#Bookaday – 16 June 2014

When I first heard about a book featuring a group of good wizards battling a group of evil wizards and vampires, set in the modern day world where magic and technology are used equally, well… those who know my tastes know I wouldn’t pass up the chance to read that!

Sergei Lukyanenko’s The Night Watch is an urban fantasy series set in Moscow about two different groups, The Night Watch (light magic users who police those who use dark magic) and The Day Watch (dark magic users who police those who use light magic) to ensure that neither can gain supremacy and that a balance is maintained. It’s in parts a police procedural, a comedy and a fantasy.

Four more books follow (The Day Watch, The Twilight Watch, The Twilight Watch, The Last Watch and The New Watch follows the history and intriguings of these groups in Moscow and beyond, exploring the treaty that formed them and the dangers to both. Moscow is just one of many cities the Watches operate in and the books travel across the globe (and even into orbit) as both strive for the upper hand.

The main protagonist is Anton Gorodetsky, a fairly low-level light magic user and field agent for the Night Watch whose reasoning and creative thinking far exceed his magical abilities, and which cause him to get tangled up in magical threats of global significance and make him a powerful enemy in Zabulon, the head of Moscow’s Day Watch and a powerful Dark Mage. Over the course of the series, through chance and accident Anton’s powers are increased until he is one of the most powerful Light Mage’s on the planet.

The books are well known in Russia, and Lukyanenko is well-known in his native Russia, but not so well known in the English-speaking world – or at least not as well-known as they ought to be.

The books spawned two movies which are visually impressive, but took too many liberties with the plot for me to really like them.

The book is ripe for adaptation as a TV series. Each book is split into three complete but related stories, so each book could be it’s own series. Each story could be adapted into mythology episodes, and due to the nature of each Watch as a magical police force there are a wealth of stand-alone story episodes to fill the series to 12-13 hour-long episodes.

So if HBO is listening, here’s your next Game of Thrones. And if you want to avoid spoilers, go read the books now.

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