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The Prisoner

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He's a top-level agent, highly skilled and ultra-secret. But he wants out, and they won't let him quit. He quits anyway. Then suddenly comes the dawn when he wakes up in captivity, in a pleasant, old-style, seaside town-one packed solid with electronic surveillance hardware. This is The Village. And he is The Prisoner. If he was good enough, sharp enough to be a top-flight He's a top-level agent, highly skilled and ultra-secret. But he wants out, and they won't let him quit. He quits anyway. Then suddenly comes the dawn when he wakes up in captivity, in a pleasant, old-style, seaside town-one packed solid with electronic surveillance hardware. This is The Village. And he is The Prisoner. If he was good enough, sharp enough to be a top-flight cloak-and-dagger man, is he good enough to escape the men who've chained his life to the wall?


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He's a top-level agent, highly skilled and ultra-secret. But he wants out, and they won't let him quit. He quits anyway. Then suddenly comes the dawn when he wakes up in captivity, in a pleasant, old-style, seaside town-one packed solid with electronic surveillance hardware. This is The Village. And he is The Prisoner. If he was good enough, sharp enough to be a top-flight He's a top-level agent, highly skilled and ultra-secret. But he wants out, and they won't let him quit. He quits anyway. Then suddenly comes the dawn when he wakes up in captivity, in a pleasant, old-style, seaside town-one packed solid with electronic surveillance hardware. This is The Village. And he is The Prisoner. If he was good enough, sharp enough to be a top-flight cloak-and-dagger man, is he good enough to escape the men who've chained his life to the wall?

30 review for The Prisoner

  1. 5 out of 5

    Karl

    (Thomas Michael Disch) 1940 - July 4 2008 aka Thom Demijohn, Leonie Hargrave, Victor Hastings, Cassandra Knye A top-level agent, highly skilled and ultra-secret. But he wants out, and they won't let him quit. He quits anyway. Then suddenly comes the dawn when he wakes up in captivity, in a pleasant, old-style, seaside town - one packed solid with electronic surveillance hardware. This is The Village. And he is The Prisoner. If he was good enough, sharp enough to be a top-flight cloak-and-dagger ma (Thomas Michael Disch) 1940 - July 4 2008 aka Thom Demijohn, Leonie Hargrave, Victor Hastings, Cassandra Knye A top-level agent, highly skilled and ultra-secret. But he wants out, and they won't let him quit. He quits anyway. Then suddenly comes the dawn when he wakes up in captivity, in a pleasant, old-style, seaside town - one packed solid with electronic surveillance hardware. This is The Village. And he is The Prisoner. If he was good enough, sharp enough to be a top-flight cloak-and-dagger man, is he good enough to escape the men who've chained his life to the wall? A famous line "I Am Not a Number!" This was also a great T. V. show

  2. 4 out of 5

    Brett C

    This was a decent attempt at novelizing the classic 1967 British television show "The Prisoner". The book was published after the show in 1969 and attempts to detail the Village and Number 6. As in the show, Number 6 relentlessly deals with his antagonist Number 2 and makes every effort to escape. The book mimics the show's smart and quick dialogue filled with literary and classical allusions, intrusive and constant surveillance, and psychological manipulation. I went back and checked out most o This was a decent attempt at novelizing the classic 1967 British television show "The Prisoner". The book was published after the show in 1969 and attempts to detail the Village and Number 6. As in the show, Number 6 relentlessly deals with his antagonist Number 2 and makes every effort to escape. The book mimics the show's smart and quick dialogue filled with literary and classical allusions, intrusive and constant surveillance, and psychological manipulation. I went back and checked out most of the show after reading. The book adapts a few episodes, for instance 'The Arrival', where Number 6 arrives to the Village and makes an impulsive escape attempt. The episode 'A. B. and C.', where Number 6 undergoes dream manipulation in order to extract the reason for his resignation. And episode 'Many Happy Returns, when Number 6 gets away but is tricked into being brought back, questioning who is really running the Village. The book indirectly references 'The Schizoid Man' and 'Hammer Into Anvil' but does not incorporate them into the plot. The book is spot-on with recreating some parts of the show and then creates other elements. However, in my honest opinion, the show did a better job only because the book was limited as to what it presented. I would recommend and give this story a chance if you enjoyed the show. "Be seeing, you!"

