Publisher's summary Edit
The Doctor's not the man he was. But what has he become? An old enemy — Faction Paradox, a cult of time-travelling voodoo terrorists — is finally making him one of its own. These rebels have a mission for him, one that will deliver him into the hands of his own people, who have decreed that he must die. Except now, it seems, the Time Lords have a mission for him too...
A gargantuan structure, hewn from solid bone, has appeared in the skies over Gallifrey. Its origin and purpose are unknown, but its powers threaten to tear apart the web of time and the universe with it. Only the Doctor can get inside... but soon he will learn that nothing is safe and nothing sacred.
Shot by both sides, confronted by past sins and future crimes, the Doctor finds himself a prisoner of his own actions. With options finally running out, he must face his most crushing defeat or take one last, desperate chance for salvation...
- Eighth Doctor
- Fitz Kreiner
- Lady President Romana
- Technician Nivet
- Greyjan the Sane
- Mother Tarra
- Third Doctor ('ghost')
- The biodata virus which infected the Doctor during his paradoxical regeneration on Dust continues to affect him.
- Fitz knows of the Faction Paradox either from his encounter on Earth in San Francisco 2002 or on Earth in 1996, or when he was part of the Remote prior to his re-remembering by the TARDIS.
- The Edifice which hangs over Gallifrey is revealed to be the Doctor's TARDIS, which he thought was destroyed. It exists in the form of a Gallifreyan Flower of Remembrance.
- The Panopticon should have six sides, but due to the Faction Paradox's interference it keeps losing sides until it's a circle.
- Romana is about to celebrate her time as Lady President of Gallifrey.
- Romana is a Prydonian.
- Cherantrin V is a planet where the Doctor, Fitz and Sam saw a double sunrise.
- The founders of Time Lord society include Rassilon, Omega, Pandak, Apeiron and the Other.
- The Penansulix Structure is a building on Gallifrey.
- Greyjan was president for three days, from 3 September and 13 September 1752.
- Greyjan is "remembered" into existence by the Faction Paradox.
- After the TARDIS transforms into the Edifice, the 'ghost' of the Third Doctor manifests in the console room, generating bone spiders to protect the ship, he and the Eighth Doctor admitting that spiders are important to them in a manner that they cannot define, referencing the Third Doctor's original regeneration (TV: Planet of the Spiders) before history was changed.
- This is the first time Gallifrey is destroyed (but not the last).
- Both versions of Fitz appear in this novel, the "current version" and the original who became Father Kreiner; Father Kreiner is killed during the novel.
The Ancestor Cell saw the culmination of the War arc, which had begun in Alien Bodies. The creator of the storyline, Lawrence Miles, grumbled about The Ancestor Cell, and went on to continue his War storyline in his own Faction Paradox series.
Among Miles' criticisms were the identities of the enemy (primordial cells irradiated by temporal interference and then energised by a leaking bottle universe) and Grandfather Paradox (a future version of the Eighth Doctor). According to Miles, Stephen Cole claimed that both revelations were not definite answers.
Lance Parkin's novel The Gallifrey Chronicles addressed some of these concerns by revealing that Grandfather Paradox is in fact everyone's potential future, and the destruction of Gallifrey in The Ancestor Cell didn’t really retroactively wipe the Time Lords from history; it just cut the Doctor off from them.
- The 'ghost' of the Third Doctor who features here is intended to be a manifestation of the Doctor who would have existed before the Doctor's unintentional interference in PROSE: Interference - Book One erased the events of Planet of the Spiders.
- PROSE: Alien Bodies was the first novel to feature both the Faction Paradox and the first mention of the War, the Enemy and sentient TARDISes similar to Compassion.
- PROSE: The Taking of Planet 5 debuted the war-TARDISes.
- The Time Lords began chasing the Doctor, Compassion, and Fitz in PROSE: The Shadows of Avalon.
- Fitz knows who the Faction Paradox are from his encounters with them in PROSE: Unnatural History and Interference - Book One.
- Per the Faction's plan to transpose the Eleven-Day Empire’s Parliament onto Gallifrey's Panopticon, the Eleven-Day Empire still exists. (AUDIO: The Eleven Day Empire)
- Compassion drops the Doctor on Earth which leads into PROSE: The Burning.
- Compassion also delivers Fitz on Earth a hundred years later in time to meet the Doctor, which he does in PROSE: Escape Velocity.
- PROSE: The Gallifrey Chronicles sorts out and re-interprets many of the events seen in this novel.
- Romana mentions the Dalek incident. (AUDIO: The Apocalypse Element)
- Romana remembers challenging Flavia. (PROSE: Goth Opera)
- Father Kreiner mentions the Thiili (PROSE: Dominion) and Vega Station. (PROSE: Demontage) Fitz retaliates with tales of Drebnar. (PROSE: Frontier Worlds)
- Father Kreiner was in a bottle universe. (PROSE: Dead Romance)
- The Discontinuity Guide to: The Ancestor Cell at The Whoniverse
- The Cloister Library: The Ancestor Cell
- Unused Chapter 10 of The Ancestor Cell (PDF) from Peter Anghelides website
- My Review of THE ANCESTOR CELL, by Lawrence Miles.