The Wolf and the Watchman

A Novel
Length: 13 hrs and 40 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (181 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In this breathtakingly bold, intricately constructed novel set in 18th-century Stockholm, a dying man searches among the city’s teeming streets, dark corners, and intriguing inhabitants to unmask a ruthless murderer - perfect for fans of Perfume and The Alienist.

Named Best Debut Novel of 2017 by the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers

“Thrilling, unnerving, clever, and beautiful.” (Fredrik Backman, international best-selling author)

It is 1793. Four years after the storming of the Bastille in France and more than a year after the death of King Gustav III of Sweden, paranoia and whispered conspiracies are Stockholm’s daily bread. A promise of violence crackles in the air as ordinary citizens feel increasingly vulnerable to the whims of those in power. 

When Mickel Cardell, a crippled ex-soldier and former night watchman, finds a mutilated body floating in the city’s malodorous lake, he feels compelled to give the unidentifiable man a proper burial. For Cecil Winge, a brilliant lawyer turned consulting detective to the Stockholm police, a body with no arms, legs, or eyes is a formidable puzzle and one last chance to set things right before he loses his battle to consumption. Together, Winge and Cardell scour Stockholm to discover the body’s identity, encountering the sordid underbelly of the city’s elite. 

Meanwhile, Kristofer Blix - the handsome son of a farmer - leaves rural life for the alluring charms of the capital and ambitions of becoming a doctor. His letters to his sister chronicle his wild good times and terrible misfortunes, which lead him down a treacherous path. 

In another corner of the city, a young woman - Anna-Stina - is consigned to the workhouse after she upsets her parish priest. Her unlikely escape plan takes on new urgency when a sadistic guard marks her as his next victim. 

Over the course of the novel, these extraordinary characters cross paths and collide in shocking and unforgettable ways. Niklas Natt och Dag paints a deliciously dark portrait of late 18th-century Stockholm, and the frightful yet fascinating reality lurking behind the powdered and painted veneer of the era.

©2019 Niklas Natt och Dag (P)2019 Simon & Schuster

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What listeners say about The Wolf and the Watchman

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

WAY too dark and gruesome

I love a bloody thriller as much as the next guy. I'm a trauma surgeon, I worked as a morgue tech in a major metropolitan county morgue before med school, I am the least squeamish person imaginable but the depth of depravity depicted here proved to be too much for me around chapter 18. Yes, it is reasonably well written and the characters are largely endearing, but when he begins to describe what actually is done to the lead victim in the saga I kind of had it. It began to seem to me the author was tapping into a vein of rage and disgust with humanity as a whole that I find unpalatable and l could not continue to enjoy the experience. Whatever happened to the people of that world, if such a place ever came close to existing, I didn't want to witness. I wish I could unread parts of it, in fact. So be warned
And if this warning has the paradoxical effect of peaking your interest, I only hope that you don't happen to be one of my friends and I suspect you may be a sociopath

36 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Absorbing story, Excellent narrators

I truly enjoyed this book from start to finish. The narration was some of the best I've enjoyed on Audible - and I am very particular about narration. First rate.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Dark historic mystery

This mystery plays in Sweden at the time of the French Revolution. Dark times and a lot of misery.

I had quite a few moments where I wasn’t sure if I want to continue reading... The author does a great job playing with our minds and let us expect the worst to happen, which it sometimes does...
I really liked the way how the different characters are being build up and how we learn about their backgrounds. Great storyline and I never felt the book is too long.

The performance is great and I gave it 5 stars. I you like serious murder mysteries playing in historic times, enjoy.

4 people found this helpful

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Not my cup of tea! Dark, dank

No thanks, miserable, well written but so bleak. I stopped reading about a quarter through the book

3 people found this helpful

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Want more by this author!

A well written novel set in late 18th century Stockholm it is a fascinating page turning murder mystery set within a unique historical era. There are psychological character turns and societal aspects that make this story capitivating.

3 people found this helpful

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Disappointing mystery

Well written (or should I say translated) mystery novel that is very well read by several performers. Sadly, however, the promising start grinds to a laborious middle and uninspired resolution that most will see coming long before the characters.

Some great grisly sequences get things moving now and again, but the pace of the work as a whole is poor. Had I not been listening to the audio version I doubt that I would have finished the book.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Don’t know...

I liked parts of this book! But it was quite disturbing for someone who isn’t disturbed much. Also I think that ultimately it supports rape culture and pro life drivel. It acts like that’s not what is happening, and yesterday, there it blatantly is. Disturbing.

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Really good crime/mystery novel

This newly-translated-to-English Swedish crime/mystery novel is well drawn in setting the gloomy, dingy 1793 Stockholm atmosphere, and excellent in both pacing and crafting of an intriguing mystery. I found it a bit uneven in how it was split from four points of view. In any case, I must save five star ratings in the crime/mystery genre for the truly stellar, which I can't define, but I know it when I see it. Novels like Crime and Punishment or novellas such as The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This story does not measure up to those.

Nor to the masterful The Girl on the Train. Jk. LOL.

Guess what I'm saying is, this Swedish novel was really, really good (maybe a 4.4). I surely recommend it for those who like historical mysteries, such as The Alienist. Yet, despite all the hype, do not get your hopes up that it rises to the same level in crime/mystery as Rebecca, The Name of the Rose or perhaps The Secret History.

5 people found this helpful

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Way, way too horrible!

I couldn’t finish the book and I truly hope that I can get some of the grisly images out of my head!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent Literature

One of the best novels I have read all year. Set in Stockholm in 1793, the few central characters are richly developed.

3 people found this helpful