  3. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    I loved this weird, Kafkaesque waking nightmare until we got to the end and everything was suddenly explained. I had the same reaction to the 1997 Michael Douglas/Sean Penn movie, The Game. Don't look at the man behind the curtain! But... let's be realistic. The Prisoner was a popular series at the time and is apparently being remade. According to boxofficemojo.com, The Game grossed a respectable $109M worldwide. Kafka, on the other hand, died a miserable death at the age of 41. It's pretty obvi I loved this weird, Kafkaesque waking nightmare until we got to the end and everything was suddenly explained. I had the same reaction to the 1997 Michael Douglas/Sean Penn movie, The Game. Don't look at the man behind the curtain! But... let's be realistic. The Prisoner was a popular series at the time and is apparently being remade. According to boxofficemojo.com, The Game grossed a respectable $109M worldwide. Kafka, on the other hand, died a miserable death at the age of 41. It's pretty obvious what the correct choice is. So, with that introduction, here's The Missing Final Chapter Of The Trial K woke and felt unaccountably disoriented. He tried to muster his thoughts. Where was he? And what had happened? Suddenly, everything came back to him. The two men... the knife... The rest of this review is available elsewhere (the location cannot be given for Goodreads policy reasons)

  4. 5 out of 5

    J.G. Keely

    'Surprisingly good for a TV novelization' is praise too faint to serve this book. This is not merely a good tie-in, it's good Speculative fiction. Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised: Disch is acclaimed as an inventive author who didn't succumb to the limits of his genre. Then again, such acclaim is all too common, thrown at any author who deviates from the most predictable forms. Disch is more than this. His literary aspirations shine through in both form and content. His dialogue is snappy and refe 'Surprisingly good for a TV novelization' is praise too faint to serve this book. This is not merely a good tie-in, it's good Speculative fiction. Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised: Disch is acclaimed as an inventive author who didn't succumb to the limits of his genre. Then again, such acclaim is all too common, thrown at any author who deviates from the most predictable forms. Disch is more than this. His literary aspirations shine through in both form and content. His dialogue is snappy and referential, replete with wry insight and involved psychology. His style is somewhat contrived, but that is difficult to avoid with an author who deploys such a deliberate and controlled hand. And this contrivance, this self-aware, clever style is in no way out of place in the Prisoner universe. Like McGoohan, Disch is twisting and playing with the tropes of spy literature, including its trite dialogue, and mixing them with post-modern counterculture deconstruction. Perhaps the most surprising part is how well his voice in this novel matches with the television series, itself. The inscrutable layers are there, as is the unyielding heart of six, the crushing weight which at every turn you feel must finally overcome him, and all the multivariate allusions to how his predicament parallels the sum of human experience, imagined as a struggle between the individual and communal urges. I don't usually include examples from the books in question, but there is one which I feel illustrates perfectly how Disch's writing meshes with what made the series great. Feel free to skip it if you'd rather read it for yourself, though it's a momentary insight, not a plot point: At one point, Number Six has again escaped to London, and is trying there to make contacts, to tell his story, and to seek allies to protect him from return. He rushes about the city in a furor, contacting anyone, trying to decode stolen tapes, calling offices, trying to set up appointments. At every turn, he is met by difficulty. His calls are not returned, appointments are put off, and no one can find a machine to play the stolen tapes. Six is wracked by paranoia, seeing everywhere the hand intent to snatch him back, infiltrating everyone and everything. Then he realizes that, being trapped so long in The village, he had grown used to it, to its constraints but also its convenience, its minuteness. He realizes that he had merely forgotten that the world is a difficult, confused, maddening place that seems to set upon you at every turn to inconvenience you and drive you back. The poignancy of this simple insight, to me, shows all the strength of Disch's storytelling skill and grasp of psychology; and more than that, unveils a new and fundamental truism about the world of The Prisoner and the changes it has wrought in Number Six. I have a great ardor for the original series, but this has hardly made me ready to accept all interpretations. I found the most recent televised reimagining to be sadly lacking, but not so this book. It extends itself, exploring the mythology, not limiting itself to the content of the show. But then, how could any author hope to capture the tone of such an unpredictable, ever-changing creature without being similarly bold and unfettered? Some hardliners may resent the direction the book takes, but I appreciated that Disch was not content to wrest McGoohan's laurels, preferring to draw high his aim in hopes of winning his own. In my purview, he succeeded. Then, some months later, I was in a comic shop in midtown Manhattan and came across a book which listed and rated books which were tie-ins to films and television series. Curious, I thumbed through it to see if there was an entry on this book. To my edification, there was, and it read: "This is the single best tie in novel ever written."

