Simple question: how precisely can we say when the Watch books are set?

I seem to remember some talk about the turn of the millenium around the end of book 2 (but haven't got it to hand now, so can't check), but when exactly was the year 2000 in comparison to the time the books are set in?

There is an interval of a few years between books 2 and 3, but I don't know if there are any more such gaps later on in the series. Please indicate spoilers from beyond book 3 as such :-)

  • This is turning into a Thaddeusish length answer, enroaching on Tolstoy (I'm at 150 lines, ~10k characters). I'll try to complete it later today or tomorrow. Commented Jun 6, 2016 at 17:50
  • @DVK Wow! Looking forward to that :-) Though I'm surprised it needs so much, actually - I was expecting the answer to be a simple quote somewhere that I missed.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Jun 6, 2016 at 17:58
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    @valorum read them. They have English translations and are pretty good. Worth the time Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 22:57
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    @valorum nightwatch, yes. Day watch is mostly based on whatever magic mushrooms the scriptwriter scored. Books are way better than both films. Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 22:59
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    @Valorum They're the kind of books that can't truly be appreciated in film form. The best part about them, IMO, is the ideas and concepts they explore, mainly through internal monologue. The supposed 'bad guys', the Dark Ones, are both very believable and very easy to identify as bad guys, which is pretty rare in fantasy. I haven't seen the films, but I've read enough to be sure they're crap compared to the books.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 23:25

1 Answer 1


It seems they take place in the same year (or close to) they've been published.

The "Night watch" was published in Russia in 1998. During the course of the book Anton is stopped by two police officers. To avoid them, Anton casts compulsion on them and they both go to get drunk. In the "New Watch" (2012) we meet one of the police officers that recognises Anton and asks him to not make him drunk again because "they no longer live in Yeltsin era and he would loose his job" (Boris Yeltsin was president till 31-12-1999).

Another hints: Nadya is 2 years old in the "Twilight watch", five in the "Last watch" and old enough to date in the "Sixth watch" (she still goes to school).

So, if we assume that the "Night watch" takes place in the 1998 (the publication date):

  • "Day Watch" (2000) would take place soon after. Anton and Svetlana start dating.
  • "Twilight Watch" (2003) - at least 3 years later - Nadya is two years old.
  • "Last Watch" (2006) - three years after previous book, Nadya is 5.
  • "New Watch" (2011) - Nadya is about 10
  • "Sixth Watch" (2014) - Nadya still goes to school, "Kesha" (who is the same age as she) starts going through puberty, which would make the action take place 2-4 years after the previous book.
  • I'd suggest looking at the timeframe in which they were written, rather than published. The dates are likely to be closer.
    – Tim
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 3:03
  • I've updated dates to follow info from wiki: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… using the "written" date.
    – Yasskier
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 3:44
  • Nice point about Yeltsin. +1 Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 9:14

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