I'm not even sure what the title of this has to do with the rest of the book. Which means they're either working at an angle totally tangential to my view of the book, or I missed the point entirely. It would certainly be easier if everything was my fault.
For quite a few Past Doctor Adventures, Tucker and Perry have been carving out their own little section of the Who universe by crafting a mini-arc around the Seventh Doctor and Ace. Taking place after the show is over (but sometime before the Virgin Adventures really seem to get going), they've been writing a continuing series of stories featuring Our Heroes, but with one little long-running plot thread. For reasons that haven't become clear until now, the Doctor has Ace's corpse from the future buried in a TARDIS basement. She's been murdered, you see, or will be, and he's trying to figure out how and where and why, presumably so can he stop it. At least that sounds like a reasonable plan, even if it does skirt the Laws of Time slightly.
Unfortunately, what does the Master Planner, the manipulative and clever, Mr Sleight of Hand and Back Up Plan the Seventh Doctor do? He figures out the how and the when and in an effort to figure out the why, he takes her to that period of time and place. Which is kind of like being told by a fortune teller that you're going to die in a horrible fire and then proceeding to attend Bonfire Night at your local high school. Sure it may not happen but no one is going to feel that bad that you went in asking for it.
As it turns out the Doctor has plenty of other distractions besides Ace's imminent and somewhat avoidable demise. A rocket test has managed to come down with a different pilot than the one who went up, which is even funnier because it's one of the pilots who is already on the ground. Also, giant ants are appearing and weird soldiers keep popping up. So it's no surprise that with all that going on, in the midst of it Ace gets away from the Doctor and manages to get capped in the head, just like Time has predicted. It's not even a spoiler.
From that point on the plot almost forgets about Ace entirely as it brings in characters from all the other Tucker and Perry novels just in time for it to become clear that parallel universes are afoot and things are about to get quite messy. Fortunately we know that the Doctor and Ace have to survive to go on to have the Virgin Adventures so it's more or less a matter of waiting for the resolution to occur and the reset button to get hit.
I'll give the authors credit, they ARE trying. But it seems that they're trying to appease the fans of the old Virgin Adventures by being utterly traditional, which misses the point somewhat. Footnotes to other Tucker/Perry romps abound, which never strikes me as a good sign, and the book is once again shoehorned into that four part format meant to mimic the television show we all think we remember. Bringing in all the old characters and referring to what happened only accentuates that it's been a while since we've read these other novels and too much seems to depend on us remembering what has happened before, otherwise all our emotional hooks become blunted. They're trying to write the Seventh Doctor as the figure we all remember from those "stories too big to fit the small screen" as best they can and some parts do have that feel but their portrayal of the Doctor lacks that edge of mystery and . . . alienness for lack of a better word. This Doctor feels familiar when he should be keeping us off-balance, our old buddy instead of the man kept at a slight distance that we have to meet all over again because we only think we know him.
Even worse the book keeps throwing out these ideas that could be neat but wind up being tossed aside in favor of focusing on characters that we've seen from other books. The giant ants are more or less window dressing but we've given an entire parallel world that could be worth exploring but we barely scratch the surface before it becomes just another function of the plot. The invasion of a parallel world isn't the most original idea in SF (for a more recent example, see the "Sliding Albion" arc from "The Authority" comic) but what do see makes it a shame that more isn't revealed, especially since the little glimpse is so frustrating. The main villain of the piece is a step in the Tobias Vaughn direction, and while he lacks that man's verve or personality, he seems to be clever enough and its a change of pace to see someone with evil motivations act through actual sociopathic tendencies as opposed to grandiose egomania.
But too many other parts feel off. A famous dead actor appears no longer dead but there's hardly any emotional weight or tragedy to it, the world seems to be the same as it ever was. When the Doctor sends cybernetic apes against the oncoming soldiers it doesn't have the urgency or last ditch desperation that it should and so feels wrong (especially since he knows they're going to kill everyone in sight). Ace is gone for many a page and then just as suddenly is back in what feels like an extreme cop-out as the whole point of the book is wondering how the Doctor is going to get around Ace's undodgeable fate. Turns out she can't avoid the fate but it doesn't matter but somehow she's okay anyway. It becomes the plot equivalent of painting yourself in a corner and then getting out by drawing a door in the wall. At times it feels like they were going to string out the Ace subplot for as long as they could until they were suddenly forced to wrap it up.
It's a shame because you get the sense they are trying very hard and what it makes even more frustrating is how close they come. A few more tweaks in a different direction would have made a world of difference. Though its possible now, with the Ace stuff out of the way, they can push further with the stuff that did work and give us something utterly new next time out. That's enough to hope for, really.