Guest review: The Watchers
Lausanne, Switzerland is an idyllic city located on the north shore of Lac Leman (also known as Lake Geneva). It is a charming town boasting breathtaking views of both the lake and the Alps. One of its more interesting architectural features is Lausanne Cathedral. It is the only cathedral in Europe that still employs a night watchman. In days gone by the night watchman acted as a lookout for fires and invaders. The night watchman, each evening between the hours of 10 P.M. and 2 A.M., climbs 153 steps to the top of the bell tower where he holds up a lantern and calls out, “C’est le guet! Il a sonne l’heure! Il a sonne l’heure! This is the night watch! The hour is struck! The hour is struck!
Marc Rochat, through an accident of birth, is somewhat challenged both mentally and physically. When his mother dies, he finds himself sent to Switzerland, entrusted to the care of his father and grandmother. Now twenty-one years old, he is the night watchman of Lausanne Cathedral. Katherine Taylor, a beautiful young American, is offered a lucrative position as a high priced call girl working for the exclusive clientele of The Two Hundred Club. With the IRS breathing down her neck she jumps at the offer. Jay Harper, a Brit, wakes up one day to a phone that won’t stop ringing. A heavy drinker, he can’t seem to remember his own name or anything else about his past. The caller at the other end of the line offers him employment as a detective working for the International Olympic Committee which just happens to be headquartered in Lausanne. These three individuals find themselves drawn (or lured) to Lausanne for very different reasons, or so it seems.
First time novelist Jon Steele’s The Watchers is terrific. Loosely based on the first part of the Book of Enoch which tells of the fall of the Watchers, angels who travelled to Earth and fathered children with humans; Steele’s book is sort of a mystery/fantasy novel. You’re a good way through the story, trying to figure out the mystery before the fantasy element is revealed. At its heart the story is really about the age old battle between good and evil. The characters are wonderful, especially the night watchman. He’ll remind you of Quasimodo from Victor Hugo’s, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, but Rochat is so much more endearing. I loved the conversations he held with the bells and his cat, Monsieur Booty. The writing is very good. The descriptions of Lausanne and its cathedral make me want to visit there in person. This is by far the best book I’ve read this year.