Author: Sergei Lukyanenko
Publisher: William Heinemann
440 pages • £11.99
Well translated from Russian by Andrew Bromfield, Twilight Watch follows the “heroic characters facing moral dilemmas” tradition created by Russia’s Strugatsky brothers in the ’60s.
Like the previous volumes in the Night Watch trilogy, Twilight consists of three stories, this time all featuring Anton Gorodetsky. He’s a Light Other (hurrah!) and a member of the Night Watch, tasked to keep an eye on the Dark Others (boo hiss!) to ensure they don’t break the Treaty. The Dark Others run the Day Watch, monitoring the Light Others to ensure the Treaty is upheld – because without the Treaty, war would wipe out all Others from the planet.
In Story One, Anton investigates a report that someone is trying to convert a human into an Other. The Watches on both sides see danger in this, but will they uncover the perpetrator in time? This is a compelling, absorbing tale that delivers a strong, evocative flavour of post-Soviet life, a neat twist in the tale, and a tantalising background story arc.
Story Two follows Anton on holiday, where he discovers a powerful witch battling werewolves in a nearby forest. Underlying events are gaining more momentum now. There’s a glimpse of the history and mythology behind the Watches, and Anton’s character deepens and grows.
On the surface, Story Three is a simple chase yarn as both Watches pursue a thief who has stolen a powerful artefact. But nothing is what it seems…
This is a top-notch series: stylish, fresh and fiercely intelligent. Let’s hope the rumours of book four, The Last Watch, really are true.