Anyone who ever watched the original series knows that early on, the intent wasn't to bring space and time faring SF action to the viewers every week, but to educate kids who might be watching the show. Thus, the plan was to have the TARDIS visit different time periods every week and thus teach children about said time periods. This idea lasted all of two stories, as the Daleks showed up and proved to be so darn popular that the concept of historical tales every week went totally out the window. They weren't totally abandoned and were fairly prominent during the Hartnell era (the last "true" one was Troughton's second story, "The Highlanders"), taking the team to Marco Polo, the Aztecs, the Crusades, the Romans and so on. Thus, this novel attempts to bring those days back for three hundred pages by having Ian, Barbara and Vicki land in merry olde England just before a certain fifth of November. As was typical, they get separated and just as quickly, they get caught up in the events of the day. Roberts is fairly good at this type of thing and writes a witty, fast paced novel filled with a lot of sneaking around and people scheming against other people, keeping the plot tangled enough so that it's one step ahead of you but not so opaque that you have no idea who is who or what the heck is going on. He captures the local (both temporally and geographically) flavor well and while I'm sure it wasn't exhaustively researched (he basically admits as much in the forward) it's close enough to count for me and it's no worse than the original series was. The cast interacts with a variety of real and fictional personages of the time and everything is fairly true to the spirit of the series. Even the joke of King James thinking Vicki is a young boy and wanting to spend some extra . . . time with her is reasonably tastefully done and mostly played for laughs, even if the implications are a tad disturbing. I'm not as familiar with this crew so I don't know how well they're portrayed, Ian and Barbara strike me as true, although Barbara does overplay the "oh Ian you're so strong and heroic" card a bit too much, but then Ian's job was to be the resolute action hero type. I've never seen a single episode with Vicki in it, and she seems a bit useless here, mostly following someone else's lead or crying a lot but from what I've heard that was basically her role in the series as well, being so young and fragile and helpless everyone had to work double time to protect her. The Doctor is played well in Hartnell's fashion, the bumbling old man act, the transitions from irate and egotistical to a pleasant grandfatherly type, the way he could command any situation by sheer force of will, it's all here. Fans of the early seasons can't really go wrong here, as it's a well written and deftly plotted homage to that era, functioning as a story that would have fit quite well into that season, but at the same time not looking dated to our modern eyes.