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Book 2 of 4: Resurrecting an ancient powerful foe...
on 2 June 2007
This novel, "Day Watch", follows "Night Watch" and anticipates "Twilight Watch" and "Eternal Watch" (the last title is available already in Russian and German).
Described as Russia's (belated) answer to Tolkien, Lukianenko has created a lively and absorbing narrative evolving around the forces of the Light and the Dark, who, embraced in an eternal battle for the minds and spirits of the human population, share the responsibility to monitor each other's activities to uphold an equilibrium agreed upon a thousand years ago in the "Great Contract". Thus both forces have set up units tasked to control each other, making sure the respective other side observes granted quota of influencing humans: at night, the wizards and shapeshifters of the Light (the Night Watch) will police the streets, while at day it is the vampires and witches of the Dark (the Day Watch) who monitor the Light's activities.
Lukianenko does not simply take a manichaean stand point in his stories where the Light is the absolute Good and the Dark is the absolute Evil, but describes both sides as natural aspects of live and thus willing to go to considerable lenghts to assure their own status (aspiring dominance over the other). A feature Lukianenko uses to infuse the narrative with mysticism is the concept of the 'Twilight' and its several layers through which the forces of Light and Dark can move - unobserved by humans in the 'real world' - always endangered to be sucked into the void of un-being (the third instalment in this series of four will deal more thoroughly with the 'Twilight'). I'm under the impression that this 'Twilight' is the source of power for the two forces, similar to Terry Pratchett's 'light fantastic'.
"Day Watch" continues where "Night Watch" left off, with the same main characters (including initially anti-hero Anton), but with a new plot: an ancient sect of the Dark has resurfaced and attempts to resurrect an ancient and most powerful Dark wizard to finally gain the upper hand. The novel, split into three 'stories' each with a certain aspect-focus of the overall story arch, follows the Light's attempts to apprehend this sect and foil their plot. In the last few chapters, a third force is introduced: a class of judges consisting of members from both sides who hold trial over the events in this book.
Each of the novels feature a pre-prolog stating this story's significance to the cause of the forces of Light and Dark, indicating both sides' actions. The narrative in "Day Watch" is described as being 'harmful' to the cause of both.