Night Watch

Night Watch

4.3 148
by Sergei Lukyanenko
     
 

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They are the "Others," an ancient race of supernatural beings—magicians, shape-shifters, vampires, and healers—who live among us. Human born, they must choose a side to swear allegiance to—the Dark or the Light—when they come of age.

For a millennium, these opponents have coexisted in an uneasy peace, enforced by defenders like the

Overview

They are the "Others," an ancient race of supernatural beings—magicians, shape-shifters, vampires, and healers—who live among us. Human born, they must choose a side to swear allegiance to—the Dark or the Light—when they come of age.

For a millennium, these opponents have coexisted in an uneasy peace, enforced by defenders like the Night Watch, forces of the Light who guard against the Dark. But prophecy decrees that one supreme "Other" will arise to spark a cataclysmic war.

Anton Gorodetsky, an untested mid-level Light magician with the Night Watch, discovers a cursed young woman—an Other of tremendous potential unallied with either side—who can shift the balance of power. With the battle lines between Light and Dark drawn, the magician must move carefully, for one wrong step could mean the beginning of annihilation.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
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

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062310095
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
12/31/2013
Series:
Sergei Lukyanenko's Night Watch Series, #1
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
146,439
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

PROLOGUE

The escalator strained slowly upward. In an old station like this, what else would you expect? But the wind swirled like a wild thing inside the concrete pipe — ruffling his hair, tugging the hood off his head, sneaking in under his scarf, pressing him downward.

The wind didn’t want Egor to go up.

The wind was pushing him back.

Strange, but no one else seemed to notice the wind. There was hardly anyone around — it was midnight and the station was already emptying. Only a few people riding down towards Egor and hardly anyone on the up escalator either. One ahead of him, two or three behind.That was it.

Except, of course, for the wind.

Egor stuck his hands in his pockets and turned to look back. For a couple of minutes already, from the moment he stepped off the train, he’d had the feeling he was being watched. It wasn’t a frightening kind of feeling at all, it felt interesting, a sudden, pricking sensation.

Down at the bottom of the escalator there was a tall man in uniform. Not police, a soldier.Then there was a woman with a sleepy little child, clutching her hand. And another man, young, wearing a bright orange jacket, with a walkman. He looked just about dead on his feet too.

Nothing suspicious. Not even for a boy going home so late. Egor looked up again, at the policeman lounging against the gleaming handrails, dejectedly trying to spot some easy prey in this sparse stream of passengers.

Nothing to be afraid of.

The wind gave Egor one last nudge and suddenly dropped away, apparently resigned that the struggle was pointless.The boy glanced back once more and started running up the moving steps as they flattened out under his feet. He had to hurry. He didn’t know why, but he had to. Again he felt a pricking sensation of senseless anxiety and a cold shudder ran through his body.

It was the wind again.

Egor slipped out through the half-opened doors and the piercing cold assailed him with renewed fury. His hair, still wet from the pool — the dryer was broken again — was instantly stiff with ice. Egor pulled the hood back over his head, darted past the vendor kiosks without stopping and hurried into the underpass. Up on the surface there were far more people, but he still had the feeling of alarm. He glanced back now, without slowing down, but there was no one following him. The woman with the small child was walking towards a trolleybus stop, the man with the walkman had paused in front of a kiosk, inspecting the bottles, the soldier still hadn’t come out of the subway.

The boy speeded up through the underpass.There was music coming from somewhere, so quiet he could hardly hear it, but it was incredibly soothing. The delicate trill of a flute, the strum of guitar strings, the chime of a xylophone.The music was calling to him, telling him to hurry. Egor dodged past a group of people hurrying towards him, overtook a happy little drunk who was barely staggering forward. All thought seemed to have been blown out of his head, he was almost running now.

The music was calling.

And now there were words weaving themselves into it . . . not clearly, still too quiet to make out, but just as alluring. Egor bounded out of the underpass and stopped for a moment, gulping in the cold air. A trolleybus was just rolling up to the stop. He could ride just one stop, almost all the way to his house . . .

