This book tends to get over shadowed by 'Lungbarrow' and 'The Dying Days' that came after it and the delayed publication of 'So Vile a Sin', but its an important part of the Virgin books cycle and wraps up many of the key themes that run throughout them. Its main function is to resolve the emotional bagage built up over the previous books, but more than anything it sets up the up-coming regeneration that occurs in the telemovie and that theme runs across the whole plot. Having built the Seventh Doctor up so much over the course of 59 books, killing him off by a combination of stray bullets and botched heart surgery, must have seemed fairly naff. This book tries to retcon that by establishing that the Doctor knows he's going to die and that it will be pointless and without warning and it actually works very well. Kate Orman uses this novel to shut down the the Doctor's amnipulative ways and go someway towards redemption for the collateral damage he's caused. Away from all this, the books still works well as stand alone story. Perhaps its main flaw is that you need that know alot about the preceeding books, but the japanese setting is interesting and well researched and the characters are well done (particularly Penelope Gate, who subsiquent BBC books imply is the Doctor's mother). Its also Chris' best appearance when he's not the emotional, complusive counter point to Roz or a manipulated pawn of the Time Lords. He gets to grow up and except who his, in much the same way that the Doctor comes to except that his death is approaching.