This is a work of fiction.

Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. Copyright © 2013 by Justin Richards All right reserved. Published in the United States by Broadway Paperbacks, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. www.crownpublishing.com Broadway Paperbacks and its logo, a letter B bisected on the diagonal, are trademarks of Random House, Inc. This edition published by arrangement with BBC Books, an imprint of Ebury Publishing, a division of the Random House Group Limited, London. Doctor Who is a BBC Wales production for BBC One. Executive producers: Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinner. BBC, DOCTOR WHO, and TARDIS (word marks, logos, and devices) are trademarks of the British Broadcasting Corporation and are used under license. Cybermen originally created by Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available upon request. ISBN 978-0-385-34676-4 eISBN 978-0-385-34677-1 Printed in the United States of America Editorial director: Albert DePetrillo Series consultant: Justin Richards Project editor: Steve Tribe Cover design: Lee Binding © Woodlands Books Ltd. 2013 Production: Alex Goddard 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 First Edition

Prologue

In a landscape bled of all colour, Stefan was digging his own grave. The swirling fog muffled the sound of the spade as it bit into the cold ground. The pile of earth beside the grave rose higher as the grave got deeper. Gravestones stood as silent sentries, dark grey against the lighter shade of the air. Pitted, cracked and broken. Beyond them, the vague pencil-drawn shape of the remains of the church. A hint of the jagged, fractured tower. A suggestion of the empty, sightless windows and crumbling walls. Stefan paid it no heed. His whole world was focused into the dark pit he was digging. ‘Dig it deep,’ Old Nicolai had said. ‘Dig it deep so the plague stays buried with her. We’ve lost enough good people already.’

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The plague was keeping Stefan busy but, he had to admit, you could have too much of a bad thing. Yesterday young Liza, tomorrow – who could guess? Probably Magda, who was already sick, already as grey as the fog swirling over the grave. Stefan kept digging, until he needed his short wooden ladder to climb out of the pit and rest a moment. His forehead was moist, sweat mingling with the condensing fog. If it wasn’t fog it would be a storm. The fog was damp and clammy and seemed to drain the life from their surroundings. But Stefan preferred the fog to the angry thunder, the stabbing lightning, the rain so heavy it stung his arms and face as he worked and filled up the hole as quickly as he dug it. Just a few more inches, he decided. Just to be on the safe side. It was a decision that killed him. He clambered back down into the pit. The air was thinning, and the first spots of rain splashed onto the hard-packed soil. Finish this quick, Stefan thought. Finish this quick and get to the tavern before Gustav shuts up for the night. He could already taste the warm, bitter ale. Could already smell the lamb broth. A few last shovelfuls of earth. Stefan slammed his spade down into the heavy clay. Clang! The impact jarred right up his arm, tingling in his shoulder and jolting his wrist. It sounded like he’d hit metal. Maybe it was another Talisman. He prayed

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he’d not damaged it. He had no use for such trinkets but enough people did that he could get a good price for a Talisman. Exploring with the shovel, he gently tapped at the bottom of the grave. Earth here, then something solid. Stefan leaned the shovel against the side of the grave and knelt down. There was just room for him to scrabble at the ground with his hands. Just enough light, as the fog cleared and the moon broke through, for him to see the glint of metal. The rain was getting heavier, washing the fog from the air and the earth from the metal surface as Stefan uncovered it. Gently, carefully, he smoothed away the dirt from a long sliver of metal. Beside it, another one. And another. They were connected at one end, he realised as he scraped. Jointed along their length. Rain ran down his face, blurring his vision, matting his hair. He wiped it away, the rough dirt scraping at his skin. He’d look a mess when he got to the tavern. Now the whole shape was visible. Silver fingers. The back of a hand – a gauntlet? Part of a suit of armour perhaps… Stefan straightened up, easing his back. He shook the rain from his hair, wiped his forehead on his sleeve, and knelt again to examine his find. Rain was pooling in the upturned palm of the gauntlet, distorting the tracery of lines and joints. The design was intricate but robust. A work of art, but somehow brutal and powerful too.

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Stefan frowned… But – hadn’t the glove been palm down when he uncovered it? He leaned forward, looking closer, blinking the rain away. The fingers flexed. A sudden, spasmodic movement. Stefan gasped and jerked backwards. But the fingers were still again. Was it his imagination? Or had his weight on the surrounding soil moved it? Again, he leaned closer, the rain beating down on the back of his head and running down his neck like a cold chill of terror along his spine. The hand shivered. The slightest movement, but movement nevertheless. This time, Stefan did not pull away. And the hand thrust suddenly upwards, out of the ground, clamping round his throat. He tried to cry out, but couldn’t draw the breath he needed. Couldn’t breathe at all. His hands scrabbled desperately as he was dragged down. The earth around the metal gauntlet crumbled away. Hand and arm were uncovered. A torso. The armoured silver head punching up through the ground, right in front of Stefan’s terrified face. Empty eyes. Gaping mouth. A metal skull. His hand closed on the handle of the shovel. Somehow he managed to lift it. Somehow he managed to swing it one-handed at the metal creature that held him tight. The shovel blade connected with the arm. The sound of the impact was muffled. Stefan’s vision was blurred. Rain in his

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eyes, and the last vestiges of the fog creeping in as he gasped and choked. Then he was being dragged down into the earth. Feeling the coarse soil graze his face. Glimpses of silver as the life ebbed away. Fog. Darkness. Death…

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