Written By: Thomas M. Disch/David McDaniel/Hank Stine
Page Count: 396
Availability: Try Amazon
As you might expect for a superior series like The Prisoner, then the original, spin-off novels published were a cut above as well. It helps, of course, that the first, The Prisoner (1969) was written by well-respected SF author Thomas M. Disch. Clearly the best written, it's an existential take on the series, and, like all three novels, features a No.6 post-Fall Out. While No.6 - now identified as John Drake - returning to the Village might conflict with the somewhat oblique end of the television series, this is still well worth reading. It may get a little too involved in its own philosophical cleverness (Chapter Thirteen particularly) but for a spin-off novel of a TV series then it's outstanding.
Not the best, but the most accessible, is Hank Stine's A Day In The Life (1970), the shortest of three which contains a violent psychedelic take on the concept. Sadly, while both these novels alone would have received a four-star rating, dragging them down is David McDaniel's tedious escape plot story The Prisoner: Number Two (1969). Published second, it's the one where No.6 says, "As the Bishop said to the Actress." Such out-of-character witticisms mask an interminable tale of car rivets. McDaniel is wonderful at describing cats, less so at detailing every nut and bolt that make up the car and boat of No.6's escape plot. Sadly, this novel's inclusion into the 2002 Compilation drags down the overall appeal of it as a set.
For those interested in how these novels came to be created, and what Jean Marie Stine thought of her own work (writing under the pseudonym "Hank") then you can find out under the "Interviews" section of this site.