Book Review: Peace Talks by Jim Butcher

Posted August 10, 2020 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 3 Comments

Book Review: Peace Talks by Jim Butcher

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Peace Talks by Jim Butcher
Series: The Dresden Files
Published by Ace Books on July 14, 2020
Pages: 348
Format: eBook
Source: the library

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Also by this author: Storm Front, Jim Butcher's Dresden Files: Down Town, Shadowed Souls, Blood Rites, Proven Guilty , White Night , Small Favor , Turn Coat , Changes , Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files , Peace Talks , Battle Ground, "Christmas Eve"

Sixteenth in The Dresden Files paranormal fantasy series set in Chicago and revolving around Harry Dresden, an independent-minded wizard who fights for justice.

My Take

That Winter Knight mantle certainly has upped the tension and pressure in the Dresden Files. It’s vicious, primal, primitive, and I swear I want to rub Bio-Freeze in everywhere by the time I’m done reading.

The lack of home; the need for family; the hatred of the Senior Council for Harry; Mab’s hope of the mantle making Harry meaner, colder, darker, and more vicious; Ebenezar’s obsessive hatred for vampires; and, Thomas’ crazy assassination attempt all come through first person protagonist point-of-view from Harry’s perspective. Where is that Bio-Freeze? And it’s just nasty.

Peace Talks is a set-up for Battle Ground, ensuring we understand how precarious Harry’s position is and how essential it is that he survives. We also discover how many favors Marcone is owed. Eeek!

Hoo, boy…Ebenezar is off his rocker in this one. He seems to have forgotten what happened to his daughter and thinks Harry should dump Maggie elsewhere. To protect her. And Harry has his own thoughts on this! I mean, seriously, after what happened in Changes, 12, Ebenezar really thinks Maggie is safer elsewhere? Okay, sure the Carpenters, but as Harry notes: It’s not where her dad lives. I think Ebenezar needs some Prozac. There are scenes in here that provide a lot of back history on Harry’s childhood. None of it good. Harry does not pull his punches with Maggie. He tells her the truth, and she knows she’s loved.

Ebenezar’s craziness seems to have infected the other Wardens as well.

Whoaa, that actually makes sense. If the Black Knights carry a coin with a fallen angel trapped within it, why wouldn’t the White Knights carry swords with angels inside them?

Hmmm, we’re in the dark about why all these different groups are watching Justine. Sure, we can make some guesses, but Thomas ain’t a’talkin’. Although we do learn that Lara likes Harry. Well, that’s actually been kind of obvious.

Oooh, Harry finds the door to his old lab. And not in a good place. I was worried about his reactions there…and I am dying of curiosity as to what or where Harry will settle next.

It’s scary, action-packed, full, and I mean FULL, of characters that is leavened with Butcher’s sense of humor. Thank god. Of course, this story could really use a lot more humor, and I wish I had Battle Ground to read now!

It’s a hard, cold world Harry walks through, where family sometimes has to take second place.

“Faith isn’t all about God, or a god…”

Easy to say…until Chicago goes dark.

The Story

Baron Marcone, the White Court, and the Paranetters formed an alliance against the Fomor in Chicago. An alliance at least one Warden is angry about. Yet where has the White Council been? Why weren’t they helping to protect the children?

It seems these peace talks are intended to undo a lot of bad calls like these. Only, it’s not why the Formor called for these talks.

Then Chicago goes dark. And the Gates are under attack.

And still worse is to come…

The Characters

The 6′ 9″ Harry “Hoss” Dresden is a wizard and Mab’s Winter Knight (Ghost Story, 13) — and learns he is starborn, a power against the Outsiders. Maggie is the daughter he rescued in Changes; Mouse is a Temple dog and Maggie’s bodyguard. Mister is Harry’s huge grey tomcat. Bonea “Bonnie” is a spirit of intellect that grew inside Harry until she got too big and she took up residence in a carved wooden skull (Skin Game, 15). Harry’s Volkswagen has been replaced by the Munstermobile, which has been around for almost a century. We can only hope it’s at least somewhat wizard-proof. Malcolm had been Harry’s illusionist father.

Constructed by the original Merlin, Demonreach is on an unreachable island in Lake Michigan where Harry is its Warden. Yep, it’s a prison for horrible supernaturals watched over by “Alfred“, the spirit of the prison.

Karrin Murphy, a crack shot with a black belt in aikido, is still recovering from events in Skin Game and is no longer a cop, although she and Harry are finally together. She’s being investigated by Internal Affairs.

Waldo Butters, a medical examiner, became a Knight of the Sword, a.k.a., a Knight of the Cross, in full a month ago and wields Fidelacchius, the Sword of Faith. Seems Butters has some secrets in his bed, woo-hoo, Andi and Marci are werewolves. Sanya is the only other Knight, and he carries Esperacchius, the Sword of Hope.

The Carpenters are…
…Michael’s family and protected by angels. As a former Knight of the Sword (Turn Coat, 11), Michael rates. Charity is his wife and their children include Molly, Hope “Hobbit”, and Daniel, who is in the military and married with a grandchild on the way.

