THE LEGACY OF SION
by ANDREW KEARLEY
Doctor Who, the television series
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In 2015, Europe is a single federal state. It's not a very united state however. Crime is out of control. Extremist political groups are growing in influence - particularly nationalist movements within the old member countries. Terrorism is a major problem. Faced with these concerns, President Driscoll holds a conference to find ways of promoting unity. His grand design is to create a sense of European national identity by installing a monarch as figurehead - effectively the restoration of the Hapsburg dynasty of Holy Roman Emperors.
The TARDIS arrives in the Vatican City, where the Doctor becomes caught up in the shady business dealings between the Mafia and Cardinal Remington, the head of the Vatican Bank. He also meets Professor Sinclair, a noted historian who is researching the secret occult history of the Knights Templar. He tells the Doctor of a secret society, the Priory of Sion, that was the power behind the Templars, and has been influencing the political development of Europe for the past thousand years. The new monarchist movement is a direct result of the Priory's influence, for they are the guardians of the greatest secret of the Christian world.
When the Pope is seriously wounded in assassination attempt, it is only the beginning of a campaign of terror, seemingly aimed at destabilizing every institution and authority in Europe. Several attempts are made to sabotage the President's Unity conference. Professor Sinclair's colleague is the victim of what seems to be a random mugging - until her assailant is identified as a senior Mafia hood. And finally Rhonwen is kidnapped...
All these events are at the instigation of a sinister crime lord known as Johnny Maestro - and hiding behind that alias, the Doctor discovers none other than his old adversary the Master, now close to death and set about a desperate plan to find a way to regenerate his body - even if it means destroying the human race in the process...
The Legacy of Sion has its origin in a book entitled The Holy and the Holy Grail by Henry Lincoln (of Yeti fame) and others. This rather amusing work is one of several that have been written around the mysteries of the Knights Templar, the lost treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau, and the Priory of Sion. Indeed, while I was writing The Legacy of Sion, at least another two books on related topics were published, which shows if nothing else that there is always a market for this sort of nonsense. I won't go into the whole business here, since it would give away some of the plot developments of The Legacy of Sion, but let me just assure you that I remain a most skeptical person - I find these historical conspiracy thrillers fascinating reading, but I don't really believe that the Vatican and the governments of Europe are part of some sinister plot to control our destinies. Part of the purpose of The Legacy of Sion was to debunk and to spoof this sort of thing, a task in which I hope I've succeeded.
However, in the inordinate number of years it's taken me to think about completing that final draft of the novel, it does seem as if my thunder has been stolen by the ridiculous and unwarranted success of The Da Vinci Code. Like I said, there's always a market for bollocks like this! Indeed, the bookshelves seem to be crammed with historical-religious conspiracy thrillers at the moment, all with cover designs trying to emulate those of Da Vinci - as if the publishers believe we might think they're part of the same series. Do they think we're stupid? I was looking at the latest one of these the other day, and the quote on the cover proclaimed the author was "the only challenger to Dan Brown's crown". That's damning with faint praise. My front cover would say "pisses all over Dan Brown from a great height". Still, I can't publish now - I don't ride on bandwagons. So sorry, The Legacy of Sion will probably never see the light of day. Drop me an email if you want me to send you a copy...
The Legacy of Sion would have been the longest book in the Bullseye series so far. When I was writing it, I decided to invent a new semi-companion figure who could assist the Doctor, thus spreading the load of the plot across three regulars. This was to be Inspector Greg Maxwell, the policeman in charge of security at the Unity conference. We learn that he is an old acquaintance of the Doctor, having met him during some UNIT incident years before. However, during the writing process, Greg Maxwell grew steadily less important to the story, and somebody else came forward to fill the semi-companion role: Monsignor Umberto Cavallari, the head of security at the Vatican City. To my considerable surprise, this reformed criminal turned Catholic priest became one of my favourite characters, so much so that I seriously considered having him join the TARDIS at the end of the story. In the end I decided against it - I'm not sure that the Doctor Who universe is quite ready for a time travelling priest just yet! But Monsignor Cavallari most definitely has a part to play in the future of the Bullseye series.
As I noted when discussing The Michaelmas Phantoms, I had originally planned to have the Doctor occasionally attached to a revamped version of UNIT. I've since decided against this - it's far better to invent something new than retread old ground. So, I expect to see the Doctor making regular returns to the near-future setting of The Legacy of Sion - Rome in the early twenty-first century. I really can't think of anything more different from the UNIT set-up than to have the Doctor based in the Vatican, with Monsignor Cavallari as our equivalent of the Brigadier...
As mentioned above, the villain of this piece is none other than the Master. I'm not spoiling a surprise by telling you that - he's even going to be on the front cover. When I was writing the story, it was my intention to introduce a regenerated Master as a regular recurring villain - now I'm not so sure. We'll see how it goes...
Doctor Who, the television series
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The following extract is to whet your appetites. The finished novel may be published one day...
Rhonwen walked down the steps of police headquarters, and felt the sunshine on her face. A great sense of relief swept over her. After a night in the clutches of the Mafia, and then their bribed police commissioner, she had wondered whether she would ever see daylight again. But now, she was within a hair's breadth of freedom, about to be driven back to the Doctor.
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