By: Jim Butcher
Release Date: September 3rd, 2002
Publisher: Roc Books
Series: The Dresden Files
When your girlfriend has left town (and is trying not to kill you) and your Faerie Godmother sells your debt to the Winter Queen what can you do? If you’re Harry Dresden, you find a way to get in more trouble, apparently.
This part of the series picks up two years since Storm Front. A lot has happened since then and what I mean by that is Harry Dresden, professional wizard, is essentially falling apart. He’s not taking care of himself, he’s barely working, barely paying bills, not speaking to his friends, there is a war with the Red Court of vampires and is obsessed with finding a cure for Susan. Life couldn’t get much worse until the Faerie Queen of Winter, Mab, shows up and tells Harry that she purchased his debt from Leanansidhe. What does this mean? Life is about to get more complicated.
Mab tells Harry to be free of his debt he must do three favors for her. The first is to find out who killed the Summer Knight. Harry originally tries to deny this but is told, in no uncertain terms by the White Council, that if he doesn’t do this he will be given to the Red Court as a peace offering (considering his actions kind of started the war to begin with.)
We see a few interesting characters crop up along the way. Elaine, Harry’s first love and previously assumed dead friend, shows up. Turns out, she’s been alive and hiding in the Faerie court of Summer all this time. After that surpise we meet changelings named Fix and Meryl who are searching for their friend, Lily.
Harry learns that, if he doesn’t solve the murder of the Summer Knight the balance of power between Winter and Summer will forever be off balance and cause chaos across all words. Harry, using his intelligence, some help from friends and calling in favors from the Little Folk (so we get to see Toot Toot again) Harry is successful but only just barely.
This was a good book in the series but it was definitely more of a “setting things up” novel than anything else. We see a lot of important things take place but their full effect hasn’t happened yet so, for now, this book will be categorized as an in-between setup novel in my head. Still, it’s definitely worth the read and I know it’ll be important down the line. In what way? Only the author knows but it’ll be fun to puzzle out later with Harry.
Like the rest of the series there are some excellent, funny quotes in this book. My favorite had to have been the following:
“All of those faeries and duels and mad queens and so on, and no one quoted old Billy Shakespeare. Not even once.” -Billy Borden