The boy set off towards the trolleybus, walking slowly, as if his legs had suddenly become numb. It halted for a few seconds with its doors open, then the hinged flaps swung together and it moved away. Egor watched it go with dull, glazed eyes, the music getting louder all the time, filling the whole world, from the semicircular lobby of the high-rise hotel to the ‘box on stilts’ — his own building — that he could see not far away. The music was prompting him to walk.Along the wide, brightly lit avenue, where there were still plenty of people around at this hour. His home was only five minutes away.

But the music was even closer . . .

When Egor had walked about a hundred metres, the hotel was suddenly no longer sheltering him from the wind.The icy blast stung his face, almost drowning out the music that was calling to him. The boy began to stagger, nearly coming to a stop.The enchantment was shattered, but the feeling of being watched was back, this time with a strong undercurrent of fear.He glanced back. Another trolleybus was approaching the stop. And he caught a glimpse of an orange jacket in the light of the streetlamps.The man who had ridden up the escalator with him was walking behind him. Still with his eyes half closed in the same way, but with surprising speed and purpose, as if he could see Egor.

The boy started to run.

The music began again louder than ever, breaking through the curtain of the wind. He could now make out words . . . he could, but he didn’t want to.

The right thing to do now was to walk along the avenue, past the shops, which were closed but still brightly lit, alongside the late-nighters on the pavement, in full view of the cars rushing by.

But Egor turned into an alleyway. To where the music was calling him.

It was almost completely dark, the only things moving were two shadows by the wall. Egor seemed to see them through a dense haze, as if they were lit up by some ghastly bluish glow.A young man and a girl, very lightly dressed, as if the night air wasn’t twenty degrees below zero.

The music rose to a final, crashing, triumphant crescendo.And stopped.The boy felt his body go limp. He was covered in sweat, his legs giving way, he wanted to sit down on the slippery, ice-covered pavement.

‘A pretty one . . .’ said the girl in a quiet voice. She had a thin face, with sunken cheeks and a pale complexion. Only her eyes seemed to be alive: black, huge, magnetic.

‘You can leave . . . just a little bit . . .’ the young man said with a smile. They were as alike as brother and sister, not in their features, but in some indefinable quality that they shared, as if their faces were covered by a dusty, semi-transparent gauze.

‘For you?’ For a moment the girl turned her gaze away from Egor.The numbness eased slightly and terror flooded his mind.The boy opened his mouth, but his eyes met the young man’s and he couldn’t shout.As if he was suddenly wrapped in some cold, elastic membrane.

‘Yes.You hold him!’

The girl gave a mocking snort. Turning her gaze back to Egor, she stretched out her lips as if she were blowing a kiss. In a quiet voice she pronounced those familiar words, the ones that had been woven into the alluring music.

‘Come, come . . . come to me . . .’

Egor stood without moving. He had no strength to run, despite the horror, despite the scream that had burst from his lungs and stuck in his throat. But at least he could simply stand.

A woman walked past the end of the alley with two huge German shepherds on leads. Walking in slow motion, as if she were moving underwater, as if she were part of his terrible dream. Out of the corner of his eye, Egor saw the dogs turn sharply towards the alley, tugging at their leads, and for a moment an insane hope flared up in his soul. The German shepherds started growling uncertainly, with loathing and fear. The woman stopped for a moment and glanced suspiciously into the alley. Egor caught her glance — indifferent, as if she was looking into empty space.

‘Come on!’ She tugged at the leads and the dogs gladly moved back to her side.

The young man laughed quietly.

The woman quickened her step and disappeared from view.

‘He’s not coming to me!’ the girl exclaimed petulantly.‘Look, will you, look, he’s not coming!’

‘Try harder,’ the young man said curtly. He frowned. ‘Learn.’

‘Come! Come to me!’ the girl said, emphasising each word. Egor was less than two metres away, but it seemed to be important to her that he came over to her.

