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Doctor Who: Timewyrm-Revelation

(Virgin New Adventures #4)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  596 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Fourth and final book in the Timewyrm series.

The parishioners of Cheldon Bonniface walk to church on the Sunday before Christmas, 1992. Snow is in the air, or is it the threat of something else? The Reverend Trelaw has a premonition too, and discusses it with the spirit that inhabits his church. Perhaps the Doctor is about to visit them again?

Some years earlier, in a playg
Paperback, 220 pages
Published December 5th 1991 by Virgin Publishing
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  596 ratings  ·  47 reviews

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Sep 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: doctor-who
It's almost impossible to write about the impact this book had on Doctor Who fandom when it first came out. Paul Cornell was already known as an insightful commentator within the fan community, and I think quite a lot of people knew that when he came to write a novel it would challenge your expectations. But I don't think anyone thought it would do so quite as radically as this.

As I don't want to include serious spoilers in my reviews of these books, it's rather difficult to discuss exactly what
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Timewyrm series as a whole is a distinctly variable beast. Half of the books aren’t much good, tonally the four are all over the place, and there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of a consistent idea as to what the Timewyrm actually is or does. It does however end on a definite bang, for Paul Cornell’s ‘Timewyrm Revelation’ is absolutely superb.

It’s a book with so much crammed into it. At various points both The Doctor and Ace are dead, large parts of it seem to take place in one of the mo
Tom Jones
The final instalment of the 'Timewyrm' series.
In total an 885 page series with (Genesys, Exodus, Apocalypse & Revelation)

Timewyrm Genesys: One of the biggest pieces of crap ever published. Rushed due to the author trying to get the first original Doctor Who novel. It fails because of the author's incompetence and his own personal satisfaction. I don't know for the life of me how that garbage was published in the condition it was in. How????

Timewyrm Exodus: A fantastic what if World War 2
Ben Dutton
Feb 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
The final part of the Timewyrm tetralogy has a lot to do: it must tie up all the loose ends – Hemmings disappearance into a second TARDIS near the end of Timewyrm: Exodus for one – and see The Doctor defeat the villainous creature he created. Before I began this novel I was thinking how one would best top the previous three adventures which have seen respectively: ancient earth history, alternative earth history and an alien planet. If I were Paul Cornell, the man given the task of completing th ...more
B Schrodinger
Revelation is often said to be the first true NA. It was supposed to represent what the series became later. On the other hand it has been criticised by some as being 'fanwank'. To me, it lies somewhere inbetween.

It is true that as Paul Cornell's first Who novel (and possibly his first novel altogether)it does show a great level of promise. It has greater depth than the previous three novels and explores the characters of the Doctor and Ace thoroughly.
But still it trips up in several ways in my
Matthew Kresal
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It's hard to imagine that twenty years ago the idea of original Doctor Who novels was just getting going. With four novels, Virgin launched a continuation of the then canceled TV series with four novels connected by the title villain called the Timewyrm. The first three books had their hits (Timewyrm: Exodus) and misses (Timewyrm Genesys and Timewyrm: Apocalypse). It was with the fourth novel, Revelation, written by newcomer Paul Cornell, that the New Adventures really got their start. And what ...more
James Lark
Aug 13, 2013 added it
Shelves: doctor-who
It starts off so promisingly.

Having plodded my way through the first three disappointing books in the New Adventures range, I couldn't wait to get going on this one, the first book by the justly admired Paul Cornell, one of the few genuinely brilliant writers to have penned Dr Who fiction.

And it lived up to my expectations. For a chapter or so. For a start, the writing is confident and fluent, a refreshing contrast to the clumsy efforts in at least two of the previous books. The ideas are fresh
Jay Szpirs
Nov 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Doctor Diefied

Cornell's conclusion to the timewyrm story elevates the narrative to archetypal proportions and very nearly carries off a complicated sci-fi story that is more emotion than logic, more Being John Malcovich than The Matrix.

When a bully kills preadolescent Ace in the past, she and the Doctor are catapulted into a battle with their ancient (well, three novels ancient) enemies that rattles the universe to its foundations. Before the end, almost all the previous doctors are embroile
Adam James
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, doctor-who
Regardless of how much anyone would/could enjoy Revelation, objectively Who fans would have to realize just how exciting a novel like this was. Paul Cornell, in his first novel of any kind, drastically altered the scope of expectations from Doctor Who narrative.

