Ever since his girlfriend left town to deal with her newly acquired taste for blood, Harry Dresden has been down and out in Chicago. He can’t pay his rent. He’s alienating his friends. He can’t even recall the last time he took a shower. The only professional wizard in the phone book has become a desperate man. And just when it seems things can’t get any worse, in saunters the Winter Queen of Faerie. She has an offer Harry can’t refuse if he wants to free himself of the supernatural hold his faerie godmother has over him—and hopefully end his run of bad luck. All he has to do is find out who murdered the Summer Queen’s right-hand man, the Summer Knight, and clear the Winter Queen’s name. It seems simple enough, but Harry knows better than to get caught in the middle of faerie politics. Until he finds out that the fate of the entire world rests on his solving this case. No pressure or anything…
So, here we have the fourth book in the Dresden Files, and let’s see if our protagonist Harry Dresden gets a chance to breath, let alone get some rest from the constant wackiness that he’s been put through in the past three books. Hmmmm. It looks doubtful.
Things kick off with a visit from Mab, who just happens to be the Winter Queen of the Sidhe (that’s the Unseelie Faeries, the likes of which you should hope to never run across), who informs Dresden that she just purchased his debt to his Faerie Godmother (you remember, from the previous book), and as such wants him to pay off this debt by doing three favors for her, the first of which happens to be recovering the stolen mantle from the Summer Knight that was recently murdered. Since getting involved with Faerie politics is never really a good thing, Dresden tells Mab to suck it. But then, his motion to “suck it” is shot down by the White Court of Wizards, who–because of that little incident that started a war with the Red Court vampires–informs Dresden that he will accept the roll of Mab’s Emissary as his trial, otherwise he’s going to be stripped of his title as Wizard and then handed over to the Red Court as a peace offering. Then he receives a visit from an old flame, who just happens to be the Emissary of the Summer Court, runs into some changelings with ties to the Faerie, discovers that the Summer Queen is planning on waging war with the Winter Court at Midsummer, meets up with the Elder Queens, and suddenly finds himself entangled in a war he must survive. Will he make it through? Well…this is only the fourth book in a series of fifteen, you tell me.
Okay, so there was a lot to take in while reading this, and sometimes I thought I would have to begin making a flow chart just to keep up. The ongoing story of Harry Dresden just keeps getting more and more complicated, especially now that the Faerie seems to want to come in and play, and his ongoing persona non grata with the White Court of Wizards. Overall, very good book, very complex but engrossing. Nicely done.