This latest addition to the Dresden Files Series shows Harry dealing with the consequences of the last book. Harry has been marooned on Demonreach Island with a parasite in his head, one that will supposedly kill him without the shielding provided by the guardian spirit of the island. He’s been isolated from his friends and family for the better part of a year, leaving them to deal with the consequences of a world in chaos after the supernatural community takes advantage of the void left by the destruction of the Vampires of the Red Court, literally at Harry’s hand.
Naturally, when Mab comes to call, she immediately orders him off the island, her only concession to Harry’s survival an earring that prevents the parasite from incapacitating him, at least for the next three days. After that, unless Harry has successfully completed his assigned mission, is the probable end of Harry’s life.
And what does Mab want Harry to do? Just join forces with a group of old enemies on a suicide mission into Hades’ domain, yes that Hades, to pull off a daring theft from the Underworld. Harry is forced to work with the Knights of the Blackened Denarius, those fallen angels who have survived on greed and evil, with only Karrin and later Michael Carpenter, the former Knight of the Cross, on his side, as they break into an impenetrable stronghold to steal the Holy Grail.
This latest book is as exciting as a heist movie, but carries much higher stakes than a mountain of treasure-for inside Hades’ treasure trove are the weapons Mab needs to fight the enemy Outsiders, nightmarish creatures from another dimension. Who will end up on which side of the conflict? Who will betray the party, and who will be redeemed in the end?
While several elements of this novel remind me of Ocean’s Eleven and other similar stories, the style and the characters are clearly Butcher’s own, with villains and situations that dovetail nicely into the Dresden chronology. Some have said the Harry Dresden stories have lost some of their magic over time, but I find the direction the author has taken has given new life to his ever-expanding universe.
I have only a couple more books to read in the series (for now) and will be sorry to see its end. Still, I’m sure there are a lot more excitement and world-changing moments to look forward to in the next volume, as soon as I get my hands on a copy. I award this novel five stars, and recommend it to fans of paranormal stories, epic adventure, and romantic urban fantasy.