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The Watchers (The Angelus Trilogy #1)

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  1,299 ratings  ·  298 reviews
Lausanne, Switzerland.

In the cathedral tower lives a strange boy with a limp who talks to the bells.

In a luxury penthouse lives a high-class prostitute who's in mortal danger.

And in a low-rent hotel lives a private investigator who has no idea how he got there.

Jay Harper finds himself in Switzerland on the trail of a missing Olympic athlete. A hard drinker, he can b
Hardcover, 552 pages
Published June 9th 2011 by Bantam Press (first published June 1st 2011)
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I have a short list of books that I love and always keep a copy of. It includes The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, Drood and The Black Hills, both written by Dan Simmons, and The Lord of the Rings. These books are characterized by great story-telling abilities by the author. They are not the kind of books (that shall remain nameless, the worst written by an author also with the first name of Dan) that have a cliff hanger at the end of a two page chapter. They are the sort that weave a story so ...more
A bell ringer, an amnesiac detective, and a high-priced call girl walk into a bar…

Oh, wait. That’s not how it goes; the bell ringer wouldn’t walk into a bar… Let’s start over, shall we?

The Watchers tells the story of fallen angels, both good and bad, fighting a war on earth. Or, in this case, in Lausanne, Switzerland. The bell ringer, Marc, has a limp and has flashbacks. The amnesiac detective’s gut tells him things are not as they appear to be, but he’s so busy getting hauled around that some d
These are the hardest reviews for me to write (other than the reviews where I absolutely loved a book and just want to gush about it without any critical thoughts): when a book's ideas were interesting, but the execution left something to be desired. This is the situation I find myself in with The Watchers, by Jon Steele. The idea of fallen angels roaming the Earth (who were the watchers the title alludes to) is a cool one, and a lot could have been done with the biblical Nephilim. However, The ...more
Marc Bolda
In this age of instant gratification that drives the two page chapter and all the other "improvements" we have seen in the development of the novel over the past twenty years or so, it is refreshing to see that one author is not afraid of long, drawn out character building and the slow, yet tension filled ascent to what you know will be a stunning climax when you reach the top of the mountain--and it is! Richly atmospheric and suprisingly tender amid all the gathering gloom, this is a beautifull ...more
Beneath Lausanne cathedral, in Switzerland, there is a secret buried before time began. Something unknown to angels and men. Until now…

Marc Rochat watches over the city at night from the belfry of the cathedral. He lives in a world of shadows and beforetimes and imaginary begins.

Katherine Taylor, call girl and dreamer, is about to discover that her real-life fairy tale is too good to be true.

Jay Harper, private detective, wakes in a crummy hotel room with no memory. When the telephone rings and
Cora Tea Party Princess
I'm gonna have to DNF, I just can't get into this as much as I would have liked. I've been reading it since the beginning of January and getting nowhere.

But I also really badly want to know what happens. It piqued my interest enough for me to want to keep reading but the pace just meant that I couldn't. It was too slow for me and a little too heavy-going.

I WILL give this another go in the future. And I'll probably finish it too.
I was fortunate to receive this as an ARC from NetGalley. The premise looked right up my alley and I had some high hopes for this book. Unfortunately, they were NOT met. I found the story to be a combination of The DaVinci Code (which I enjoyed) and a book about Angels which I have not had much experience with. Katherine, the main female was a horribly written, depth of a Frisbee character and I had no affection for her at all. She was apparently sold into sex slavery and usually that would get ...more
Every once in a while you pick up a book solely because you are intrigued by the cover, or the synopsis on the inner sleeve and you have no expectations other than to see if it is worth reading beyond the first chapter. And then, IT happens. You fall into a world so exquisitely imagined that it lingers in your mind long after you've closed the pages, trying to fall asleep while pondering how all of these intricately drawn story lines are going to weave themselves together. Characters are so vivi ...more
Went into this thinking, "Didn't Victor Hugo write some little thing like this?" Shame on me for, one, never actually having read Hugo's tome and, two, almost passing up this book. Crippled (sorry, so not PC) bell-ringer, prostitute, guy that saves the day. Sure, been there, seen the Disney version and Mandy Patinkin, too. But not quite.

I dare you not to fall in love with Marc Rochat. Even Harper gets to you. Kat didn't do so much for me (one more "gosh aren't you cute?" and I was ready to poke
Michelle Morrell
I couldn't get into this novel. Which was unfortunate, as I usually like stories that involve angels and hints of the supernatural dwelling under the mundanity of the "real world." The premise was interesting, and the characters were nuanced, but there were two specific reasons I couldn't finish this novel, and both were in the writing style.

