The Prisoner Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Prisoner

This book is a recent adaptation of the old TV series, and uses several episodes as its plotlines. A member of the British Intelligence Services decides to "retire", taking with him certain valuable information. Someone doesn't want him doing this, and he is drugged and taken to a place known only as the Village.
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Unlike the TV version this Village has a train station with tracks, and our hero, now known only as Number Six, tries to walk away. He is herded back to the Village by large inflatable Guardians..they're more dangerous than they sound. A number of tricks are attempted to break Number 6's spirit..among them, a mirror-image double named Number 12 is introduced to make him question his own identity and memories. Several other citizens of the Village..maybe fellow prisoners, maybe not..are used to pump him for information. He resists.

An escape attempt is made, using a makeshift shell to protect himself from the Guardians. Number Two, the visible Leader of the Village, follows him all the way via Rover, a remote controlled version of the Guardians.
He succeeds in reaching London, but no one knows anything and he can find no one familiar.

As it happens, most of Number Six's experiences have been manufactured in a sensory deprivation tank, with laser-imprinted memories and other high tech methods not available when the TV show ran.

Their last resort: introducing Liora, a woman who may have been his lover on the Outside. She remembers nothing of Number Six, however. They engage in a long debate about memory and identity.

Finally it is announced that Number Six has been promoted to Number Two, having endured a pain/pleasure indoctrination technique to ensure his loyalty.
He acts the part perfectly, even though the Doctor, Number 14, disconnected the pain/pleasure devices out of professed love.

The review of this Book prepared by tiepilot912

Chapter Analysis of The Prisoner

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 10%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 50%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 10% Tone of book    -   cynical or dry-wit FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   science fiction story Spying & Investigations    -   Yes What is main char. doing?    -   rescue mission/escape from confinement Repressive society story    -   Yes Repressive because:    -   controls your mind    -   strict rationing of freedoms/goods Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Who's a slave/repressed?    -   humans are slaves of other humans

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   spy Age:    -   20's-30's


Earth setting:    -   20th century Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment scientific jargon? (SF only)    -   none/very little science jargon needed How much dialogue?    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like The Prisoner

Thomas M. Disch Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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