Treasure Trail (comic story)

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Treasure Trail was a 1976 TV Comic story that was published a couple of weeks after the conclusion of the debut of The Seeds of Doom on television.

With The Dalek Revenge and Virus, Treasure Trail is the last of a trilogy of stories in which the (unseen) Time Lords send the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith on various missions by taking control of the TARDIS.

At the time of its release, it was only the third Doctor Who story to be set during World War II, following its TV Action predecessors Timebenders and Who is the Stranger. Whereas those two stories took place in Nazi-occupied France, Treasure Trail was — and remains — unique in that it took place late in the war, about a month after the Battle of Monte Cassino, in a northern Italian village inhabited by partisans. Of the many glimpses of World War II provided by Doctor Who in the ensuing decades, Treasure Trail may be the only one set amongst the Italian resistance.

Summary[[edit]]

In Italy during the Second World War, the Doctor and Sarah help an Italian priest save his monastery's treasures from retreating Nazi soldiers.

Plot[[edit]]

The Time Lords send the Fourth Doctor and Sarah-Jane on another mission without clear instructions. They find themselves under Nazi aircraft fire almost immediately upon disembarking the TARDIS. The Doctor's people have dumped them near the northern Italian town of Borosini in the summer of 1944.

Suspected by the local villagers of being Nazi spies, they are brought before the town's priest, Father Antonio. The Doctor convinces the priest they are English, using the writing on the TARDIS' police box exterior as proof. Any doubt about the pair's identity, however, is far less significant than the fact that Goering's Nazis are entering the village. It seems they are after whatever artistic treasures they can find.

They storm into the church, and Antonio shows them the Raphael hanging in the knave. Impressed, Lieutenant Schuler sends word of the painting up the Nazi chain of command. Meanwhile, the villagers fear that the Nazis will just steal their art as they've already done elsewhere in Europe. The Doctor offers his aid and wins Antonio's trust by bringing him forward in time to 1976, so he can see the rebuilt Monte Cassino monastery.

Giovanni, a local partisan who has given the Doctor and Sarah a hard time, confirms that there's a massive shipment of stolen art soon to pass through by train. The Doctor proposes to blow the line. They do this, retrieve all the stolen art via a mule trail, and bring it all back to the TARDIS ahead of the Nazis. The Time Lords send the TARDIS to April 1948, where the Doctor offloads the art. To the Italian press, it seems as though the art has magically reappeared. Only Antonio and Giovanni in Borosini knows it's not magic, but it's a secret they vow to take to their graves.

Characters[[edit]]

Worldbuilding[[edit]]

  • The Doctor uses a lateral transmitter to turn the TARDIS from being sideways to upright, and to summon it to him and Sarah-Jane.

Notes[[edit]]

  • This story makes no significant references to other DWU fiction, although it does follow on from The Dalek Revenge and Virus, with the TARDIS still under the control of the Time Lords.
  • No exact date is given in-universe as to when most of the story takes place, though it does specify the summer of 1944. If real-life dates apply, one month after the end of the Battle of Monte Cassino would set the story in June, after the capture of Rome.
  • This story is a "pure historical" featuring no science fiction elements apart from the presence of the Doctor, Sarah Jane and the TARDIS.

Original print details[[edit]]

(Publication with page count and closing captions)

  • TVC 1266 (2 pages) [No closing caption]
  • TVC 1267 (2 pages) Next week: a trap is sprung!
  • TVC 1268 (2 pages) [No closing caption]
  • TVC 1269 (2 pages) [No closing caption]
  • TVC 1270 (2 pages) More drama with the Doctor next week!
  • TVC 1271 (2 pages) Can the Doctor save the treasure?
  • TVC 1272 (2 pages) A super new story next week

Continuity[[edit]]