The American Civil War… a time of great unrest, when fathers found themselves in conflict with their sons and when lawlessness and slavery were rife.
The Doctor, together with his companions Peri and Erimem, arrive in the middle of the conflict. The Doctor manages to cope in his own inimitable manner, however Peri – an American – and Erimem – a dark-skinned Egyptian – find themselves faced with all the bigotry and hatred that typified the war for some.
December 1860: After graduating from West Point, young Paul LeVal bids goodbye to his cousin Will Johnson and returns home to Lyon Ridge, South Carolina. However, in his absence, the resentment against the government’s interference in Southern affairs has developed into a burning rage, and soon after Paul’s return, South Carolina secedes from the Union. The other Southern states soon follow, joining with South Carolina to form a new country — the Confederate States of America. By April 1861, both the UNION and the Confederacy are preparing for war, and Paul and Will find themselves on opposite sides. Paul speaks out against the need for war, as he has always believed slavery to be an immoral institution, this would normally be grounds for a court martial, but Paul’s father is a friend of his commanding officer, and at his request, Paul is transferred to the command of Colonel Jubal Eustace, a man with a reputation for instilling discipline in his men. Sadly, as the war drags on, the situation in the South becomes dire, and in August 1863, a band of Confederate deserters attacks the LeVal homestead, seeking food. When Paul’s father tries to drive them off, they burn the house down with Paul’s parents trapped inside.
February 1865: The Doctor promises to show Peri some of her country’s past, but misses his target of the Wild West slightly. While Peri and Erimem dress for the period and collect a bag of gold coins from the TARDIS, The Doctor explores his surroundings — and finds a Confederate officer and lieutenant preparing to burn down a farmhouse with a runaway slave and his family trapped inside. The Doctor creates a distraction and helps the slave and his family to escape, but in his haste to get away he is forced to leave Peri and Erimem behind. Peri is appalled when the officer, Colonel Eustace, psychotically beats his lieutenant for allowing the slaves to escape, and the lieutenant takes the beating with so much as flinching. Realising how much danger the dark-skinned Erimem is in, Peri puts on a southern accent and tells Eustace that she and her slave were attacked by Unedition soldiers who stole all of their possessions. Eustace escorts them (or rather, Peri) to a nearby village, Buckley, Virginia, where Peri rents rooms from the dourold Hilary Makepeace. Hilary believes that taking in boarders is beneath her, but she has fallen on hard times and has little choice, nevertheless, she is particularly upset about having to shelter Erimem, and only changes her tune when Peri pays her with the gold coins from the TARDIS. Unfortunately, Eustace also notes the gold, and sets his sights on courting Peri and acquiring her fortune.
The Doctor and the escaped slave, Moses Smith, reach safety with the help of Captain Will Johnson — who catches a glimpse of Eustace’s lieutenant and recognises him as Paul. Unable to help his cousin, he escorts The Doctor and Moses to Gable, West Virginia, but must restrain The Doctor from riding straight back into danger to help his friends. The Doctor reluctantly agrees to pitch in at the army barracks, hoping that Peri knows enough of this time period to keep herself and Erimem safe. In the meantime, he attends to medical duties in Gable, and is present when the Unedition army liberates the prison at Billingate. Moses Smith volunteers to join the Unedition army, and is placed under Will’s command. Will writes regular letters home to his sweetheart, Claire, keeping her informed of these developments.
Peri fends off Eustace’s unwanted advances by claiming to have a fiancéee, Doctor John Smith, but Eustace barely controls his rage at this news — and when Erimem innocently bursts in on him and Peri unannounced, he nearly shoots her dead. Peri saves her friend by slapping her and ordering her back to her room, fortunately, Erimem, shaken by her close call, recognises that Eustace is quite mad and understands why Peri did what she did. Erimem and Peri quietly make preparations to flee to Richmond, while Eustace sends an urgent request for information to Captain Jackson Price regarding a certain Dr. John Smith. By the end of March, Peri and Erimem are ready to go — but Eustace receives word that a man named Dr. John Smith has been sighted helping the Unedition forces at Billingsgate. Eustace confronts Peri with this information, but Erimem saves her friend’s life by striking Eustace down with a poker. Peri and Erimem flee to Richmond, but Eustace recovers and follows them after burning down Hilary Makepeace’s home in a fit of rage. Hilary cannot believe that a Southern gentleman could be capable of such an act, and presumably goes to her grave still convinced that Peri and Erimem were responsible.
