The Night Watch v Amber Ale

  • Beer: Amber Ale
  • Brewery: Harper’s Brewing Co.
  • Style: Amber Ale
  • Strength: 5.0%

Pretty standard fare. Nice but not exceptional. Quite similar in taste to Old Speckled Hen but maybe a little lighter mouthfeel. Not one I’d buy myself necessarily but if a non-beer drinker had stocked up on it for a party then I’d happily drink a few.

  • Book: The Night Watch
  • Author: Sergei Lukyanenko
  • Publisher: Arrow
  • Published: 1998 (in Russian) 2009 (English translation)

I can’t say I have read a lot of translated works, at least not in Fantasy. These & the Witcher books may be the only ones so far. This isn’t because of any particular bias against translation, just a by-product of how I pick up books I think. I’m not sure what the gold standard for judging the quality of a translation is, but I want to say that if I wasn’t told this book hadn’t been written originally in English, I wouldn’t have guessed. It helps that the plot and core elements of the story are also top-notch.

A truce exists between the Light and Dark. This truce is upheld by the watches. The Nightwatch serve the light & keep a check on the excesses of the Dark & the Daywatch do the opposite. Our protagonist, Anton Gorodetsky, is a low level Other in the Night Watch – Not much more than a desk jockey – until he stumbles into events that threaten to destroy the truce.

It is an urban fantasy set in Moscow, which I found cool as I don’t know a lot about the city & it was interesting to get some idea of the city through Anton’s first-person narrative. The existence of vampires, shapechangers, warlocks & witches sort of adds a different perspective to that of a true local, but who’s that bothered?

The magic system is based on a sub-realm called the Twilight or the Gloom (varies by translation). Others enter the Gloom and through it can perform their magic. There are different levels to the Gloom, with each deeper level granting access to more advanced powers. It is upon entering the Gloom for the first time that Others turn to the Light or Dark. For the most part, an Other’s allegiance and the level to which they can penetrate the Gloom are fixed, though at the risk of potential spoilers this is not an immutable fact

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