First, the author left off the subjects of most of the action sentences. For example, instead of writing, "He went down the steps," he would write, "Went d
Finally got round to finishing this. I received permission to read it free from NetGalley, just so you know.

I got quite mesmerised by it to begin with: there's something about the slow deliberate pace at the beginning of the book that can draw you in. The mystery is slow to get kick-started, though, and I almost didn't have the patience to wait around for things to happen. The pacing is really just... not quite right.

The choice of protagonists is interesting: it's good to see a protagonist with
Ricki Jill Treleaven
This week I read The Watchers by Jon Steele: a very unique suspense thriller. The antagonists are fallen angels and Nephilim, while the main protagonist is the Archangel Michael. Unlike Cassandra Clare's Nephilim in the Mortal Instruments series, these Nephilim are not heroes protecting humanity from demons; these Nephilim are soul-eaters. The Nephilim are mentioned in the Book of Enoch, a book believed to be only a myth until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947. It is quoted along wit ...more
Marc is the keeper of the Belfry in a Cathedral. Katherine is a hooker with a heart of gold. And Jay is a detective with a touch of amnesia trying to solve mystery within a mystery. All in the quaint town of Lausanne, Switzerland.

This book has a very slow start. The initial “case” that brings our characters together is completely irrelevant and we spend wasted time invested in that mystery. Also the character’s were a little bit to derived from the Hunch Back of Notre Dame. It was jokingly point
I found this novel in my local supermarket, while bored to death. The tiny blurb on the back intrigued me, but I almost put it back three times... I am SO glad I didn't, and took it home! What an atmospheric work of art, for a novel. Jon Steele is my new favorite author.

In a market flooded with novels dealing with supernatural themes, “The Watchers” stands out for strength of its characters, the originality of the plot and Jon Steele’s remarkable ability to make magic visible in the familiar.

Michael Drakich
A mesmerizing read that swept me away. The story is told from the viewpoint of three characters, Jay Michael Harper, a security officer with the IOC, Katherine Taylor, a high end hooker and Marc Rochat, the guet (think Quasimodo) of the cathedral in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Although, of the three, Harper is the main character, it was the one of Marc Rochat that I found most endearing. The image of his character was most clear in my mind.

The story is long, but the writing excellent, allowing the rea
BookTrib calls it “wholly original.” It is not. I mean, read the description; it already screams, heavily influenced by The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Once you start to figure out all the differences, you realize even those have their roots in other places. But it’s the combination that counts. The combination that’s beautiful.

BookTrib also calls it “Indescribable.” It is not. There are at least a hundred ways to describe it, and each way would leach it of its magic. And therefore leach me of my e
Carrie Mansfield
This is probably the book I've enjoyed the most this year, second only to Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore.

And why?

Characters, characters, characters.

This book proves that it does not matter if your characters are tropes: if you make us love the people whose story you are telling, the audience will follow gladly follow anywhere you lead.

There are three main characters here: Marc Rochat, a simple, kind hearted man with a limp. He is, in essence, a modern day Quasimodo and has a vibe that I think
Viviane Crystal
Marc Rochat is a disabled young man who takes care of the bells in Lausanne Cathedral. His mother who died long ago, told him he would save an angel of God. His only conversations are with the bells, the statues, and the dead in the Cathedral's crypt. Yes, he is a strange man with some obvious simple and harmless idiosyncrasies, hardly one who could save anyone. Yet there is something endearing about this pathetic, innocent creature who is dedicated to his job or mission as he sees it. Then his ...more
Cheryl M-M
This was a difficult one to review.
The opening scene was superb.
The first half was disjointed and confusing at times. Switching from one character to the next with no apparent connection to any of their stories. Wandering from the present day Rochat to the past and back again.
Based on the opening scene I thought the plot was about some audacious supernatural race saving or fetching souls of the dead, so I was slightly confused when it turned into a modern version of Quasimodo and Esmeralda.
At th
I just found this book to have a larger than expected emotional impact on me. It is about a bell-ringer in the belfry of a church in Lausanne, Switzerland. It is also about faith and love and redemption. I thought the character of the bell ringer, Marc Rochat, was especially well-written. Marc was born crippled and developmentally delayed and yet he is pure of heart and a steadfast friend. His mother tells him to watch for an angel to come to "his" cathedral needing help and that is his duty to ...more
Maya Panika
A crippled boy, an amnesiac detective and a high-class prostitute become embroiled in dark forces plotting to take possession of creation through the secrets held in the Cathedral of Lausanne.