The Doctor, Will and Moses also make their way to Richmond, where they contact Cassius Eldon, a former slave and member of the Underground Railroad. He promises to keep an eye out for Peri and Erimem, but Will then receives word that President Lincoln has arrived in Richmond, has missed his military escort, and is now walking through the streets, surrounded by adoring crowds of former slaves but without protection. Torn between his duty to his friends and his duty to history, The Doctor accompanies Will and Moses, and intervenes just in time to prevent a Confederate soldier named Aaron Eddowes from shooting the President down in the street. The angry mob is about to turn on Eddowes, but Lincoln intervenes, saving the life of the man who tried to kill him.
Moses escorts Eddowes to the jailhouse, while The Doctor and Will escort Lincoln to the home of former Confederate President Jeff Davis. Despite the apparently happy occasion, Will notices that The Doctor seems saddened while listening to Lincoln’s enthusiastic plans for the future. Moses then returns and reports having glimpsed a white and black woman together in the crowd, he was unable to confirm their identity until he’d dropped off Eddowes, but has since learned that they are indeed The Doctor’s friends — and that Eustace has arrived in Richmond, in hot pursuit.
Peri and Erimem arrive at Eldon’s home, where they meet two former slaves — the elderly George and the teenage Michael — and learn that The Doctor is in town. Before they can set off after him, however, Eustace and his lieutenant arrive. Eustace shoots and injures Michael, kills George when George tries to pull a gun on him, and then strikes Peri down and prepares to shoot Erimem as she watches. At the last moment, The Doctor arrives, and Eustace becomes enraged when The Doctor refers to the dark-skinned Erimem as his friend and shows no fear of Eustace. While Eustace is distracted, Moses and Will enter the barn and get the drop on him. Eustace orders his lieutenant to shoot them, but as Will believed, this is Paul LeVal, and even after all the horrors he’s seen, he can’t bring himself to shoot his cousin.
Enraged, Eustace shoots Moses before anyone realises what he’s doing, but as he turns his gun on Erimem, the dazed Peri picks up George’s gun and shoots Eustace. She meant only to wound him, but the bullet strikes him in the head, killing him. Paul empties his own gun into Eustace’s body and collapses, his spirit broken. Will has Paul and the concussed Peri taken to a hotel, and when The Doctor tends their injuries he finds that Paul has been beaten repeatedly and has a gangrenous infection in his leg. Though Peri recovers fairly quickly from her concussion, she remains traumatised at having committed murder, and finds herself unable to speak to Erimem.
Over the next few days, the Confederacy surrenders and is dissolved — but on 14 April, Lincoln is assassinated. Will’s great hopes for a new era of peace come crashing down, and he vows to resign from the army after his duty has been discharged, even Aaron Eddowes bursts into tears, crying for the man who saved his life after Eddowes had tried to kill him. Meanwhile, Erimem does not fully understand why Peri is so traumatised by what she’s done, but she does understand that her friend is suffering and wants to help. The Doctor takes both Peri and Erimem to a place of peace and tranquillity, possibly another world, and leaves them alone to talk. Peri is finally able to cry and let go of her pain. The Doctor then returns with Paul, who is slowly recovering from his own grievous traumas. Peri and Erimem forgive Paul for what he did while serving under Eustace, and the Doctor informs them that they’ve been invited to Will and Claire’s wedding. Even after the terrible events of the war, there is still some hope of healing.
Blood and Hope was the fourteenth Telos Doctor Who novella.
Peri has heard The Doctor use the alias ‘John Smith’ before.
Peri and Erimem have gotten drunk together before.