  5. 4 out of 5

    Baba

    A book based on the TV series, which, just like I considered the TV series, was pointless and a waste of my time reading/watching. Saying that, it does capture the 1960s TV show perfectly, so maybe a good read for fans of the show? 1 out of 12. A book based on the TV series, which, just like I considered the TV series, was pointless and a waste of my time reading/watching. Saying that, it does capture the 1960s TV show perfectly, so maybe a good read for fans of the show? 1 out of 12.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Pete Young

    This new Penguin edition of Disch’s novelisation – the one that, in his lifetime, he resented every reprint of – is timed to coincide with the recent miniseries remake. Disch contracted to write this for a small fee while particularly short of cash, even before he caught a few episodes of it on US television, and he felt no particular affinity to the series but went on to create his own kind of embellishment on what he had seen with little regard as to how his novel might match the series’ end r This new Penguin edition of Disch’s novelisation – the one that, in his lifetime, he resented every reprint of – is timed to coincide with the recent miniseries remake. Disch contracted to write this for a small fee while particularly short of cash, even before he caught a few episodes of it on US television, and he felt no particular affinity to the series but went on to create his own kind of embellishment on what he had seen with little regard as to how his novel might match the series’ end result. It certainly diverges from it in any number of ways, but that’s possibly explained by the (very likely grafted on) notion that this was meant as a sequel: Number 6 has been recaptured, and he goes through the motions once more with similar tenacity but with a very different set of results. I didn’t see this as a sequel at all, but I like the notion that The Prisoner’s deliberately inexplicable nature can give rise to different interpretations and outcomes from its themes. Given the circumstances of its conception this isn’t considered a great Disch novel – understandably so, although I still found it to be elegant throughout, particularly the eloquent cat-and-mouse dialogue between Number 6 and Number 2 which felt exactly as it should, and which gives an indication of why Disch was probably right to be offered this gig: he made a more mentally stimulating job of it than, say, Philip K. Dick possibly would have, despite some multiple-identity and dystopian overtones that would now be considered Dickian. Certainly one for the completists of either Disch or The Prisoner, but in many ways actually better than might be expected.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    This is an odd little story based on the famous television series from the '60s. It's certainly not up to the literary standards of Disch's more well-known work, but it goes on interestingly enough until the characters decide to stage a production of Shakespeare to mask an escape attempt; they (and the reader) kind of get caught-up and lost in the thing and... well, it's kind of unclear and confused, so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt since that seemed to be much of the theme of the show.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nicky

    I liked the writing style of this, the sparseness, the cyclical feeling of it. I don't know if it'd be easier to "get" if I'd known anything in advance, if I'd seen the series maybe (I didn't know this was based on a TV series -- I assumed it'd be the other way round, with a big name like Disch). I found some things weirdly predictable, especially the end; like I had seen the series or read something about it, at times. Weird, anyway, but enjoyable and well written, well structured. Not a favouri I liked the writing style of this, the sparseness, the cyclical feeling of it. I don't know if it'd be easier to "get" if I'd known anything in advance, if I'd seen the series maybe (I didn't know this was based on a TV series -- I assumed it'd be the other way round, with a big name like Disch). I found some things weirdly predictable, especially the end; like I had seen the series or read something about it, at times. Weird, anyway, but enjoyable and well written, well structured. Not a favourite, but I don't know -- I might keep it around. I do want to try more of Disch's work.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mat Joiner

    A bit disappointing. I'm a big big fan of the original TV series and Disch's sequel (I suppose we could regard it as the non-canon eighteenth episode?) lacks something -spark or surreality. The Village doesn't feel like Portmeirion; there's a lot of long-winded mazy dialogue that would have been done a lot pithier in the serial. In his defence I believe Disch had only caught a few episodes when he wrote this. He has a good arch style though and this book's miles better than the godawful Western A bit disappointing. I'm a big big fan of the original TV series and Disch's sequel (I suppose we could regard it as the non-canon eighteenth episode?) lacks something -spark or surreality. The Village doesn't feel like Portmeirion; there's a lot of long-winded mazy dialogue that would have been done a lot pithier in the serial. In his defence I believe Disch had only caught a few episodes when he wrote this. He has a good arch style though and this book's miles better than the godawful Western episode "Living In Harmony". Perhaps Ballard or Aldiss could have done a tie-in novel justice. The ending... wraps up some stuff, and it feels like proper bonkers Sixties spy-fi. But it's much more in the spirit of "The Avengers" than "The Prisoner".