Nothing in this novel should work.

Cornell is attempting ground-breaking material here - something that no one could blame him for if the result hadn't worked. However, concepts grounded in a narrative that exist entirely in the Doctor's
April Mccaffrey
Mar 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Reread on 22/07/2019

Read as part of the reading rush challenge read a book with the colour purple on the cover.

Rereading this book a second time really made me appreciate it a lot more. There are so many good moments in this book and a lot of twisted ones but Paul has a wonderful way of writing.


This book was a wild ride.


It took a while to get into this book which is strange because I highly enjoy Paul Cornell writing, especially his Love and War.

But Revelation took some time getting
Jacqueline O.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Justin Rees
Apr 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dr-who
Absolutely fantastic to it's very core. It made me a fan of the 7th Doctor instantly, and was an amazing ending to my first Doctor Who story-arch. As always the Doctor is brilliant and Cornell captures him and Ace perfectly. Understandable why this is so iconic in the Who-niverse, a must read along with it's 4 predecessors.
Matt Smith
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing

Just wow.

I've been wanting to read this book for... ten years? The core concept (let's say the one that involves the tree?) is something I've been aware of that entire time, but I never thought it would happen. But here I am, finally getting to it because it's (apparently) one of the core pieces of Doctor Who that explains how the show went from "Survival" to "Rose".

But holy hell this was incredible. Like, truly. This was a RIDE and one of the best pieces of Doctor Who I've ever had the pl
Gareth Rafferty
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
The New Adventures properly land with Paul Cornell’s impressive debut novel. This is full of captivating imagery (see front cover) and charming ideas (such as a priest who befriends the spirit in his church), and the story manages to round off the wobbly Timewyrm arc *and* say some interesting stuff about the Seventh Doctor and Ace.

If you want to read stories that continue the characterisation from their last year on TV, Revelation is for you: the Doctor is a potentially dangerous game-player, A
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Timewyrm Revelation is an explosively creative debut for Paul Cornell in the Virgin New Adventures series. Abandoning the more traditional, recognisable structures of the previous novels, Revelation is a dreamlike whirlwind of immense charm and complexity, with some fantastic character exploration and development for the Doctor and Ace.

Although Revelation is unlike any Doctor Who story before it, Cornell is true to the principles of what the show had become by this point and expands upon them i
Adrian Halpert
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
The conclusion to the Timewyrm series feels like a real novel rather than a TV episode. In this story the Doctor and the Timewyrm finally face off for a dramatic conclusion in a somewhat phantasmagoric storyline. I was a bit surprised, but also quite satisfied, with the ending, which I won't reveal.
I think part of the key to enjoying the NA's is to remember that they're not high literature. The NA's are spinoffs from a TV series and aren't intended to be groundbreaking, high concept SF like Dun
Apr 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book leaves me conflicted. The first third of the book, I just couldn't get into it. It didn't make sense, it was disjointed and the characters were annoying, even the doctor. When I was debating whether or not I could continue, it started to get easier going until finally, I was finding it hard to put down. Looking back from the end of the book, the beginning was still not very good. And if I reason too much, the end was probably a bit silly, but I still enjoyed it. If I were to try to exp ...more
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: doctor-who-tw
I enjoyed this way more than I expected to. Not that I don't love Paul Cornell - I really do - but the story is more than 15 years old and the whole Timewyrm arc sounded pretty questionable to begin with. As one might imagine it reads like a fanboy's fever dream, but at the same time achieves depths of sincerity and self-reflection I did not anticipate. The story grows naturally from disparate roots into a well-formed arc, and the characters of Ace and the Doctor are well-rounded and authentic. ...more
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it

