The Hand of Fear
Target novelisation
Doctor Who and the Hand of Fear

Author Terrance Dicks Cover image
Published 1979
ISBN 0 426 20033 0
First Edition Cover Roy Knipe

Back cover blurb: The Tardis lands in England, and Sarah, the Doctor's companion, looks forward to going home. A freak accident in a quarry leaves the unconcious Sarah clutching an enormous stone hand. The Hand is the only surviving remnant of Eldrad, an alien super-being expelled from his planet, Kastria - and it has the power to control the human mind. Using Sarah as its instrument, the Hand goes in search of the atomic energy it needs to regenerate Eldrad's body. Eldrad is determined to return to Kastria and punish his enemies. The Doctor and Sarah are caught up in the terrifying conclusion of a drama of betrayal and revenge that began millions of years ago.


Well that's a hand creating fear... by Tim Roll-Pickering 8/4/04

Roy Knipe's cover is good, though one has to wonder just how much knowledge he was given of the story, since his image is far from an accurate representation of any scene and feels rather like an attempt to show the Doctor and Sarah in fear of a hand! However it is still an impressive piece and makes for a strong lure into a good book.

The print may be large and the story simple but Terrance Dicks has produced in this book a highly competent novelisation that really flows well and makes the reader want to read on. The original story takes place on a very small scale and the book follows this though the descriptions of Kastria hint at a great civilisation. A prologue detailing Eldrad's destruction is brief but gives an impression of an old feud between him and Rokon setting things up for later. Then we come to the present day Earth scenes. Here the story follows the course of the televised script very faithfully, although there are a few changes such as the nuclear safety device now consisting of instructions to avoid eardrums being blown out and eyes being blinded by the blast.

There's an interesting point where the Doctor briefly returns to the quarry whilst Sarah is in hospital. Here the Doctor quizzes Abbott about what else has been found in the quarry and establishes his credentials by waving his UNIT passes about. Yet elsewhere he does not and instead establishes his credentials through more traditional methods such as showing his value to those around through imparting knowledge and/or actions. Whilst using credentials just about worked in the UNIT stories, by this point the Doctor is ever more a wanderer on his own and the ability to produce instant authority just stands ill at ease with this.

The rest of the book is competent but not spectacular. By the time Dicks wrote this book he had clearly perfected a style of adapting good stories into good books which flow quite well. There is a real sense of uncertainty about whether Eldrad is merely embittered about his/her destruction or has a greater motivation, whilst the scenes on Kastria evoke a sense of walking through the embers of a once great civilisation. Sarah's departure is handled well as on television.

At the end of it, Doctor Who and the Hand of Fear is a very faithful and competent book that in no way lets down its televised version. Recommended. 8/10