Plot: Harry Dresden, professional wizard and private investigator, has made a few enemies in his life. But when he tried to save the woman he loves from vampires, he made an enemy of the entire Red Court. Now the Red Court vampires have declared war on the wizards of the White Council and the losses are already mounting. A faction of the wizards expects Harry to fix this problem or offer his life in recompense. If that weren’t trouble enough, Mab, the Queen of the Winter Court of Faerie herself, has come to him with a case.
Summer Knight is the fourth book in the Dresden Files series. If you enjoyed the first three books, or if you are a fan of urban fantasy and mysteries, you will love this book. I would usually say that the Dresden Files novels can stand on their own, but this one finally reveals things that have been hinted at in the three first books and it is so much more satisfying if you experienced that buildup. We finally meet the White Council that has colored Harry’s every action so far (and some of the really cool wizards that make it up: everything from Harry’s redneck mentor to, my personal favorite, the mysterious and ever surprising gatekeeper); we learn more about the fairies; and even more exciting, Elena, Harry’s ill-fated first love, makes her first appearance. It is not to be missed.
The novel starts like a classic detective story: with a dangerous woman in need (who just happens to be a Fairy Queen) walking into his office. But the real femme fatale is Elena, a girl with a history that Harry can’t resist and who inevitably means trouble. In fact, this novel has more troubled, dangerous women than ever. Harry’s cop friend, Murphy, has some serious PTSD after the events of the third novel and Harry’s ill-fated current love has left to deal with her supernatural issues. And I haven’t even touched out the 6 fairy monarchs. Harry, old fashioned gentleman to a fault (no, seriously, it’s a fault), can’t turn his back on them no matter the cost.
Of course there is also a murder, a mystery to be solved, lies, epic battles a plenty (chainsaws are involved!) and, even in the worst of situations, Harry’s typical dry wit. For me, this is when the series really picks up. The stakes are higher than ever, the mythology of the world is fleshed out and the characters are deeply changed. And as always, the audiobook is ably read by James Marsters: I have no words for how much I love this man’s voice.
I’m already a couple of hours into the fifth book in the series, Death Masks. It starts on a TV talk show and has Vatican priests, knights of the cross and mob hits. Promising. 🙂