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I have not seen either the original series or the remake. I saw this book at the library and thought at first it was the book that the series was based on. I rmemeber a friend telling me abou the series and about "Number Six". After I checked out the book, I realized it was written after the series came out. I liked the book - up until the ending. The ending made no sense to me and was a disappointment because I was interested in the story up until that point. Perhaps if I saw the series I would I have not seen either the original series or the remake. I saw this book at the library and thought at first it was the book that the series was based on. I rmemeber a friend telling me abou the series and about "Number Six". After I checked out the book, I realized it was written after the series came out. I liked the book - up until the ending. The ending made no sense to me and was a disappointment because I was interested in the story up until that point. Perhaps if I saw the series I would change my mind on that point but after reading the book, I have no desire to see the series.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tasha Robinson

    I was hoping for some enlightenment or perspective on the 1960s TV show from this book, and I really didn't get it. It's billed as a novelization, though apart from the Village scenario and Rover, it doesn't have much in common with the series. But it's even more opaque and obscurantist than the show, without the compensating factor of Patrick McGoohan and the other performers, and the show's energy. I kept waiting for the book to answer any of the questions it was raising about the identities o I was hoping for some enlightenment or perspective on the 1960s TV show from this book, and I really didn't get it. It's billed as a novelization, though apart from the Village scenario and Rover, it doesn't have much in common with the series. But it's even more opaque and obscurantist than the show, without the compensating factor of Patrick McGoohan and the other performers, and the show's energy. I kept waiting for the book to answer any of the questions it was raising about the identities of the prisoners, who was on what side, where the Village had come from, and what anyone in it wanted, and what I got was a distracted pileup of circular dialogue. Not a fan.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Laura Floyd

    I wanted to like this. Interesting premise, but with an ultimately disappointing lack of revelation. Also, this guy's writing style made me batty. Lack of dialog markers left me frequently wondering who the heck was talking, and while I suppose that probably cooperated with the theme of the story (which, as far as I could tell was "you can never trust anything"), it was awfully annoying. Meh. Recommended by: Joe K.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Solski

    Great start to a film this would have been, although the ending doesn't hold up. The execution of the writing at times became episode paraphrases and lots of dialogue in the second half. Good capturing of the essence of the idea from the 60's show of the same idea.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tim Trewartha

    Disappointing tie in novel to the classic TV series. Writing style very irritating and affected, and the story adds nothing new to the series mythos, rehashing ideas. Tries at times to mind-bending, but in the end tries too hard.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Mcspadden

    It is really difficult to keep track of what it happening. The moments of clarity are amazing, but it's so bogged down in the abstract that I lost track of the plot constantly.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bill FromPA

    An unusual tie-in novel for an unusual TV show. (view spoiler)[The novel poses as a kind of sequel to the series - Number 6 has escaped or been allowed to escape and is recaptured and returned to the Village or another Village - other than the seaside location Disch does little to attempt a description of the show's highly individual milieu. Fans of the show will enjoy the clues - as at the end of "Fall Out" the Angelo Muscat "Butler" character is the protagonist's servant before his recapture. N An unusual tie-in novel for an unusual TV show. (view spoiler)[The novel poses as a kind of sequel to the series - Number 6 has escaped or been allowed to escape and is recaptured and returned to the Village or another Village - other than the seaside location Disch does little to attempt a description of the show's highly individual milieu. Fans of the show will enjoy the clues - as at the end of "Fall Out" the Angelo Muscat "Butler" character is the protagonist's servant before his recapture. Number 6 finds a film archive in a Village subbasement from which he views sections of "The Schizoid Man" and "Many Happy Returns" - and re-lives a version of the latter episode. (hide spoiler)] A bit too talky at times in a late night rambling "What is real?" form - issues the TV show played with in a less directly stated manner. In describing music played in the Village, Disch names a few of the public domain light classics of the type occasionally featured on the show, but on first arriving, Number 6 hears a selection from Oklahoma!, "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning", which caused me to reflect on the distracting question: Does the Village pay music licensing fees?

