Reviews: "The Prisoner - Who is Number Two?" by David McDaniel
Review by David A Stimpson.
First published in 1969 in America by ACE Books, and in Britain by Dobson Books, and then in paperback by New English Library, but unlike its two predecessors the only two re-prints this book enjoyed was by Boxtree Limited in 1992 for the 25th anniversary of ‘the Prisoner, and as part of ‘the Prisoner Omnibus Trilogy’ published in 2002 by Carlton Books. And if you have read this book then you’ll understand why.
This novel is not an easy read, and consists of five sections which are given the titles of Introduction – Allegro – Andante Captibile – Rondo Capriccioso – Scherzo, the four being music markings meaning; Allegro -fast, Andante Captibile - moderate in a singing manner, Rondo Capriccioso – free and lively manner, Scherzo – lively.
I did wonder why the author had given each of the four sections a title of music marking, but having read the novel I can see that each one does fit the individual sections.
Not an easy read as I say, but the first word does identify the Prisoner – DRAKE, and the author does link this novel to it’s predecessor ‘the Prisoner’ by Thomas M. Disch by mention of No.1 being Granny, and goes on to explain what Granny is, or rather was. This with the fact that Number 2 is Number 100, also of it’s predecessor ‘The Prisoner: A Day In The Life’ by Hank Stine.
I soon found myself becoming tired of Number 2 trying to persuade Number 6 to wear his numbered badge, and that Number 6 once tried to pass himself off as Number 9 by wearing his badge upside down! To keep Number 6 occupied, Number 2 had the Prisoner’s Lotus Seven brought to the Village, and here I thought there was a misprint as the author has the registration plate as KAR 1260. But no, that is the mistake made throughout the novel, a mistake on the part of the author, when we all know it should be KAR 120C.
Again I found myself becoming tired of the seemingly endless description of how Number 6 works on his KAR, the repetitive requisitions for petrol, oil, and grease.
The escape attempt is ingenious enough, the Lotus Seven being turned into a boat is plausible, an amphibious KAR. But I found it utterly ridiculous that the reader is expected to believe that Number 2 could “stowaway” aboard a Lotus Seven without being discovered by Number 6!
I have only ever read this novel once before, and now I am reminded why. What’s more I can see no occasion that would impel me to read it a third time!
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