Audio book length: 13 hrs 50 mins
Rating: 4 stars
Harry Dresden still owes Queen Mab of the Winter Court two favours, and now she's come to collect one. "Gentleman" Johnny Marcone, head of the Chicago underworld and newly a baron in the terms of the Unseelie Accords, has been kidnapped by forces unknown. Mab demands that Harry act as Winter's Envoy in the matter and find him.
To complicate matters, the Summer Queen is sending warriors to challenge Harry. The Gruffs (yup, like the Billy Goats of the stories) keep showing up, each bigger and more powerful than the last to fight and possibly kill the wizard. Then he discovers who actually nabbed Marcone, and things go from bad to worse. The Order of the Blackened Denarius want to make Marcone an offer he can't refuse, and make him accept one of their cursed coins. Harry needs to find them and stop them before it's too late.
My reviews of these books are probably getting fairly repetitive. I'm still listening to the audio books, James Marsters continues to be a great narrator. By now the world of the Dresden Files is full of recurring supporting characters that I like spending time with. This book has appearances by regulars like Murphy, Molly and Thomas, as well as Captain Luccio of the Wardens and the two holy knights, Michael and Sanya (whose wry sense of humour is great). It's always nice to see Ivy, the little girl who embodies the Archive and her bodyguard Kincaid. Mab is wonderfully terrifying as always, in her brief page time at the beginning and end of the book, and I found the various Gruffs in succession to be a really fun touch. The various "nickelheads", as Harry takes to calling the demonic Denarians really let Butcher cut loose with the gruesome descriptions. They clearly come in all manner of horrible and nearly invincible varieties.
I like that the books appear to take place almost in real time, with the characters changing organically. This book takes place about a year after the last one, and over the course of the book, there are several developments that could have serious consequences further down the line. Harry keeps being completely oblivious to the fairer sex, to Thomas' great dismay, but toward the end, things are looking promising for him on the romantic front.
Crossposted on Cannonball Read.