Smith, Dale


4 out of 5

(1 book)

Doctor Who: The Many Hands

An original adventure featuring the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and his companion Martha Jones.  In Scotland in 1759 the Doctor and Martha discover that the dead are coming back to life and mysterious disembodied hands may be the cause.  Confronted by obsessive surgeons and a platoon of British soldiers, they have to brave the dark squallor of 18th Century Edinburgh to defeat an enemy which could destroy the entire human race.

Usually Doctor Who novels make the most of their format by introducing us to and giving us the detailed POV stories of the incidental characters that the main characters encounter on their adventures.  That's definitely not a bad thing, but here Smith decides to take a different tack and keeps the focus strongly on the Doctor and Martha, revealing the side characters only through their interactions with those two.  This approach actually makes for a thoroughly enjoyable story whose frenetic pace does a better job of capturing the feel of the TV show than most tie-in novels.  However, I feel I should make special mention of Captain McAllister, one of those incidental characters who nevertheless proves to be one of far greater depth and complexity than first impressions would suggest.

The setting of this book is also an excellent one, with the dingy darkness of 1750s Edinburgh rivalling the tone of any gloomy Victorian London story.  Add in historical tensions, specifically being set in the period after the Jacobite Rebellions but before the American Revolution (a luminary of which makes an unexpected albeit brief appearance), and it makes for a wonderfully rich background for the Doctor-versus-monsters action.

All in all I found this to be a really fun read and would say that it would make an excellent episode of the series itself, which, for a franchise tie-in, is perhaps the best praise I could give it.

4 out of 5


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