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brianna Cox

    I was only passingly familiar with the original television series this is connected to, so how well it works as a novelization/sequel I can't say. Judging it on its own, though, it's a very impressive, mindbending book and a quality piece of 60s sci-fi. (Warning: If you don't like that classic mid-twentieth century science fiction aesethetic, this probably isn't the book for you.) What makes it more impressive is its status as a tv show tie-in. "The Prisoner" is a genuine piece of literature tha I was only passingly familiar with the original television series this is connected to, so how well it works as a novelization/sequel I can't say. Judging it on its own, though, it's a very impressive, mindbending book and a quality piece of 60s sci-fi. (Warning: If you don't like that classic mid-twentieth century science fiction aesethetic, this probably isn't the book for you.) What makes it more impressive is its status as a tv show tie-in. "The Prisoner" is a genuine piece of literature that doesn't allow itself to be held back by the usual foibles of pulpy genre fiction and television tie-in novels. With that praise out of the way, though, Disch's philosphy and brand-name laden writing style, while distinguishing him from many genre writers, can get tiresome. Everyone's very posh and loquacious, and conversations can get difficult to follow not because they're surreal but simply because the prose and narration often dive very deeply into the esoteric end of the knowledge pool.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rex Libris

    If this book were written today it would be considered a reboot. It follows the same outline of the TV series: Number 6 quits the agency, is kidnapped, and taken to the Village. The kind of stuff you would expect to happen at the Village happens; but it is a new telling, none of t he hi-jinks from the TV show. I will say no more as I do not want to give away any spoilers. The story was good and worth reading, but the author's writing style really subtracted from my enjoyment. He appears to have If this book were written today it would be considered a reboot. It follows the same outline of the TV series: Number 6 quits the agency, is kidnapped, and taken to the Village. The kind of stuff you would expect to happen at the Village happens; but it is a new telling, none of t he hi-jinks from the TV show. I will say no more as I do not want to give away any spoilers. The story was good and worth reading, but the author's writing style really subtracted from my enjoyment. He appears to have had a thesaurus at hand, and made great use of it. I do not mind authors when they use eloquent language and it comes across as natural, but this guy seemed to be showing off.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    A fascinating alternate tale on The Prisoner, this novel has some intriguing conversations on the nature of prison and freedom, great cat-and-mouse between 6 and 2, a great supporting cast, and a wild ending. It's very different from the tv series, and short of that masterpiece standard, but is quite interesting taken on its own terms. If you're a Prisoner fan, I'd recommend it if only as a "what could've been" exercise.

  20. 4 out of 5

    David Allen

    A paperback original based on the cult TV series, this was probably a lark for a writer of Disch's ambition. The result is a slightly arty TV novelization or an almost mainstream Disch novel. Fifty years on, it remains the Disch book most likely to be found at a used bookstore. The story is enjoyable, starting at the beginning of Number Six's imprisonment (or does it?) and wrapping up in a satisfying way that reveals the identity of Number One (possibly?). Elusive and playful.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Claude

    It wobbled at the end. Otherwise a good piece.

  22. 4 out of 5

    James

    Tries hard to maintain the series and it's characters and does so with some good moments but I fund some of it a bit random - very deep filler shall we say.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    It feels like Disch was paying the rent when he agreed to write this. Still, it's a way to spend more time in that world.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nik

    I can't help but love this. Mainly as I always loved the surrealism of the TV series. I've even dreamt myself into this universe once or twice.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Book was written after the initial series. Liked the original series, the book paled in comparison. It was supposed to be a follow on as written. Became tedious and just gave up the reading of it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    My all-time favourite TV series, and someone managed to write a boring book based on it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mitsu

    3.5 I really liked the rapport between 6 and 2 and the humour throughout. After about chapter 9/10 I did feel a little lost and wasn't always sure who was talking, then for some reason there was a whole Shakespeare play in the middle and then I knew it had all run away from me. The twist at the end I couldn't' decide if it was too silly or all made perfect sense.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Crawford