Part crime mystery, part dark fantasy, it reminded me a little of a John Grisholm novel in that it was both lacking in surprises yet impossible to stop reading, and the ending was predictably disappointing - a shame, because this novel could have been so much more. The characters are well-drawn, true indivi
I was so excited to read this novel when I stumbled across it online. For a debut novel, Jon Steele did a darned good job. While his ideas are not at all original, the way he crafts them together was quite entertaining. I didn't always understand what was going on - I am fairly up to date on the legends at the center of this story, but he didn't always fill in the blanks of where the characters stood in their own thoughts (maybe he did that on purpose, but I got frustrated at times)- but I event ...more
A brain damaged boy, an expensive call girl and an amnesiac security expert cross paths in Lausanne Cathedral. Their story winds the Book of Enoch, the Olympic Games, The History Channel, stained glass and cathedral bells onto an amazing spindle of a narrative. Marc is crippled, with a twisted foot and leg. He is gifted with an awesome imagination, but has poor math and reading skills. He is La Guet, the watchman, of Lausanne Cathedral. Harper is a security expert for the IOC, but he has no memo ...more
Cathy Cole
First Line: At first sight, fifty yards off, he couldn't tell who it was walking through the rain, only that the slow-moving form emerging from the shattered village of Neuville-Vitasse was a British soldier.

Just before Christmas in the town of Lausanne, Switzerland, three people will meet in the ancient cathedral beneath which a secret was buried before time began.

Marc Rochat is the young man who calls the hour from the belfry of Lausanne Cathedral each night. He will tell you that he's "strong
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Book read and reviewed for Bookgeeks as part of the Real Readers Programme

“Three lives. One purpose. Save what’s left of paradise before all hell breaks lose”

Three unlikely individuals are fated to fight an unimaginable evil. If they succeed they’ll safe the world as we know it, if they fail, literally all will be lost.
Marc Rochat is a young man living in the bell tower of the cathedral in Lausanne where he guards the bells and inhabits a world not quite like ours while he waits for the angel he
Oh, this book. So many pages, so many sentence fragments. Too much of both.

It took hundreds of pages for a plot to appear.I managed to hang in there because the main characters seemed as lost as I felt about what was going on. Then one of them finally figured out what was going on.

Unfortunately, he never told me.

I still have a very fuzzy understanding of who was who (or WHAT they were)--? I found the whole book to be a strange mix of sensitivity to the handicapped, love of architecture, wande
It took me a while to understand where this book was going, but once I got on the same page as the author, I realized that I was loving the story and the three heroes. Mark is one of my all time favorite characters. His simplicity is heartwarming. Katherine, too, although written as a fallen angel, is also someone that would be very easy to fall in love with. And then there is Harper, the Detective, who loops them all together and is probably the reason that there will be a Part 2 and 3 to this ...more
Fantasy Literature
The Watchers is 560 pages long divided over a prologue called ‘Quietus’, four titled books, forty numbered chapters, and an Epilogue. Narration is in the third person via Marc Rochat, Katherine Taylor and Jay Harper. The Watchers is mostly self-contained, coming to a satisfying stopping point, but it’s the first book in a trilogy. The sequels are tentatively titled Angel City and The Way of Sorrows. June 9, 2011 marks the UK Hardcover publication of The Watchers via ... Read More:
Guy Haley
Let’s get the negatives out of the way. The characters in The Watchers are in a million other books: the naïve whore, the noble fool, the drunken PI, the know-all puppet master. Steele doesn’t manage to transcend their inherent cliché and take them into the purer realm of archetype. Secondly, bits of it don’t make sense, The Watchers blends modern mores and lingo like “way above my pay grade” with the doings of angelic beings marooned on Earth for two and half million years, and has an underwhel ...more
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Jon Steele was born in the American Northwest in 1950 and was raised in Great Falls Montana. He worked an assortment of legal and illegal jobs all accross America before joining Independent Television News of London. Jon earned a reputation as one of the world's top cameramen in dangerous environments. His autobiography, 'War Junkie' was published in 2002 by Transworld and is today recognized as a ...more
More about Jon Steele...

Other Books in the Series

The Angelus Trilogy (3 books)
  • Angel City (The Angelus Trilogy #2)
  • The Way of Sorrows (The Angelus Trilogy, #3)
Angel City (The Angelus Trilogy #2) War Junkie: One Man's Addiction to the Worst Places on Earth The Way of Sorrows (The Angelus Trilogy, #3) Strážci

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“It's a very old word, it means 'to breathe into.' That's how it works: An angel breathes into men and shows us what to play, what to draw. How to find the truth of who we are and why we are here.” 9 likes
“Being brave is only standing up when you're afraid.” 8 likes
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