Thursday, June 7, 2012
THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. THE FINAL AFFAIR DAVID MCDANIEL
When The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was at the height of its popularity, Ace books published many paperback tie-in novels. Some of the best of these were written by David McDaniel. In "The Dagger Affair" McDaniel revealed something the TV show never did: "Thrush" [UNCLE's main antagonists] stood for Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity -- sort of like Nazis -- and gave them a fascinating background [Professor Moriarity anyone?] McDaniel wrote this last book detailing how UNCLE finally took care of their world-wide enemies before 1970, but it was never published, as the TV series had long since been cancelled. In The Final Affair it develops that UNCLE has put a special device in Thrush's San Francisco HQ [headed by Ward Baldwin from "Dagger Affair"] that has basically gained them entry into the group's Ultimate Computer, which contains all their knowledge and makes some decisions for them as well. There is a hypnotized double-agent who doesn't know he's really working for UNCLE, and a new deadly Thrush weapon that shoots out destructive fireballs. In a situation that prefigures the TV show Alias, Napoleon Solo's late wife June shows up unexpectedly, and explains why she faked her death [everyone accepts her into UNCLE ranks much too easily]. Solo, Illya, and June lead a strike on Thrush Island to make sure that the group of evildoers can't regroup very quickly, if at all. [It is explained that there will still be a lot of work for UNCLE mopping up and dealing with outbreaks and infighting among various Thrush satraps.] There is a passing of the torch after a major character is killed. In an amusing sequence Illya tells Napoleon to just trust him and hold his hand so they don't stick out in a gay bar [although one can't imagine the sophisticated Solo not realizing what kind of bar he was in!]
Verdict: A fitting close to the UNCLE saga. ***.