Sunday, May 26, 2013

Honourable Mention: The New Watch

Author: Sergei Lukyanenko

Translator: Andrew Bromfield

First Published: 2013

The Blurb: Walking the streets of our cities are the Others. These men and women are guardians of the Twilight, a shadowy parallel world that exists alongside our own. Each has sworn allegiance to one side, fighting for the Light, or the Darkness. But now, beyond the continuing struggle comes a peril that threatens their very world .

At Moscow airport, Higher Light Magician Anton Gorodetsky overhears a child screaming that a plane is about to crash. He discovers that the child is a prophet: an Other with the gift of foretelling the future. When the catastrophe is averted, Gorodetsky senses a disruption in the natural order, one that is confirmed by the arrival of a dark and terrifying predator.

From the Night Watch headquarters Gorodetsky travels to London, to Taiwan and across Russia in search of clues, unearthing as he goes a series of increasingly cataclysmic prophecies. He soon realises that what is at stake is the existence of the Twilight itself - and that only he will be able to save it.

The Mention: This is volume five of the Night Watch series, a trilogy that morphed into a series and why not? After all they have all been, consistently, a worthwhile read. In the world view of the series there are vampires, exclusively dark Others and they are only mentioned in passing in this book hence, like the volume the Day Watch, this only gets an honourable mention (the other three books were all reviewed as there was major vampire activity in each volume). In some ways all the Others are energy vampires but given the classifications of witch, sorceress, magician, werewolf, seer etc. I am happy to keep the distinction.

The substantive story (written across three books within the volume) tells the story of a prophet. Prophets are rare Others and, when they are due to tell their first (and major) prophecy a creature appears from the Twilight intent on killing the prophet it seems. The Tiger (as it is known) appears to each Other in a different way and is supremely powerful. If the prophet speaks their prophecy in a way that no-one can hear (one spoke it to a tree, for instance) or the prophecy is heard by a normal human the Tiger leaves and the prophet lives. If the prophecy is heard by a human being it will come true. But, as always with Lukyanenko’s series, nothing is as easy as that.

We meet a couple of vampires during this volume but they are small side stories, detail within Gorodetsky’s world. One of them is hunting (but has a license to do so) and the other is a Day Watch observer at a Night Watch operation. We also discover how vampires were created – a sadomasochistic order of Others who liked to bite, but one died (from the poison/drug they used to incapacitate the bitten) whilst in the Twilight. As it has its own rules the Twilight turned the person into what we would recognise as a vampire, the fangs able to naturally produce the poison (too much will kill a victim). We discover that vampires are able to create a Twilight Matrix, or map, of their bodies and use this to change their age and regenerate bodily damage. However, as they are dead they are unable to draw from or contribute to the Twilight and thus must ingest live cells to manipulate and use the Twilight – in other words blood. However only a small amount is needed – 300 millilitres a month, anything more is greed and desire on the part of the vampire.

So, a little bit about vampires, but an excellent volume generally and worth adding to your collection. My thanks to Clark for letting me know that the volume had been released.

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