Egor realised that he had no more strength to resist. The girl’s gaze held him, as if binding him with an invisible elastic tether, the words summoned him and he could not help himself. He knew that he should not move, but still he took a step forward.The girl smiled, and he saw her white, even teeth. She said:

‘Take off your scarf.’

He couldn’t hold out any longer. His hands trembled as he threw back his hood and pulled off his scarf without unwinding it. He stepped towards those alluring black eyes.

Something was happening to the girl’s face. Her lower jaw was stretching down, her teeth were moving, curving. He saw the flash of long fangs that were not human.

Egor took another step.

Meet the Author

Sergei Lukyanenko was born in Kazakhstan and educated as a psychiatrist. He began publishing science fiction in the 1980s and has published more than twenty-five books. He lives in Moscow with his wife and son.

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The Night Watch 4.3 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 148 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was introduced to the world of the Night watch with Timur Bekmambetov's (Wanted) film by the same name. I was so excited about the films that after I learned that they were based on a series of books, I hunted them down and purchased them. Now a word of warning to those who've seen the film and decided to buy the books, they have very little in common. That is not a bad thing as the books are very well translated from it's original Russian language and reads very good. Each of the books are broken up into separate stories following the characters as they deal with situations spanning from their love lives down to the end of the world situations (the usual for these people). The magic of the books deals with the thems that the author touches upon. The thems that are delt with are such theams as choices we make and the consequences that follow and also the differences between good and evil and how they are much closer than one might think. The pacing is very smooth and is not hindered by the fact that the book is devided into stories (as I did fear) each of the stories were well fleshed out and the characters were given genuine delemmas to deal with and overcome. At the very most, please read this book, this can be one of the best summer reads you can treat yourself to.
ChelseySanes More than 1 year ago
When I first read Night Watch, i was captivated. I soon read Day Watch and then Twilight/(or Dusk) Watch (they go in order) Lukanenko has got the whole perspective thing down. He explains things like others, and the gloom so well. He does it in such a way that when you try to explain what the book is really about to your friends, it doesn't do it justice. It sounds cliche but in reality its far far from it. I have never kept with a series like this ever. Im growing antsy for Last Watch
and every time I get to the end of one of the books, i put it down, because i don't want to finish it because then its over. Im recommending this series to anyone who appreciates fantasy and writers that don't sell out and make cliche vampire love stories (im not knocking Stephanie Mayers and Twighlight but the hype is just annoying and frankly there is really nothing special or extra ordinary about those Twilight books)
The Watch Series isn't about love, I cant tell you what the books are about, because everyone takes something different out of them. I will tell you, what I took out of it- I think its about finding the light within yourself amidst the evil that surrounds us in this world. These books truly were fascinating, enlightening, and amazing.
avid-readerJG More than 1 year ago
I almost wonder if the current interest in vampires (Twilight; True Blood) didn't start with Lukyanenko. Great, modern yet ancient, creatures in the enduring struggle between good and evil. I will read all the books in this sequence.
Blue13 More than 1 year ago
I was told this book was the Russian version of Harry Potter. They lied. This book is very well written and was an interesting read. I did enjoy the book. Be warned it is a little dark and touches on some of the topics of human nature we would prefer not to ponder. The characters develope in stages. While the Boss is a lot like Dulbdore, in that he lies by omission to the lead character, none of the other characters are any where close to those of the other book. Overall I recommend this book if you are into a good fantasy/drama/action/adventure novel with a dark twist.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book! This is unlike any book I've ever read. A bit confusing at times, though understandable considering its a translation. A wonderful read for a boring rainy day. I highly recommend it to anyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is unlike anything else i know. it makes you realize that there is only grey, and that black and white is a concept instead of a reality....a book for a rainy day if you like the weather to match your mood. thrilling and a must read
MonicaFMF More than 1 year ago
