The Twilight Watch
(Translated by Andrew Bromfield)
Published 2007 440 pages
The Summary (from the book jacket)
Walking the street of Moscow, indistinguishable from the rest of its population, are the Others. Possessors of supernatural powers and capable of entering the Twilight, a shadowy world that exists in parallel to our own, each owes allegiance either to the Dark or the Light.
Night Watch Agent Anton Gorodetsky’s holiday is abruptly shortened when an urgent call from Gesar – his boss and Night Watch head – forces him to return to work.
Gesar has received an anonymous note stating that an Other has revealed the full truth about their kind to a human, and intends to convert the human into an Other. The note has also been sent to the Day Watch, and to the Inquisition – but only the very highest level Others know these addresses. So the Inquisition orders the cooperation of Night and Day Watch in an effort to unmask the culprit…
The Twilight Watch is the final part in Russian author Sergei Lukyanenko’s epic Night Watch trilogy. Since this is part of a trilogy, it is really necessary to have read both the previous Night Watch books beforehand because the author wastes no time explaining the events that have lead up to the stories narrated in The Twilight Watch but assumes that readers already have background knowledge of the Night Watch world.
The Twilight Watch is written in the same three story format that readers of this trilogy will have come to expect. In the previous novels the three stories that each book contains have initially seemed to be unconnected but with The Twilight Watch there is a much stronger thread of connectivity between the stories, probably because they are all narrated by the same character and the events in them occur over a short timeframe.
Coming full circle Anton Gorodetsky, the character who first introduced readers to the world of the Others in The Night Watch, returns to his role as story narrator for The Twilight Watch. Anton has come a long way since he first stepped out of the Night Watch IT department and tried his hand at field operations and while he is no longer the naïve young Other that he was, he is not quite a hardened cynic yet either.
Anton’s introspective (and sometimes melancholy) narrative tells readers that he finally understands more about the roles of the Night Watch, Day Watch and the Inquisition and the place of Others in the human world than he perhaps he ever wanted to find out. Idealism gives way to practicality in the face of a hard reality.
The first story involves Anton investigating the strange case of a human who has been promised by an unknown Other that he can be converted into a supernatural being – changing humans into magicians (rather than vampires or werewolves) is an impossible task, or is it? The second story involves Anton tackling a powerful witch who has been hiding out in the Russian countryside while the third story is about the consequences of the discovery of an ancient book that is supposed to have the power to turn humans into Others.
Vampires have a larger part to play in The Twilight Watch than in previous books but these are not the vampires of Western urban fantasy. These are vampires with a Russian twist. Viewed as “non-life”, always condemned to be Dark and barely tolerated within the Other society. They are outcasts in a society that is made up of outcasts.
Undoubtedly the best book in the Night Watch trilogy, The Twilight Watch has perfect pacing, combined with dark intrigue and exciting fantasy action – a mixture that is guaranteed to keep the pages of this book turning late into the night.
A beautifully written, bittersweet fantasy treat – highly recommended.
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