Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Doctor Who: The Many Hands” as Want to Read:
Doctor Who: The Many Hands
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Doctor Who: The Many Hands

(Doctor Who: New Series Adventures #24)

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  921 ratings  ·  63 reviews
Edinburgh, 1759.

The Nor' Loch is being filled in. If you ask the soldiers there, they'll tell you it's a stinking cesspool that the city can do without. But that doesn't explain why the workers won't go near the place without an armed guard.

That doesn't explain why they whisper stories about the loch giving up its dead, about the minister who walked
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 10th 2008 by BBC Books (first published January 1st 2008)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Doctor Who, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Doctor Who

Pooh Gets Stuck by Walt Disney CompanyNothing Ever Happens by Yoshitomo NaraLooking for Alaska by John GreenThe Sweaty Yeti by Roy AppsAn Abundance of Katherines by John Green
In Your Pants
720 books — 224 voters
Doctor Who by Jonathan    MorrisDoctor Who by Jacqueline RaynerDoctor Who by Trevor BaxendaleDoctor Who by Justin RichardsDoctor Who by Gary Russell
Doctor Who Books
383 books — 137 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  921 ratings  ·  63 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Jim C
Aug 07, 2019 rated it did not like it
A book based on the television series. This one has David Tennant as the Doctor and his companion is Martha. They travel to Edinburgh during the eighteenth century where they meet an alien who wants to live but to live this alien has to consume human DNA.

This book touches upon the zombie genre as well as Frankenstein. You would figure the Doctor meeting zombies would guarantee an amusing adventure. Sadly, that wasn't the case. We open in the middle of an action scene that doesn't provide any co
Stuart Douglas
Jun 23, 2009 rated it liked it
The Many Hands: Book the First
[In which the Doctor runs around a great deal and a soldier is hit by stone chips at a surprising distance:]

Well I'm exactly 100 pages into Paul Dale Smith's new NSA, The Many Hands and so far it suffers from some of the issues which have affected other books in the range.

Before I go any further I should point out that I think Smith is one of the top 2 or 3 writers to come out of Doctor Who - 'Heritage' is one of my favourite books in the BBC range,
Apr 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: own-audio
What a very, very strange story. All I could see in my head while reading was the hands from Labyrinth. Totally cool.

Holy crap did that part freak me out as a kid. In a good kind of way. I think I probably watched that part a gazillion times. Now, I have to go watch it again.

Aug 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Source: I own this book.
Cost: Unknown

Title: The Many Hands
Series: Doctor Who New Adventures #24
Author: Dale Smith
Overall Rating: 3.5 stars

I've always loved this book, as a kid, I remember it creeping me out so much that I couldn't sleep the night that I read it! As an adult, it doesn't scare me, but it's still quite sinister. My main question in this series is why is it always told more from the companions point of view rather than the Doctor's? Don't/>/>/>/>
Tardis Engineer
Aug 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Dr Who fans in Scotland!
Recommended to Tardis by: Magazine preview
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was okay, but nothing really special. I never got the sense that it was a real Doctor/Martha adventure. I found my mind wandering while I was listening to it because some of the scenes seemed repetitive; I thought maybe someone at the BBC decided that it would be cool to have the Doctor in an adventure with zombies because zombies are popular now. Perhaps the abridgement left out too much of the background.
Jul 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Straight the moment The Doctor is trying to distract a walking dead corpse on the top of a stagecoach, you know your in for a creepy gothic adventure.

The historical Edinburgh setting during 1773 gives this story a really hammer horror / early Fourth Doctor era feel.
The disembodied hands are so sinister, I wonder if that was a reference to The Hand of Fear?
Sue Moro
Feb 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I preferred the second half of the book where the story got more creepy. The first half was slow and confusing with the story opening in the middle of an action scene. This was just an "okay" Doctor Who story for me.
Feb 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was quite an interesting one. I rather liked it.