    Apparently the Prisoner had escaped the Village some time in the past, but during that escape had been captured by someone and partially brainwashed. Then he is captured again by agents of the Village and is returned there. He finds that he is missing all memory of ever being in the Village before, along with other selected past memories. He plans to escape again, and once more is subjected to drug/technological "examination" by Village authorities. In a rather odd turn of affairs, he is elected/ Apparently the Prisoner had escaped the Village some time in the past, but during that escape had been captured by someone and partially brainwashed. Then he is captured again by agents of the Village and is returned there. He finds that he is missing all memory of ever being in the Village before, along with other selected past memories. He plans to escape again, and once more is subjected to drug/technological "examination" by Village authorities. In a rather odd turn of affairs, he is elected/appointed the Mayor of the Village. During the production of a play, the escape plan is put into effect, but instead of the Prisoner escaping, Number Two leaves the village. After this, the Prisoner is subjected to further brainwashing, and becomes the new Number Two, finally getting to meet Number One who turns out to be a human/android/bionic being. The first chapter is the weakest part of the entire book, reading more like an excerpt from an Avengers script with Steed and Mrs. Peel. After that, the book maintains a rather interesting and fairly consistent portrait of the Prisoner. In Chapter 8 we find that the Prisoner has discovered seventeen canisters of film, all about him (obviously referring to the seventeen episodes of the series) which, In the book, were real events in the Prisoner's life. Abbreviations such as Schiz for Schizoid Man emphasize this rather strongly. One of the strongest points of philosophical interest is not made by the Prisoner, but by Number Two when he says: "No, Number Six, though you may clang your bells for freedom, the best that you can escape to is some more camouflaged form of imprisonment than we provide." The Number Two used in this book seems to be one of the most literate ones in the whole series, and it is interesting to see what poem he will be quoting next during the unfolding of the story. Various other references to the original series are used, and a breakdown of camera placement within the individual cottages adds even more interest. As to Rover, Disch writes that there are a variety of spheres of different colors, but Rover is the only one able to kill. Overall, the book is well worth obtaining. It might not be real easy to find a copy, but e-bay and used bookstores are your best bet to find it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    S. Naomi Scott

    For those who don't know, this is the book based on the British TV series from the sixties starring Patrick McGoohan, and just like the TV show it's a mishmash of sci-fi, spy thriller and psychological thriller. It's also quite surreal in places. I've not seen the TV show for a long time, so my memory of it was quite hazy going into this book, though I think this may have been a good thing. There were a few places in the book where I got more than a little wrapped up trying to remember if the sce For those who don't know, this is the book based on the British TV series from the sixties starring Patrick McGoohan, and just like the TV show it's a mishmash of sci-fi, spy thriller and psychological thriller. It's also quite surreal in places. I've not seen the TV show for a long time, so my memory of it was quite hazy going into this book, though I think this may have been a good thing. There were a few places in the book where I got more than a little wrapped up trying to remember if the scene I'd just read appeared in the show, and almost as many places where I was convinced a given scene played out differently. Fortunately this wasn't enough to affect my enjoyment of the book in any way. The narrative itself is mostly told from the point of view of Number Six, though there are a few occasions where the point of view changes to give the reader a little 'insider information'. We never get to know the protagonist's real name, or even his real occupation, though it's a fair bet that he is a spy of some sort, probably working for the British government. Likewise, we're never really clued in on who runs the Village where most of the action takes place. In fact, the author does such a fine job of twisting the narrative around on it's own head that for much of the novel I wasn't even sure if what I was reading was actually taking place for the characters or just some dream or hallucination they happen to be caught up in, particularly during the section where Number Six appears to have escaped the Village. All in all I found this to be a fun read, and now I want to watch the show again.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    In the 1960s and 70s, there were no DVD players or VCRs. If you wanted to relive your favorite TV show, you either hoped it came on as a re-run, or you read the novelization. Thomas Disch was commissioned to write the novelization of the British cult series The Prisoner. What he wrote was not the usual prose recap of a favorite episode or two. It's more like a sustained improvisation on the TV series' favorite themes: deception, conspiracy and paranoia. While he works a few riffs from certain ep In the 1960s and 70s, there were no DVD players or VCRs. If you wanted to relive your favorite TV show, you either hoped it came on as a re-run, or you read the novelization. Thomas Disch was commissioned to write the novelization of the British cult series The Prisoner. What he wrote was not the usual prose recap of a favorite episode or two. It's more like a sustained improvisation on the TV series' favorite themes: deception, conspiracy and paranoia. While he works a few riffs from certain episodes (The Schizoid Man, for example), this is something completely different from the series. Sadly, the writing is uneven. At times, the narrative drags, weighed down by not terribly clever literary allusions and bloated prose. The novel's portrayal of Number Six is flat and dull compared to the series, and that seriously hurts the novel. The TV version of Six is stubborn, and fierce in his independent-mindedness. The book version is just sort of pretentious. The novel's ending is as ambiguous as the series', but in a different, and less interesting way. The book added nothing to my enjoyment of the series, to be honest. It's interesting to see Disch's take on the story, but looking at it as standalone book, it was just boring. I found I had to force myself to finish. For Prisoner completists only.

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