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Night Watch Paperback – July 26, 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 216 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Set in contemporary Moscow, Lukyanenko's fantastic American debut—the first in a series about an epic struggle between good and evil—charts the adventures of a race of supernaturally gifted Others, who serve either the Light or Dark Side. The Others slip in and out of an eerie parallel world where they coexist in an uneasy peace that a terrible revolution may soon disrupt. Philosophical Anton Gorodetsky, an earnest Night Watch agent, falls in love with 24-year-old Svetlana Nazarova, a troubled young doctor under a Dark Magician's curse. While Anton endeavors to undo the curse, he discovers Egor, a gifted boy unwilling to choose between his Light or Dark abilities. As humankind's fate hangs in the balance, Anton is forced to re-examine his allegiance, and Svetlana is drawn deeper into the exotic, vivid universe of dueling magicians, shape-shifters, witches and vampires. Potent as a shot of vodka, this compelling urban fantasy was adapted to a Russian blockbuster movie in 2004. (July)
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Review

Night Watch is an epic of extraordinary power.”
—Quentin Tarantino

Star Wars meets the Vampires in Moscow . . . it bursts with a sick, carnivorous glee in its fiendish games.”
The New York Times

The Night Watch is inventive, sardonic and imbued with a surprising sense that, for this author and his audience, much of this stuff is new-minted.” —The Independent (UK)

A “sceptical, intelligent thriller.”–Telegraph (UK)

“Fascinating. . . . [The] excellent translation by Andrew Bromfield keeps the pace moving. . . . One of the most original and readable supernatural fictions in some time.”–Scotland on Sunday

“Brace yourself for Harry Potter in Gorky Park. . . . The novel contains some captivating scenes and all kinds of marvelous, inventive detail: The vampires’ seduction of a teenage boy is bone-chilling; every time Lukyanenko described the Other-worldly Twilight, I felt lured into it; and the fantastical powers exercised by Anton and his colleagues range from delightful to awesome.”– Ron Charles, The Washington Post Book World

“Lukyanenko is great at rolling out new concepts for the reader to savour.”–The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)

“[As] potent as a shot of vodka. . . . [A] compelling urban fantasy.”–Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“This modern day mythical fantasy is Anne Rice on an epic scale, a hugely imagined world. A chiller thriller from cold of Russia, this one's been selling like hot cakes around the world.” —Sunday Sport
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 455 pages
  • Publisher: Miramax Books / Hyperion; 1st edition (July 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401359795
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401359799
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (216 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #587,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. B Kraft on July 15, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been a reader of Sci-Fi and Fantasy for almost 50 years, and I can say that this is the best "first novel in a series" I have read in about ten years. In fact, I literally could not put it down, starting it at 10PM on Friday night and finishing it at 3AM on Saturday morning. Then I couldn't sleep thinking about the ideas in the book.
If you have read translated Russian fiction, you will find a familiar feel to the translation that accentuates the best of the Russian Masters. At the same time, as ideas go, the premise is an ingenious variation on a recurrent and Manichean theme -- Light versus Dark. The story is told through the perspective of Anton, a Night Watcher, who works for an Agency that (1) keeps its eyes on the forces of the Dark; (2) enforces an uneasy and temporary truce with them; (3) pursues its own inscrutable agenda in preparation for the inevitible struggle to tip the balance of humanity one way or the other. I have not enjoyed a novel on this theme one-tenth as much since the late Roger Zelazny's "Jack of Shadows", which I thought superb. Yet, Night Watch is even better and more nuanced.

While long (about 500 pp), it is deliciously detailed but fast paced. The characters are wonderfully drawn as we discover new things about them through Anton's eyes, and he becomes increasingly ambivalent about the "party line." I agree that only a contemporary Russian could tell this story as effectively, given the recent history of that country. You will be constantly surprised and entertained as you deduce the real rules that govern this Earth and see the characters develop.

This was a great read, and I can't wait for the next installment. Because the novel is told in the first person point-of-view, I have some skepticism of how well this can be turned into a movie, and still convey the complex ideas and character development -- especially that going on in Anton.
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Format: Paperback
Night Watch is a well written and stimulating new entry into the genre of contemporary gothic horror. The novel follows the progress of agent Anton of the Night Watch in Moscow as he is gaining his first field experience after working a desk job for the Watch for several years. Anton is referred to as a Light Magician with some potential but little experience, and the Night Watch he works for is the mystical law-enforcement agency that oversees the actions of the dark magical beings; werewolves, vampires, and dark witches and sorcerers. As part of the Night Watch Anton interacts with a cast of interesting mystical characters, both light and dark with their own motivations and emotions as he tries to unravel the series of mysteries presented to him. These characters (both light and dark) grow on you over the course of the novel, where they may seem to be paper thin creations when you first encounter them they each deepen in the course of the novel and in the sequels.

The novel is broken into three novellas that happen sequentially. Each novella stands mostly on it's own, but does build on the events of the previous. In the first section, Anton must determine the cause of a curse hanging over a single woman that threatens all of Moscow and possibly the world. In the second Anton is framed for the murders of dark ones and must find the real culprit and clear his name. In the last, all the pieces scattered around the board are gathered together into an end-game, Anton is torn between duty and his own motives as he slowly sees the potential outcomes of his actions in the previous two stories.
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I have been waiting on this book for months. I am a great fan of the film and wanted to read the book it was based on. I should note that the films Night Watch and Day Watch actually come from the first two sections of this book. A world of good and evil that exists around us. A world where a single moment could tip one towards good or towards evil as we are all just an action away from being lost to the other side. A world of spells, vampires, and the gloom but more importantly a world where the line between good and evil is not always clear.
I found the translations to be clear and easy to read but with an actual flair to them. This is not some boring by numbers translation.
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By DF on December 23, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I saw the movie, then ordered the book. The book is far better. It's new-feeling even though the dystopic, gritty, urban fantasy landscape is getting pretty common in the US market. It's fresh to our eyes because the setting is in Russia, and the characters have different outlooks than we are used to seeing. There's a "life sucks, so deal with what you're dealt and don't whine" sort of underlying attitude that I found interesting. The POV character is seemingly depressed, but he muddles along, and is a good guy. The evil is evil but you can sort of see their side of things, too. In short, it is a world made up of gray, and you are ultimately left to decide for yourself what is right and wrong with this world. Also, a killer mystery/thriller plot.
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I saw the movie when the limited screening was released in Los Angeles. I loved the movie so much that I had to read the book, I only had to wait 6 months till that happened. I read the book in 3 nights and I was very surprised, I didnt realize that the movie was made following only 1/3 of the book, just the first story. I found the other two parts just as good and it really made me enjoy the movie even more. All in all a very good book and a very fast read, I'll definately read it again and I can't wait until Day Watch comes out in January!
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