The Last Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko (2006 – en/2008) (read in 2018)

Published by marco on

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an interest in this book, then I’m happy for you.

As a result of Kostya’s activity with the Fuaran in the previous book, Anton is now a Higher magician. Gesar sends him to Scotland to investigate a mysterious vampire killing. It turns out that there is a trio of Others—a Light One, a Dark One and an Inquisitor—trying to get at Merlin’s greatest creation. Merlin is/was a so-called zero-point magician—a magician who was zero natural magic and can absorb more Power from the environment than any Others and is therefore more powerful. The only other known such magician is Nadya, Anton and Svetlana’s daughter. In this volume, we learn that Merlin hid the Crown of All Things on the seventh level of the Twilight.

The second volume expands on this, sending Anton to Uzbekistan to find Rustam, an ancient wizard who used to ride with Gesar, back in the day. He was with Gesar when they called down the most terrible spell every used against Dark Ones—the White Mist. Instead of killing them, it froze them into statues without any sensory input, driving them mad over the ensuring millennia. Rustam is still punishing himself for having taken part in this travesty, whereas Gesar had made his peace with it. We discover that Edgar is the Inquisitor that is part of the trio trying to get Merlin’s secret.

In the third volume, more is revealed about Merlin’s spell as well as how the Twilight works and how many levels it actually has. Where is the Crown of All Things hidden? Anton eventually finds out and uses his Higher power to wield it in an unexpected way, freeing the age-old Dark Ones frozen in time to their final reward—as well as Merlin and thousands of Others from the Purgatory/Paradise of the sixth level of the Twilight.

Citations

“Cars didn’t often come this way, and they were mostly taxis. Most of the people were walking. The streams moving in the direction of the castle and back intermingled, swirling together in quiet whirlpools around the performers doing their thing in the middle of the street; thin rivulets trickled into the pubs, filtered in through the doorways of the shops. The boundless river of humanity.”
Page 54
““If you haven’t seen the body, don’t be in a hurry to bury it.””
Page 117
“You shall receive all and nothing, when you are able to take it. Proceed, if you are as strong as I; Or go back, if you are as wise as I. Beginning and end, head and tail, all is fused in one In the Crown of All Things. Thus are life and death inseparable.”
Page 147
““Even dollars or euros,” the driver replied nonchalantly. “Give me as much as you think you can spare. I can see you’re a good man, so why haggle? A good man is ashamed not to pay a poor taxi driver enough. He pays more than my conscience will allow me to ask.””
Page 190
“But we have one spell in reserve, a spell that has never yet been uttered beneath this sun. It was brought back by Rustam from an island far away in the north, where it was invented by a cunning Light One by the name of Merlin. But even he, who stood so dangerously close to the Dark, had been horrified by it…. The White Mist. Rustam pronounces strange, coarse-sounding words. I repeat them after him, without even trying to understand their meaning. The words are important, but they are only the hand of the potter, giving shape to the clay, shaping the clay mold into which the molten metal will be poured, creating bronze manacles that allow no freedom to the hands. There are words at the beginning and end, words that provide the form and the direction, but it is Power that decides everything. Power and Will. I can no longer hold back the force that is pulsing within me, ready to tear my pitiful human body apart with every beat of my heart. I open my mouth at the same time as Rustam. I shout, but I shout without words. The time for words is over.”
Page 240
“But we have one spell in reserve, a spell that has never yet been uttered beneath this sun. It was brought back by Rustam from an island far away in the north, where it was invented by a cunning Light One by the name of Merlin. But even he, who stood so dangerously close to the Dark, had been horrified by it…. The White Mist. Rustam pronounces strange, coarse-sounding words. I repeat them after him, without even trying to understand their meaning. The words are important, but they are only the hand of the potter, giving shape to the clay, shaping the clay mold into which the molten metal will be poured, creating bronze manacles that allow no freedom to the hands. There are words at the beginning and end, words that provide the form and the direction, but it is Power that decides everything. Power and Will. I can no longer hold back the force that is pulsing within me, ready to tear my pitiful human body apart with every beat of my heart. I open my mouth at the same time as Rustam. I shout, but I shout without words. The time for words is over.”
Page 240