The Doctor and Peri recall meeting Erimem in Thebes, Egypt in circa 1400 BC. (The Eye of the Scorpion)
Picture Expert Remanufactured PG-40 CL-41mentions her stepfather Howard Foster. (Planet of Fire)
The Doctor refers to having studied medicine under Joseph Lister in Glasgow in 1888. (The Moonbase)
On this occasion, The Doctor prevents the premature assassination of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln in Richmond, Virginia by Aaron Eddowes. Only five days later, on 14 April 1865, the Sixth Doctor and his companion Evelyn Smythe ensured that Lincoln would be assassinated by John Wilkes Booth in Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC in accordance with established history. (Assassin in the Limelight)
Continuity: The Doctor attempts to take Peri and Erimem to visit the American Wild West. He briefly stays in the town of Gable, where he helps the local medics to treat The injured, and also delivers a baby. He again uses the alias Doctor John Smith. The Doctor saves Abraham Lincoln from anearly assassination attempt in Richmond and befriends the President.
Peri is forced to shoot Colonel Jubal Eustace through the head to save Erimem’s life. The Doctor convinces Peri to keep an audio-diary to let out her feelings about her killing of Eustace. The last time Peri cried was for her Dad, although whether he died or she cried when he left her Mother isn’t made clear. Peri thinks The Doctor may be English, and has heard him use the alias John Smith but isn’t convinced that it isn’t his real name. Peri’s Mum thinks the English are repressed. Peri used to watch John Wayne movies with her Dad. Peri’s home before she met The Doctor was California. Peri spent some time in the South when she was younger and manages to adopt a passable Southern accent.
Peri has been introducing Erimem to twentieth century clothing, including bras. Erimem dons a light blouse, a pairof jeans, and a buckskin jacket. Erimem’s hair is growing longer. She is forced to pose as Peri’s slave whilst they are stranded in the South. Erimem loves chocolate. She can’t make good c offee. The Doctor persuades Erimem, like Peri, to keep an audio-diary, which she initially finds confusing.
The TARDIS can manufacture gold or currency of any kind. The TARDIS records Peri and Erimem’s audio-diaries for them when they speak to an empty room.
The location to which The Doctor takes Peri and Erimem to recover from their experiences is a wide-open prairie with tree-covered mountains in the distance. There are animals resembling a cross between a cat and a rabbit, implying that it isn’t on Earth.
Links: There are references to The Doctor and Peri’s first meeting with Erimem in Thebes (The Eye of the Scorpion). There is a reference to Peri’s stepfather Howard (Planet of Fire). The Doctor mention having studied medicine in Glasgow (The Moonbase).
Location: Diensberg, Massachusetts, December 15th 1860, April 16th 1861, May 5th 1865, Lyon Ridge, South Carolina, December 19th 1860, February 14th 1861, December 16th 1961, August 28th 1863, Buckley, Virginia, February 16th 1861, May 10th 1861, February 21st 1865, March 24th 1865, Gable, West Virginia, February 21st 1865, March 17th 1865, March 20th 1865, April 5th 1865, April 18th 1865, Washington D.C., March 19th 1865 and April 11th 1865, Billingsville Prison, Virginia, March 26th 1865, Richmond, Virginia, March 28th 1865, April 3rd to April 6th 1865, Appomattox Court House, Virginia, April 9th 1865, Headquarters of the Army of North Virginia, April 9th 1865, An unnamed planet, date unknown.
Unrecorded Adventures: Peri and Erimem have got drunk togetheron several occasions, including the time they downed three bottles of Denebian wine outside a baron Rida whilst they watched the four suns set into the sea. The Doctor takes Peri and Erimem to the wedding of Paul Johnson and Claire Bartlett at the end of the novella.
The Bottom Line: A welcome return for the historical Doctor Who story, Blood and Hope illustrates the horrors of the American civil war magnificently. The driving force behind the novel is Peri’s reaction to being forced to commit murder, making Blood and Hope the latest in a string of Doctor Who novels and novellas to transform her from screaming bimbo to three-dimensional character. The only slight disappointment is that more use isn’t made of Erimem in her prose debut, especially since McLaughlin created the character.