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The Royal Art of Poison

The Royal Art of Poison
The Royal Art of Poison

Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Wolf and the Watchman by Niklas Natt och Dag - Feature and Review



ABOUT THE BOOK:


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.

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-solider 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.




LISTEN TO AN EXCERPT:








MY REVIEW:


The Wolf and the WatchmanThe Wolf and the Watchman by Niklas Natt och Dag
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Wolf and the Watchman is a 2019 Atria Books publication.

Morose and grisly- but morbidly fascinating!

Late 1700s- Stockholm-

A mutilated corpse is found in the lake- and by mutilated, I mean limbs, tongue, and eyes had been methodically removed, one at a time, the work mimicking that of a surgeon.

Cecil Winge, a lawyer, suffering through the last stages of consumption has been asked to look into the matter, which is the only thing that keeps him on his feet, fighting to stay alive long enough to solve the mystery.

Winge teams up with Mickel Cardell, a disabled former soldier, who discovered, then fished the body out of the water. Together they work to officially identify the body and discover who murdered the man in such a gruesome manner.

This novel has generated a bit of publicity, and as such, has already garnered a bit of a reputation- clueing me in on its violent nature. However, I was still unprepared for the lurid content I encountered in this story!! So, even if one has a high tolerance for graphic violence and gore, this novel will test your limits and boundaries. So- consider yourself warned.

The plot is intricate, and very absorbing, with several interesting character studies rounding things out. The dark and macabre underbelly of Stockholm provides an unsettling and nerve-wracking atmosphere which never allowed one to relax or exhale, even for a moment. There is also an urgency to the solving the crime as Winge’s health progressively worsens, adding an even heavier quality to an already depressingly grim tale.

Although there are very few rays of light in this dreary mystery/thriller, the sun does break through the clouds from time to time, offering some modicum of relief, but not for very long. I needed a respite from this one a time or two, but did find the story very compelling, with moments of real brilliance, although, the grit still overshadowed the finer nuances.

I can see why this book has captured the attention of its publisher, and why they hope a marketing push will steer it into the mainstream. But, despite the impressiveness of it, I’m not sure it’s ready for prime time, which is an audience trained to absorb bland, contained, polished, and watered down content. I'm not convinced this novel is suited for mass consumption.

Perhaps it would work better with a cult following, which is a far more intriguing, enduring, and even flattering thought, appealing to a specific audience capable of giving it the credit it is due…. Without feeling a little blue or green around the gills.


GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Wolf-Watchman-Niklas-Natt-och-ebook/dp/B07GNT9TWM/


https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-wolf-and-the-watchman-niklas-natt-och-dag/1128916503


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Niklas Natt och Dag (“Night and Day”) debuted as an author with the historical literary novel 1793. Natt och Dag himself has an undeniable connection to Swedish history, being a member of the oldest surviving noble family in Sweden. When he isn’t writing or reading, Natt och Dag enjoys playing the guitar, mandolin, violin, or the Japanese bamboo flute, shakuhachi.

Niklas Natt och Dag lives in Stockholm with his wife and their two sons.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds grisly, but tempting as I go for dark...at times.Plus it's historical and Nordic.

    ReplyDelete