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The Wolf and the Watchman

A Novel
Length: 13 hrs and 40 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (54 ratings)

Regular price: $22.67

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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

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    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.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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.