By Sergey Lukyanenko.
Previous book here.
I don't really know what to say about this one. I finished it a few days ago and I'm not overly clear as to what went on. The overall themes of this book are (a) Merlin, the last zero-point uber-magician, (b) the "Crown of the World" thingie he hid that may do uh...something with regards to the levels of the Twilight that might bring back the dead people there, and (c) what's the nature of the Twilight, anyway? Which gets a little obscure and weird.
In book one, "Common Cause," Anton goes to Edinburgh to investigate the death of a young Russian man at a "Vampire Castle" tourist attraction. Looks like a vampire actually did him in, you see. The location is a particularly weird one, magically speaking. And apparently Merlin used it as a stash place for "the Crown of the World." Whatever that is, Merlin probably hid it so far into the Twilight (on the seventh level) that nobody but him (or Anton's daughter Nadya) should be able to get to it. And yet, it looks like some folks are trying to get in anyway. And they know to shoot Others with automated guns that they can't sense or stop too well. This case does NOT get solved in this story--all Anton finds out is that a Light One, a Dark One, and an Inquisitor--all Higher power levels--are working on this together.
In book two, "A Common Enemy," Anton is sent to Uzbekistan to look for Rustam, an ancient Other that knew Merlin back in the day who might know something. Anton first asks about this at the Night Watch offices--which amusingly enough are right next to the Day Watch offices because there's few Others in the country. Nadya gives Anton a heads-up to look for a fellow named Afandi, who turns out to be a really old but low-powered (and perhaps a bit dim, or he's faking it?) Other in the Watch. But after more automated guns come after them, they need to flee. Afandi knows how to find Rustam, so they follow him to an area where a bunch of Others were turned into living stone by an awful spell many yonks ago. Rustam informs them on how the Crown works, but then they find out who one of the conspirators (the "Final Watch") are....and I'll talk about that below the spoiler cut.*
In book three, "A Common Desitny," Anton finds out that someone he used to know** is also in on the scheme. Tons of guards are put on little Nadya to prevent anyone from going after her and forcing her to go after Merlin's Crown. However, that just means that the bad guys kidnap Anton and sic Schroedinger's Cat on him (really!) and rig up a nuclear bomb to go off on his family in order to force him to think up a way to get them to the seventh level and get the Crown. Anton, being an awesome thinker, does figure it out. However, the results of that aren't what the Final Watch expect...
I found this one a bit hard to follow, given the weird concept of it. I liked how it resolved some characters (Rustam and Afandi and Merlin) and brought back some other ones and resolved their issues.*** On the other hand, the drastic character changes done on the Final Watch crew confused and baffled me, and in one case just plain didn't seem right somehow*. The big ol' revelation of what the Twilight is also seemed strange.****
I'm glad to hear this isn't the final book in the series (though god only knows when a translated version of the next one will make it to publication in America), because this just left a weird taste in my mouth. Three and a half stars.