Book Review: The Wolf and the Watchman by Niklas Natt och Dag

The Wolf and the Watchman by Niklas Natt och Dag is an award winning historical-fiction book taking place in Stockholm, Sweden during the 18th Century. Mr Natt och Dag is a member of the oldest surviving noble family in Sweden, this is his first book.

  • 384 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1501196774


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My rating for The Wolf and the Watchman – 5
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The first thing that struck me while reading The Wolf and the Watchman by Niklas Natt och Dag is how atmospheric and dark the story is, brutal as well. I would imagine it defines the times, after all the French Revolution is in its height, every monarch in Europe is shaking on their throne and is using every weapon in their arsenal to keep down the masses.

The horror in this book has nothing to do with imaginary monsters, but with the horror of what humans are able to do to one another. It is fascinating, however, that despite the difficulties of living in the 18th Century, the day-to-day issues that occupy people are the same as they are today. Who is in love? How do I get better at what I do? Why don’t I get appreciated? Etc.
I do believe, though, that society has changed for the better.

I’m not a believer in good and evil as absolutes, good people can do horrible things which, for me, is truly horrifying. For example: How can one rationally explain genocide?
This book seems to thrive on the moral ambiguity of its characters, which makes it a fascinating and exciting read.

This book is dark, if I had to categorize it I would under historical-fiction / noir genre. They cynicism is spilling off the page, the characters are in a constant state of fatalism, but best of all there is moral ambiguity on every page.

Mickel Cardell, an ex-soldier an night watchman of Stockholm find a body floating in a lake. The body is mutilated but Cardell feels he needs to give the body a proper burial. Cardell meets Cecil Winge, a lawyer and consulting detective dying of consumption. For Winge, solving the mystery of a body with no arms, legs, eyes, tongue, and teeth is the last puzzle he’ll ever solve.

Kristofer Blix, a handsome man lives his father’s farm for the capital. Blix wants to become a doctor, but chasing good times becomes his misfortune soon enough.

Anna Stina, a young woman is forced to slave away in a workhouse after she got the parish priest upset. Ann Stina knows she won’t survive the workhouse and its sadistic employees so she plans an escape.

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Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I got this book for free.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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