Any Key To Time enthusiasts will find much to like with regard to World Game - the man the Fourth Doctor had been just two selves ago conscripted into undertaking a first mission for the Celestial Intervention Agency with a pre-assigned lady companion, having lost Jamie & Zoe following The War Games. And like Romana, her true given name is much longer than the Doctor cares to even attempt to pronounce! Given what we know of Romanadvoratrelundar's initially dysfunctional relationship with the man the White Guardian had tasked with finding the segments of the Key To Time, we can apply almost exactly the same criteria to Serenadellatrovella & her own maverick Doctor.
Following his trial & sentencing to enforced regeneration - the summary details of which make up the prologue here, he's offered the chance of at least a temporary reprieve from a change of face. In return, the CIA need someone to investigate a spate of temporal interference centred around the Battle of Waterloo.
Having stumbled into the plans of the Players before (during a short four-chapter section of the Sixth Doctor-led novel Players, in which the elder incarnation reminisces from the point of view of the man he once was, able to actually show Peri by means of a thought transmitter), this isn't exactly new to him....and he gets to use psychic paper. Which means World Game is the first and to date only example of a Past Doctor Adventure novel referencing New-Who! Here it's retrospectively presented as an invention of the Agency, though we don't see it for the first time until the Ninth Doctor uses it in The End Of The World.
STEWARD: Who the hell are you?Of course, the Players themselves see human history as little more than a game, two teams of them competing to change the recorded outcome of Waterloo - Lord Nelson & the Duke of Wellington among the intended Pieces in this particular Game. And the Doctor must play a double role in a sense. He'll be called upon to impersonate no less than Napoleon Bonaparte, with the Paris segments of the mission taking on something of the air of The Reign Of Terror, which featured the future Emperor of the French himself, no less.
DOCTOR: Oh, that's nice, thanks.
STEWARD: But how did you get in? This is a maximum hospitality zone. The guests have disembarked. They're on their way any second now.
DOCTOR: That's me. I'm a guest. Look, I've got an invitation. Look. There, you see? It's fine, you see? The Doctor plus one. I'm the Doctor, this is Rose Tyler. She's my plus one. Is that all right?
STEWARD: Well, obviously. Apologies, et cetera. If you're on board, we'd better start. Enjoy.
DOCTOR: The paper's slightly psychic. It shows them whatever I want them to see. Saves a lot of time.
ROSE: He's blue.
One of Bonaparte's earliest admirers was Augustin Robespierre, younger brother of Maximilien, seen by many as the architect of the Reign Of Terror itself! He, of course, had unknowingly granted the First Doctor an audience at the height of his power.
ROBESPIERRE: Who is this, LeMaitre?So it'll come as little surprise that a smattering of prior knowledge/experience comes in handy. And her encounter with the chap she initially views as a suspicious eccentric changes Serena, in much the same way his later self would influence Romana's view of the universe.
LEMAITRE: A Regional Deputy visiting from our southern province, Citizen. And as the province in question is to be discussed, I thought the Citizen could make his report personally.
ROBESPIERRE: I see. I am always prepared to listen to a first-hand account of a region's situation.
DOCTOR: I welcome the opportunity. Thank you. Before you question me, perhaps you would like to hear my views on Paris?
ROBESPIERRE: When did you arrive?
DOCTOR: Just today.
ROBESPIERRE: Hardly long enough for you to have gauged the present mood of our capital.
DOCTOR: Oh, I wouldn't say that.
ROBESPIERRE: I am only interested in your comments on your own territory. Recent memoranda from your province suggest that the purge of our enemies in your region is progressing very slowly.
DOCTOR: Oh, you've reached that conclusion. Hmm. Well, perhaps we have fewer enemies in our region, and it maybe that Paris can take an example from us, hmm?
ROBESPIERRE: We in Paris are aware of the danger, Citizen. We live in troubled times. There is much, much work to be done, work that is constantly delayed by the need to ferret out the traitors that we harbour in our midst.
DOCTOR: Is there such a need, Citizen Robespierre? Hmm? I mean, what can this reign of terror possibly gain? For every opponent you put to the guillotine, two more will spring up!
LEMAITRE: I think you have said enough, Citizen.
DOCTOR: Oh, you do, do you?
ROBESPIERRE: Let him speak, LeMaitre. What he said is true. My enemies do multiply. He is only warning me of the dangers I face.
Sadly, she's unable to even return to Gallifrey and use what she's gained from serving as the Doctor's 'handler', piloting a radically different on the inside TARDIS- the Type 97 presented as an improvement on the Type 40, to which its usual captain gladly returns with the promise he can have Jamie back for his next mission on behalf of his new employers, as a concession after ensuring that, my my, at Waterloo...
...Napoleon did surrender. History records it, though sadly the Doctor has no chance to happily tootle out a few bars of Abba's similarly named hit on his recorder. Given the chance though, how could he, or anyone, ever refuse? After reflecting on witnessing proof that the winner takes it all on the battlefield as outlined by www.history.com from Napoleon's perspective-
"Napoleon rose through the ranks of the French army during the French Revolution (1789-1799), seized control of the French government in 1799 and became emperor in 1804. Through a series of wars, he expanded his empire across western and central Europe.Then it'll be time to head off to Space Station Chimera to confront Dastari and bump into his future self along the way.
However, a disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812, coupled with other defeats, led to his abdication and exile in 1814. He returned to France in 1815 and briefly resumed power. The Battle of Waterloo, in which Napoleon’s forces were defeated by the British and Prussians, signaled the end of his reign and the end of France’s domination in Europe. After Waterloo, Napoleon abdicated and later died in exile."
The Players aren't finished, either- they'll next menace an amnesiac Eighth Doctor at the height of Cold War intrigue in Endgame!