My anticipation piqued when I saw the mail package containing this book in my mailbox. However, after the initial perusal through the pages of The Avengers Files, that anticipation soured, only to be overtaken by disappointment. Please do not misunderstand. There is plenty of great background information on all the main characters of The Avengers, from the David Keel Years to The New Avengers in the late 70s. The problem with this volume lies in its format.
First, the blurb from the publisher on this book's Amazon page claims that the book is "abundantly illustrated". This claim is simply not true. What pictures this book does include are limited to two glossy eight-page photo inserts placed in two different parts of the book. While the photos are quite lovely and glossy, in both monochrome and color, they hardly qualify as an abundance. In fact, I'd consider 16 pages of photos in a 352 page volume a dearth.
The next problem has to do with the way Pixley presents the background information. The Avengers Files treats each episode as a real life event, even claiming that somewhere in the vast unknown lurks the real John Steed. Therefore, each story becomes its own case, each televised episode a surveillance film kept hidden away hush hush in the files of the ministry, with top secret and background information for each. Had Andrew Pixley chosen to present this info in an easy-to follow, year-by-year, story-by-story format, it would have worked much better. Instead, he gives each character his (or her) own chapter or chapters, with Steed getting the most chapters, being the longest-running character in the series, and recounts the background information in a prose style that is much like a novel. Unfortunately, this method is not conducive to a neat, chronological order of events. At one point, he discusses Steed's characteristics in the early 60s, then jumps to the mid 70s with the very next paragraph. There is plenty of great info here, but unfortunately it is scattered throughout the book in a hard-to-follow format.
Another problem I have with this book is, when referencing each story, Pixley designates a four letter code for each. Thus, The Hidden Tiger is [TIGE], Murdersville becomes [MDVL], and a Sense of History goes by [HIST]. You can understand the problem right off the bat. If the reader is not familiar with the story titles, he will be hampered in his understanding of the reference. Give Pixley credit for including a definition of acronyms, or Codes, if you will, in Appendix A toward the end of this volume. However, if the reader has to constantly interrupt his reading to check up on a code, his enjoyment of the book will be severely strained.
Also, I really don't understand the need for all the footnotes in the book. Most pages are inundated with them. If this is fiction, there really should be no need for them. Why not just include the footnote material as part of the main text? In this regard, Pixley went too far in his work of "espionage". Footnotes, just as the definitions of Codes in Appendix A, interrupt your reading.
I consider this book an opportunity lost. Great research went into The Avengers Files to incorporate all this great background information into one easy-to-follow-volume. Too bad this volume is not so easy to follow. This malady could have been easily fixed by putting all this info in an episode-by-episode format.