Despite what the title, ‘The New Watch’, might imply the hero of the novel does not go out to purchase a timepiece. The power of titles is such that it can conjure up any number of images and ‘The New Watch’ is the timely return of the Night Watch in this fifth novel chronicling their truce with the Day Watch. You will probably have need to have read the previous four novels to get into this world. The novel bursts with ideas and this sometimes slows down what is happening with the need to explain another concept.
Our returning hero is Anton Gorodetsky, who is once again fighting the forces of evil. As one of the Others, he is the guardian of the human race. In relative terms, he’s still a newbie but is already married to a powerful witch with a daughter who could be the most powerful of all.
Our hero is at the airport seeing off a particularly annoying international guest when he overhears young boy protesting about getting on a plane which he is convinced is about to crash. This is how the young prophet Kesha is brought into the narrative. Only ten, Kesha has an important part to play in this book. His status as a prophet attracts the attention of the ‘Tiger’ who comes from the Twilight to track down prophets. It is believed that Kesha has a very important prophecy that should not be given to the human race and the Tiger is there to stop him repeating it. Kesha is befriended by Anton’s daughter, Nadya, already wise beyond her own years and we are brought more into contact with Anton’s family life and begin the find out what the Twilight truly is.
This is an episodic book and introduces a number of interesting concepts whilst building its vision of the Others and the Twilight. This makes for some moments of exposition and hefty explanation of this vision. One of the problems I have with the book is that there is so much explanation of the concepts of Twilight and the Others, it does occasionally feel like I’m wading through the Twilight itself to get to the truth.
In the end, there is a good story going on and it is dramatic and engaging but I did not care a great deal about the fate of the characters. At the very least, I want to be made to care and believe me when I say it doesn’t take much to make me cry. I enjoyed the ending but I did not feel emotionally engaged with it.
(pub: William Heinemann/Random House. 404 page hardback. Price: £16.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-434-02231-1)
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