The Prisoner: Paperback Number Three, Hank Stine
This is the weakest of the three paperbacks. Nothing of any importance occurs in the first sixty-five pages, other than introducing us to a few characters that become important later.
The first major action occurs when the Prisoner and the tobacconist are both arrested for selling marijuana. It seems that the tobacconist had lived in the same cottage that the Prisoner did later, had built a store chamber for grass, and had never taken the stuff out. They are both taken to an island prison, where the Prisoner develops a rather bad case of the flu.
Selling or concealing drugs is punishable by death in the Village, and the Prisoner seems the tobacconist shot by a firing squad. Meanwhile, a bunch of young Villagers, who are working on making a film, befriend the Prisoner, and promise to work for his release. Number Two then talks to him and tells him that, unless he reveals the secret of his resignation, he will also be executed.
One of the characters introduced earlier on, the female #7, also befriends the Prisoner and comes to him the night before he is due to be executed. She tells him that his former boss, John Drake's boss, wants him to destroy the Village. A helicopter is conveniently flow in, and the radar unit is under the forces of Drake's boss.
Number 7 tells the Prisoner that the Colonel's (D's boss) faction has been trying to close down the Village for years, and that three men collectively compose the enigmatic Number One.
Drake/#6 leaves, returns to London, but only after thinking about where he wanted to take his vacation-Portmerion-which is actually where the filming was done for the tv series.
He goes to see the Colonel, and there is called Zed M 73, which isn't much better than Number Six, just harder to remember. He asks the Colonel some questions, and finds out that the Village is British controlled and that Sir Charles Portland, the head of the department that the Prisoner worked in, is also involved in the Village. The Colonel wants him to kill all three men composing Number One, and the Prisoner agrees.
His fiancee visits him, but he tells her nothing, and she is quickly out of the story.
The Prisoner first goes to see John Wilkinson and has a long philosophical oration shoved at him, pointing out that:
"There are no lives anymore, only statistics. Any statistic can be sacrificed."
The Prisoner shoots him, then goes to see the Field Marshall, who is a fitness nut and who is also willing to deluge the Prisoner with his own views. He ends up attacking the Prisoner, though, and is killed in the process.
The Prisoner finally goes to see Sir Charles and blows his head off but sees a bunch of copper wires inside the head.
He is returned to the Village, even though he has killed the three men involved in running it. Number One is no longer heard from and the Village continues for a while, but fairly soon everyone is set free who wants to leave, and the Prisoner returns to London to find dirt, noise and nasty headlines.
We are then treated to a few pages of totally weird material in which the Prisoner realizes he is still in the Village and that everything he went through was an illusion.
One could take a long time just going over the non-Prisoner actions in the book. The entire novel is unrealistic, does not fit in with the Prisoner "mythos" and behaviors and is basically utterly absurd.
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