Anton, a member of the Night Watch, has been selected to try out field work by his boss. Anton and his other Night Watch members are Others, non-humans like werewolves and other shifters, magicians, vampires, etc. They patrol areas of Moscow and Russia to try to keep the balance between Light, which they represent, and Dark, which the Day Watch represents. In this episode, we follow along Anton's field work in three sort if inter-related cases. Compelling and intriguing characters, both minor and major, fill the pages of the story and add to plot development. The narrative is complex, laced with humor, has multi-leveled mysteries for all three cases, and is fairly action packed. Without giving away plot line, which I'm afraid of doing, I'll just say this: Overall, an awesome read!
ommie More than 1 year ago
Not bad, but I don't think I will continue with the other books...It did kind of remind me of Adult Harry Potter...and that is why I had to drag myself through the rest of it. When the cover says "a modern horror epic" I just don't see it...I was expecting something darker.
FagyoHero More than 1 year ago
I was one of those who saw the movie and was blown away by it. That being said, the book was amazing. From the moment I got it I couldn't put it down. A few translation issues from the original Russian, but don't let that stop you from peering into the magical world that Lukyanenko sets up. If you're ready for a different look at the Good vs. Evil, or in this case Light vs. Darkness, this is the book for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found not only is it a great read, but it gives insight to how Russians or Eastern Europeans live and feel. It gives insight to how they cope and their world view. Even though the characters are Russian and Eastern European, you can identify with them which is suprising since they are a half a world away. They are engaging, making me want to read other Russian and Eastern European authors so that I can gain a better understanding of their culture. If you happen to purchase or rent the movies; I would suggest the Russian versions with English subtitles, not the English dubbed versions. The other books I recommend are listed in series order.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book is interesting because it is part of the modern trend showing the ying/yang aspects of good and evil. It shows how both sides manipulate their own agents in the effort to gain advantage over the other side. Although this book deals primarily with the 'Light Ones' (as you'd expect, the 'good' side), you come away feeling that at their core they aren't much better than the 'Dark Ones'). At some points, the plot approaches some of the issues dealt with in the darker Harry Potter books - e.g., people who do things that appear 'bad' in the name of doing 'good' (the ends justify the means), the question of whether might makes right, and the people who genuinely believe they are doing 'good' while creating significant pain and harm to other (the road to hell is paved with good intentions). The hero is the magical equivalent of Tom Clancy's 'Jack Ryan' - an analyst who gets tossed into field work and ends up dealing with things that he feels are over his head. He is attacked by the other side, manipulated into questionable situations by his own side, and ultimately has to find his own path to the dividing line between 'light' and 'dark.' The relationship between the two sides seems inspired by the Cold War. Each side watches the other for violations of the Treaty, and operatives for both sides interact on a daily basis and have the ability to make deals with each other that seem expedient and harmless at the time, but that can come back to bite them. Night Watch is a snapshot of what could be a very sophisticated world. It's the pawn's (or maybe knight's) view of a very convoluted, multi-dimensional chessboard, so sometimes the resolutions of situations seem a little deus ex machina, but that's more because of the perspective of the book than a failing of the author. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read the book and its sequels in Russian, and I've been awaiting the translation of this book to share with my friends! The books are MUCH different and better than the movies, and I would recommend this book to everyone!
Anonymous 11 months ago
I was simply blown away by this series. The good guys are bad, the bad guys are good and the hero has no idea what he is. One of the best books I have read in years and one of three books I have reread.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this series by the Russian Author back in 2005 and just ended up getting the ebook as well just recently. The movie is another matte. Yet if you don't mind trying to understand another cultural perspective and enjoy Alternative Fantasy Fiction of the likes of Jim Butcher, E.E. Knight, and Lilith Saintcrow, pick it up. The details of Anton, Oleg, and the mysterious Boss Boris will have you reading for more details. You'll get a look at Moscow from underground metro to driving through the streets, via a citizen whos assitance depends upon the passagers financial liquidity. Enjoy
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love this series.
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johnny_nyc More than 1 year ago
page turner that could only come from an eastern european sensibility.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago