more donkeys or horses, but he declined, saying they had no fresh animals. Just as the Doctor and Gracilis have finished eating, a haughty man, who gave his name as Lucius Aelius Rufus arrives. It comes out that he had reserved a horse, but won't tell the Doctor what his business in Rome is. The Doctor wanders out the door, and soon thereafter hoofbeats are heard going away.

The Doctor arrives in Rome on the 19th, which is Quinquatrus. He begins checking temples, starting with Minerva's, and asking about statues made by Ursus. He spends all day searching, and as evening approaches, he enters another shrine to Fortuna, and find a statue who shares the pose, but isn't Rose. He says 'Rose is prettier than you' and is surprised to hear the statue say 'Thanks.' As he starts forward, a glass phial of green liquid rolls from behind the statue to his feet, and the voice says it will bring back Rose and all the others. The Doctor steps forward again, but is interrupted by Gracilis who shouts a warning. Unfortunately, he is followed soon after by Rufus, who has the Doctor dragged away. The Doctor drops the phial.

The Doctor is taken to the Flavian Amphitheatremarker, thrown into the dungeon, and had his sonic screwdriver taken away. He protests his innocence, but gets no response from the guards. He tries to talk to the other prisoners about working together and having hope, with limited success. The Doctor is awake all night, and the guards come in the morning to tell him he is being set free. On the way, he grabs his sonic screwdriver, but instead of being freed, he is tricked into entering the arena. The Doctor manages to escape the animals released, and so the rest of the prisoners are sent out. He manages to rescue most of them as well, and they all work their way outside and into safety.

The Doctor meets up with Gracilis again once outside, and they go back to Fortuna's temple. The phial is not there, but Gracilis had picked it up last visit. The two of them go looking for statues done by Ursus, and find Tiro first. After bringing him back to life, they begin scouring Rome for the rest, using Gracilis's art contacts to help in their search. No one knew of any statues outside of Rome. Gracilis arranges transport for all of the slaves, plus the TARDIS. They arrive back at the villa, and bring Optatus back to life.

The Doctor is wondering how he is going to ever find Rose, and then decides to go back to the museum in 21st century London. He lands the TARDIS inside and finds Mickey there. Mickey comments that 'whoever made this must have really known her.' The Doctor tells Mickey that the statue isn't of Rose, but is Rose. Mickey gets mad at the Doctor, the Doctor is mad at himself, and they decide it's best to bring her back, even though she will be chipped and missing a hand. The Doctor pours a drop of the liquid on the statue, and nothing happens. His hand accidentally brushes her face, and then he ran back to the TARDIS. He returns with Rose's denim jacket, and shook out her earring. The statue is wearing two, so it can't be her. He runs back to the TARDIS and leaves.

Rose wakes up in a grove of trees with the Doctor grinning in front of her. He tells her that he will rescue Tiro in a day or two, and that he came back a few days before he left and followed Ursus to find her. Rose was a statue of Minerva, goddess of war and the arts. Vanessa arrives, and interrupts the explanation of the Fortuna statue.

The Doctor again asks how Vanessa got to Rome, and she says her father worked in AI (Artificial Intelligence). Vanessa was watching a vidcast on Rome in her father's study, with a box sitting on the desk. She wished she lived back then, and suddenly she was here.

The three of them follow footprints through the trees, and find a clearing with a shrine. Inside is Ursus talking to a goddess. They come in, and while speaking to Ursus and the goddess, the Doctor figures it out. He says to Minerva 'I wish I could see what you really looked like' and she turns into a creature in a box that looks like a cross between a dragon and a platypus. Ursus lunges at the Doctor with a knife, Vanessa gets in the way, Ursus pushed Vanessa aside (turning her to stone), and Rose jumps on his back. She knocks him down and he falls on the knife, but the Doctor was also turned to stone. Rose wishes that he had never come to Rome, and then there was only her and the stone Vanessa left. Then she wished that she could remember how she got there, and remembered.

Rose talks to the creature in the box, and is told that it is a GENIE (Genetically Engineered Neural Imagination Engine). Its purpose is to grant all wishes it hears. Rose realizes what has been happening, and as a test, makes a very careful wish for chips. She then wishes for the phial to be refilled, and brings Vanessa back. Vanessa asks if the GENIE can return her home, but the GENIE says there isn't enough energy available.

The two of them decide to return to Gracilis's villa, after wishing the GENIE to appear as a monkey when Romans are present. There is a party going on that evening, and Marcia is there, but Gracilis is in Rome looking for Rose, and no one there has any memory of the Doctor. The GENIE starts to grant all the wishes it hears, chaos ensues, and Rose wishes for herself and Vanessa to be safe.

'Safe' turns out to be a pure white nothingness. Rose finds Vanessa, then loses her again, wishes for the GENIE, then wishes she and Vanessa to be back at the shrine, in the current time, and to see everything as it is. The world reappears, and the Doctor as a statue is still there. Rose carefully tipped a drop onto the Doctor's cheek, 'And the cheek became flesh. Pale flesh, dark hair, intense brown eyes. His tunic rippled back into cloth, ten toes wiggled within his sandals. Arms flexed, and grabbed Rose into a hug. Soft lips pressed hers with a kiss of gratitude and joy and unspeakable pleasure at being alive.'