And David Troughton did a great job narrating it.
Apr 24, 2008 rated it did not like it
rubbish, only for under fives
Jul 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads
"Edinburgh, 1759. The Nor' Loch is being filled in. If you ask the soldiers there, they'll tell you it's a stinking cesspool that the city can do without. But that doesn't explain why the workers won't go near the place without an armed guard. That doesn't explain why they whisper stories about the loch giving up its dead, about the minister who walked into his church twelve years after he died... It doesn't explain why, as they work, they whisper about a man called the Doctor. And about the man ...more
Adam Graham
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were a lot of BBC Audiobooks released tying into the new series that had similar formulas: The Doctor + Isolated English locale from modern or historic period + Monster. The one actually does the formula really well as the Doctor and Martha arrive at a village chasing Benjamin Franklin's carriage and end up arrested.

There's a lot that makes this story work. There's some good research into the time period and the science of Ben Franklin's discovery of static electricity. I also appreciated
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
Fun read
Jul 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audible, media-tie-in
I really should have loved this book, it had so many elements I love in a story, but I just didn't love it.
May 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
I've been a fan of sci-fi for years, and my suspension of disbelief is pretty well honed. Yet I just couldn't buy into this story. I struggled to finish it.
Oct 08, 2016 rated it liked it
An enjoyable and atmospheric romp through 18th century Edinburgh for the 10th Doctor and Martha. The plot rolls along at a decent pace, and draws well on the features of the old city and gives us a genuinely creepy monster. The only real weakness of the story, for me, was the lack of character development for the creature - exactly what was it and what did it want, beyond just staying alive? In fairness, this is a frequent problem within the TV show too - monsters are often just scary things lum ...more
Dec 06, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: doctor-who
This was... it wanted to be exceptionally creepy & was just "meh"

Didn't help the scene descriptions aren't very good (so when the soldiers ran into the church it was already full of people? Funny, forgot to mention that 'till like 3 scenes later!) and the inconsistency with names (at start the woman is "Katherine" but then pages upon pages later he thinks "his poor Isabella, how scared she has been" ..what, was there another woman in his life we've just forgot to mention, or The
Jul 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Middle-School History covering 1918-1945. Model T's, wood-frame airplanes, radios, Prohibition, jazz, the Roaring Twenties, Babe Ruth, flappers, the Depression, and two World Wars...all in a thirty-year span. That pretty much gives a good summary of what you find in this book. I've noticed that now that things are getting closer to modern times, the jumping around is much less and the author makes it a point to detail a lot more than what I remember learning about from my history classes, middle ...more
This was such a great DW story! I loved how every action by both the Doctor and Martha fit perfectly with their on-screen personas. Every time the Doctor was saying something or doing something in the book it was very easy to read it in David Tennant's voice and visualize him acting that way, which is so nice.

The monsters in the story were super creepy and not at all what I thought they were going to be. There were so many funny lines, that I was smiling so often it was ridiculous.

I loved that
Michel Siskoid Albert
Jan 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
A new series book starring the Tenth Doctor and Martha in 18th-century Edinburgh fighting cloned hands by the loch. There are some good bits, especially near the end when things are most dire, but I felt the book was rather repetitive. The Doctor and Martha, separated, encounter the same threat, after all. There was also the problem of shifting the point of view to the ancillary characters, which would work in a longer book, but here somehow marginalizes the stars. I have little interest in a st ...more
Beverly K
Mar 07, 2015 rated it did not like it
DNF at page 192. I'm sorry. I stopped caring. Zombies and reanimated hands? Seriously? This book reminded me of a shlocky Doctor Who ep that I would've soon forgotten.

I'm glad I got this book for free. I'd have regretted paying for it.

Oh, and can we talk about how forced the characterization was? In particular, he wasn't writing Martha and the Doctor as they are, but how he *wanted them to be*. No wonder the book sucked. You can't force characters into molds without it feeling synthetic.
Nicholas Whyte
Dec 23, 2009 rated it liked it

A jolly good Tenth Doctor and Martha novel, which would have made a brilliant TV episode (or couple of episodes). Mostly set in eighteenth-century Edinburgh, where alien tech has created a flock of semi-sentient hands which are terrifying the locals. A good sense of place and a couple of David Tennant in-jokes referencing Bathgate and Hamlet. Entertaining stuff.
Mar 14, 2013 rated it liked it
This is one of the best of the current crop of Who books. The alien is extremely creepy and the characterizations of the Doctor and Martha are spot on. The plot is fast paced with an evenly interesting path for both regulars. The supporting players are all well-rounded and interesting, especially McAlister (who I was waiting to be revealed as an ancestor to the Brig). Dale Smith is one to watch with the Who books, he should write for the show.
Aug 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: doctor-who
My first disappointment of 2016- 1*

What even was this novel?
So boring...

I love Edinburgh but what an awful setting for this...
Martha was such a disappointment of a character again, the companionship does not work. Once again, Martha is 'blushing' and not focusing on the adventure of an alien race.

She ruined this book. Bad plot, bad characters and boring!
Oct 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Good, quick read. I do love when the Doctor incorporates real historical figured in the stories. My one complaint about the book was the author makes Martha fawn over the Doctor a bit too much (I'm so annoyed by the writing of Martha as some lovesick puppydog, when she's such an incredible character beyond that) but they're separated for most of the story so it wasn't much on an issue.
Cora (Galactic Reader)
Mar 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Updated on 7/08/17
I wanted to re-read a book that I couldn't remember what happened in the book and that I read a long time ago and this is the one I picked.
This was a fairly enjoyable book with a creepy Scottish vibe to it. However it wasn't flawless mainly due to the ending because it felt rushed and it left me with a few unanswered questions.
Sarah Crawford
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Doctor and Martha are Edinburgh in 1759. The story opens with an out-of-control stagecoach and a group of trigger-happy guards. Add to that mix a couple mad scientists and a group of disembodied hands that seem to have some form of intelligence and you have another fascinating Doctor Who adventure.
Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: doctor-who

I enjoyed this DW adventure because the Doctor and Martha go time traveling in Edinburgh. They encounter a mad professor and his numerous hand creatures. But with some inspiration from Ben Franklin they manage to save the day.
Feb 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
If the first half is essentially an extended chase sequence on foot, the second half ramps up the pulp horror and is pretty satisfying. Captures the feel of series 3 very well. Some lovely turns of phrase and black humour. The Doctor/Martha period has enjoyed a particularly strong set of books.
Nov 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Doctor Who fans
Another great Doctor Who adventure. It took a while for the story to really get interesting, but the author did a lovely job of capturing the personalities of the actors involved. The story would have made a spookily good television serial.
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Doctor Who: Snowglobe 7
  • Doctor Who: Martha in the Mirror
  • Doctor Who: The Slitheen Excursion
  • Doctor Who: Peacemaker
  • Doctor Who: Judgement of the Judoon
  • Doctor Who: Wishing Well
  • Doctor Who: The Krillitane Storm
  • Doctor Who: Sting of the Zygons
  • Doctor Who: Shining Darkness
  • Doctor Who: Ghosts of India
  • Doctor Who: The Eyeless
  • Doctor Who: The Story of Martha
  • Doctor Who: Sick Building
  • Doctor Who: The Taking of Chelsea 426
  • Doctor Who: Wooden Heart
  • Doctor Who: Autonomy
  • Doctor Who: The Last Dodo
  • Doctor Who: The Doctor Trap
See similar books…

Other books in the series

Doctor Who: New Series Adventures (1 - 10 of 69 books)
  • Doctor Who: The Clockwise Man
  • Doctor Who: The Monsters Inside
  • Doctor Who: Winner Takes All
  • Doctor Who: The Deviant Strain
  • Doctor Who: Only Human
  • Doctor Who: The Stealers of Dreams
  • Doctor Who: The Stone Rose
  • Doctor Who: The Feast of the Drowned
  • Doctor Who: The Resurrection Casket
  • Doctor Who: The Nightmare of Black Island