This honestly felt like it was on an entirely different level to the other books in the Timewyrm series, and it was definitely a good finale to what has been an arc that...varied pretty wildly in terms of quality. It's also the one which I think feels the most like a Doctor Who book on its own terms rather than a Doctor Who novelisation with some more 'adult' bits thrown in, if that makes sense? There were a few bits that fell slightly flat for me or felt awkward, but it was really good, an
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gabriel Mero
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
The final book in the Timewyrm quadrilogy. I have mixed emotions about this one. While the ending was great and wrapped everything up well, a lot of the book was confusing as hell and jumped around a lot.
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A dark, introspective and dazzlingly penned journey into the Doctor's psyche completes the Timewyrm arc on a high and finally lives up to the Virgin New Adventures mission statement; 'to produce stories too broad and too deep for the small screen'.
Conrad Ledebuhr
A worthy end to the Timewyrm quartet, this is weird and surreal and mind bending, but not in the most engaging way. Still, this is worth reading if you're reading the New Adventures and the debut of one of Doctor Who's best authors.
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very epic and slightly confusing ending to the Timewyrm tetralogy. Looking forward to more of what The New Adventures series has to offer.
Robert Morvay
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A sometimes all-too-intelligent look into the psyche of our main hero and his daring compatriot, Revelation is strange, beautifully-written, and positively dripping with suspense.
Leo H
Apr 10, 2012 rated it liked it
I do wish the rating system on here was more nuanced than out of 5, it makes things very difficult. Anyway! This is easily the best of the books in the (nnggh) Timewyrm tetralogy, but then if you've read my reviews of the other three you'll realise that this isn't the greatest praise anyone can bestow. This one (written by Paul Cornell, famous for the New Who episodes 'Fathers Day' and 'Human Nature'/'The Family of Blood) actually felt like a novel, refreshingly, as opposed to the overdone captu ...more
David Sarkies
Jan 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Doctor Who fans
Recommended to David by: My friend Paul
Shelves: sci-fi
The series goes full circle
25 January 2012

This is the fourth and final instalment of the Timewyrm cycle and sort of brings the entire series full circle. The Timewyrm begins the cycle as a cybernetic organism who calls herself Ishtar, and finishes the cycle as a baby who is given the name Ishtar. It appears that the Doctor (and the authors, because all of these books are written by different authors) have created what appears to be a time loop, and the Timewyrm simply exists is a cyclical entit
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dr-who
After the first three fairly conventional Timewyrm novels I'm full of admiration for Cornell for attempting to do something completely different with the fourth and to push Doctor Who into directions that fans would be completely unfamiliar with. Sadly, good intentions don't necessarily make good novels and Cornell wasn't up to the weighty task he'd set himself of creating a surrealistic adventure set in alternate dimension, hell, the Doctor's mind, or on the moon. Unfortunately if one tries lit ...more
Michael T Bradley
May 20, 2016 rated it liked it
I feel a bit torn on this one as I really just read this looking for something that isn't in here, and it's really my own fault for misreading a guide rather than the book's fault for not providing it.

Basic plot: This is the finale of the Timewyrm plot. Ace and the Doctor are up against the Timewyrm/Ishtar/Qataka one last time, only this go-round the battlefield is ... the Doctor's own mind! Full of such ridiculous things as a crucified Fifth Doctor, and a marching army full of dead companions (
Dec 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is the final book in the four book Timewyrm sequence. It is also, clearly, the best.
The story is very different to anything that has gone before in the series, very original, and there are some great ideas, for example Saul the Sentient Church, and indeed the scene that takes us to the cover of the book (it shows the Doctor dancing with Death on he surface of the moon whilst a Spacesuited figure looks on, with a church in the background.). Quite how it gets there is for you to find out if
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Paul Cornell is a British writer of science fiction and fantasy prose, comics and television. He's been Hugo Award-nominated for all three media, and has won the BSFA Award for his short fiction, and the Eagle Award for his comics. He's the writer of Saucer Country for Vertigo, Demon Knights for DC, and has written for the Doctor Who TV series. His new urban fantasy novel is London Falling, out fr ...more

Other books in the series

Virgin New Adventures (1 - 10 of 61 books)
  • Doctor Who: Timewyrm: Genesys
  • Doctor Who: Timewyrm-Exodus
  • Doctor Who: Timewyrm-Apocalypse
  • Doctor Who: Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible
  • Doctor Who: Cat's Cradle-Warhead
  • Doctor Who: Cat's Cradle-Witch Mark
  • Doctor Who: Nightshade
  • Doctor Who: Love and War
  • Doctor Who: Transit
  • Doctor Who: The Highest Science

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