Rose then wished for all the party wishes to be undone. The Doctor explains about the GENIEs, why they were made, how they became a problem, and what happened to them. Then the Doctor says they need to be in Rome in 8 hours. They take the TARDIS from the villa, and arrive in Fortuna's shrine. The Doctor gives Rose the phial and a metal device to talk through. She hides behind the statue, and sees the Doctor coming in. She rolls the phial out to him, and then watches his arrest by Rufus. Gracilis didn't see the phial, but came back for it when Rose wished him to.

The Doctor and Rose then take Vanessa home, but are having trouble deciding what to do with the GENIE. Rose tells the Doctor that he gave her an idea. She tells him that the GENIE is a slave, and if it is set free, it would be able to fulfill wishes or not. Rose wishes it free, and then to 'someplace nice.'

They are getting ready to head home themselves, when Rose realizes there is a problem because her Fortuna statue was never made. The Doctor takes her to a side room of the TARDIS, and shows her the statue from the museum, all fresh and new and whole. Rose says that she never posed for it, and the Doctor says that Mickey was right, 'it was sculpted by someone who knew you pretty well.' Rose examines it, and again asks where it came from. The Doctor says he made it. He realized it when he was with Mickey, and they turned it over to find the Doctor's Gallifreyan signature on the bottom. Between seeing Mickey and restoring Rose, he went to the Renaissance and took a sculpting course with Michelangelo. They went back to the villa, and gave the statue to Gracilis and Marcia, to take the place of the statue of Optatus. While it was being moved, it was bumped, and the wrist was cracked.

Continuity

  • The Doctor and Rose mention werewolves in this episode, however Mickey is still in London which can only mean this episode takes place sometime between Tooth and Claw and School Reunion. Or the Doctor is referring to The Greatest Show In The Galaxy.
  • As Rose realizes what is happening, she wonders if the statues are being created using petrifold regression. This disease was mentioned in "New Earth", but not while Rose was present (and she was possessed by Cassandra for most of the episode).
  • When the Doctor and Rose are discussing bringing back the chipped and broken Rose statue, Mickey asks if her hand will grow back, like the Doctor's did in "The Christmas Invasion".
  • The Doctor claims that Time is his 'domain', and if he concentrates he can see 'things that once happened, even if they haven't happened anymore.' This idea is not new; in "The Parting of the Ways", when Rose (as the Bad Wolf) says she can see all of time, the Doctor says that is what his head is like all the time.
  • At one point in the story, both the TARDIS and the Doctor are in two places at one time, which means he crossed his own timeline, something he said he couldn't do in (amongst others) "The Girl in the Fireplace" and "The Parting of the Ways". This causes him to take great care 'for the purposes of not destroying the time lines'. He does not allow his earlier self to see his later self (perhaps due to the Blinovitch Limitation Effect), care which does not seem to be needed when meeting earlier incarnations of himself (such as in The Three Doctors, The Five Doctors, The Two Doctors and Time Crash).
  • Several predestination paradoxes occur, such as when the Doctor must give himself a phial that was never created, and make a statue so that he can find it.
  • This is not the Doctor's first visit to Ancient Rome: the First Doctor visited first century Rome in The Romans, where he met Nero.
  • In the part when Vanessa wishes to be safe, the description implies that Rose was "nowhere" and that "all around was whiteness". This means that Rose was taken into a Void between time and space when the GENIE says it was his idea of safety.
  • Rose briefly thinks that "the talking cats had been real and everything since had been a dream". She is probably referring to the episode New Earth, when she and the Doctor met the Sisters of Plenitude.
  • After Rose drinks the wine, she remembers the events of "Bad Wolf"/"The Parting of the Ways" and "The End of the World". "200,000 years after that, she'd be on a space station, defeating the Daleks. More years than she could comprehend after that, she'd be watching the Earth die."


References to popular culture

  • The title is a reference to influential Manchestermarker band, The Stone Roses.
  • Ursus's ability to turn things he touches to stone is similar to the legend of Midas, who turned all he touched to gold.
  • The book makes reference to the Genies in stories such as The Arabian Nights, suggesting the legends arose from vague memories of the 24th century humans travelling back to Arabia with the help of their 'GENIEs'.
  • The Doctor jokes that other legends and stories arose from time travel or alien invasion, including the Famous Five, Miss Marple, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Moomins and Robocop.
  • Jackie mentions the BBC/HBO series Rome.
  • The book mentions Poirot and Sherlock Holmes when the Doctor is doing his 'detective work'.


Audio book

An abridged audio book version of The Stone Rose read by David Tennant was released in July 2006 (ISBN 1-84607-063-5) by BBC Audio. Also included was an interview with the author by David Darlington.

In January, 2007, the Radio Times made an offer of adding a free copy of "The Stone Rose," in two parts over two issues. These versions omitted the interview.

See also



External links



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