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Cold Days
by Jim Butcher
Roc, $27.95, 515pp
Release Date: November 27, 2012

It’s the latest Harry Dresden story. Nuff said.

Oh, you want a little more? Okay, Harry was dead, now he’s alive, working for a scary, possibly psychotic fae queen, and the world is going to end again if he doesn’t fix it. How much more do you need?

Okay, fine! Harry was nursed back to life by Mab, the Winter Queen of the fae and is now her Winter Knight. It is well known that the mantle of the Winter Knight changes the person wearing it. In fact, we find out that ALL the mantles change the wearer eventually until each successor is all but indistinguishable from their predecessor. But I digress. Harry’s recuperation is anything but normal; it’s obvious that Mab is preparing him for something. But he is sorely unprepared when Mab finally gives her first command to her Knight – kill Maeve, her daughter.

Maeve and her counterpart in Summer, Lily, convince Harry that Mab has finally gone completely around the bend. And there’s this repository of evilness whose guardian is an acquaintance of Harry’s; and the repository is being setup for an all-out attack to release its inmates. It will mean the end for Chicago , maybe all of humankind. Harry has to marshal all his troops to help him divine the source of the attack – is it really Mab? To go up against such a creature, Harry calls on even more powerful figures to confirm the diagnosis. Harry plays with some really big players in this story. Hell, Harry is now one of the really big players.

Harry does his usual Harry-thing and tries to avoid involving any of his friends but that never works. And since all of them went to his funeral, it’s rather upsetting to them to discover him much alive but not telling them. This crew is rather small and includes a rather unlikely acquaintance; oh, and Toot-Toot finds something (or, someone) that he might love more than pizza.

As with each book, Harry changes and adds another layer to his growing legend. This story firmly establishes that Harry is now more than an upstart wizard who might need a bit of discipline now and then. Anyone going up against him now better be a heavy-hitter. And Harry isn’t the only one who suffers a major life-changing event. The end, which is another beginning, is a shock that Harry might never get over. ~~ Catherine Book

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