THE NIGHT WATCH by Sarah Waters

THE imagination of modern authors never ceases to amaze. They not only create intriguing characters and are masters of prose but they also come up with exciting new formats – often when they seem too young to be able to understand much about human nature

THE imagination of modern authors never ceases to amaze. They not only create intriguing characters and are masters of prose but they also come up with exciting new formats - often when they seem too young to be able to understand much about human nature at all.

The Night Watch, just long-listed for the Booker prize, is typical. It presents a quartet of characters whose lives intermingle and overlap. Every scenario is believable although perhaps Duncan's 'crime' stretches credulity to its limits.

But instead of starting at A, in 1941, the story begins at the end six years later and goes backwards. Far from being irritating, this makes the book unfold like a present, to be unwrapped and relished.

The war comes vividly to life in its grime and horror as Kay, Viv, Helen and Duncan flounder through the minefield of love and betrayal.

Thanks to Ottakar's of Stevenage

4/5