Ivy is the Archive holding all the world’s knowledge from the world’s beginning to now. Kincaid is her usual bodyguard. Carter LaChaise leads a large family of ghouls. Ferrovax is a dragon. Donar Vadderung, a.k.a. Odin and Beowulf, is CEO of Monoc Securities, which provides mercenaries — Einherjaren as well as Valkyries.

Baron Marcone is…
Gentleman Johnnie Marcone, a mob boss who claimed a seat at the table and signed the Unseelie Accords (White Night, 9). Hendricks is Marcone’s bodyguard and chief enforcer. Sigrun Gard, a.k.a., the Chooser of the Slain, is a supernatural and a security consultant from Monoc. Childs is one of the troubleshooters. Other guards include a platoon of Einherjaren, Viking revenants. Marcone built his new headquarters, the Brighter Future Society, on the land where Harry’s boardinghouse used to be.

The White Council of Wizardry is…
…a union for upper echelon wizards — the less-talented need not apply. The Senior Council is its governing body based in Edinburgh. And they don’t like Harry. Ebenezar McCoy is Harry’s grandfather and mentor, the Blackstaff enforcer for the council as well as a senior member of it. Other senior councilors include The Merlin, Rashid the Gatekeeper, Listens-to-Wind, Martha Liberty, and Cristos, who is the newest council member and is suspected of being part of the Black Council, a secret group of evil wizards. Peabody had been a traitor (Turn Coat).

The still-limping Warden Carlos Ramirez is someone Harry has considered a friend. “Wild Bill” Meyers, Yukie Yoshimo, and Chandler are Wardens and part of his team. Captain Luccio is in charge of the Council security forces and wants to give Harry a chance.

The Svartalves have…
…an embassy in Chicago. Etri is their king. Evanna is Etri’s sister and second-in-command. Austri is a guard and friend of Harry’s. Gedwig is another guard who hates Harry.

The Winter Court is…
…ruled by Mab, the terrifying, if loyal, Queen of Air and Darkness. Molly Carpenter is now the Winter Lady (Cold Days, 14).

The Summer Court is…
…ruled by Titania. Sarissa is the Summer Lady (Cold Days). Fix is the Summer Knight, who used to be, might still be?, friends with Harry (Summer Knight, 4).

The White Court of Vampires is…
…a vampire group of incubi and succubi led, from behind the throne, by the terrifyingly sexy Lara Raith, a very definite power and Thomas’ older half-sister. The gorgeous Thomas Raith is Harry’s half-brother, a White vampire. Justine is Thomas’ pregnant human girlfriend. The Water Beetle is Thomas’ boat. Riley is one of Lara’s guards. Freydis Gard is one of the Monoc Valkyries who signed on with Lara. She’s interested in Karrin.

Bigfoot are…
…real, at least in The Dresden Files. Blood on His Soul, a.k.a. the Genoskwa, is an evil Big Foot who clashed with Harry (Skin Game). River Shoulders is a Big Foot shaman whom Harry helped. He explains the three paths: the sky path, the forest path of quiet, and the war path. It seems Grendel had been a Big Foot who followed the wrong path. River Shoulders offers to teach Harry more.

Law Enforcement
From the Chicago PD, Detective Rudolph is still a jerk, and Detective Bradley is by the book. FBI Agent Tilly‘s guys are keeping a watch on Justine.

The Red Court of Vampires is…
…no more (Changes).

The Fomor are…
…an undersea power and enemies to most. The Tuatha are their ancient enemy. Corb is the king and brings the head of an enemy as well as Ethniu, the Daughter of Balor, and the Last Titan. She carries the Eye of Balor, a weapon of mass destruction. Listen is one of his soldiers.

The Unseelie Accords are…
…the equivalent of the Geneva Conventions of our world, each signatory pledged to come to the aid of each other.

Mrs Spunkelcrief had run the boardinghouse where Harry used to live. Until it burned down. Brother Wang is the monk from whom Harry got Mouse. The Guard are a contingent of small fae who help Harry out. Goodman Grey is a mega-shapeshifter, a naagloshii (Skin Game). Paranoid Gary the Paranetizen is all that his name says, paranoid and crazy but not wrong. The Paranet is an Internet-based organization Harry and Elaine founded after events in White Night to help lesser talented magic users and work as an early warning system for things going bump in the night. Harvey Morrison had been a CPA in Skin Game. Conjuritis is an allergy? a cold? that causes you to sneeze and objects appear only to later melt into ectoplasm. Mike is Harry’s auto mechanic. Only the Hundred-Handed Ones knew the secret of titanic bronze. The Sidhe are the ruling class of Faerie.

Nicodemus Archleone from Death Masks, 5, is one of the Knights of the Blackened Denarius. Outsiders are aliens from another universe who want to eat your face off. A cornerhound, a.k.a., a Hound of Tindalos, is but one type of Outsider. Hades is the King of the Underworld (Skin Game). Mavra is with the Black Court of Vampires.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a cold range of amorphous blues and purples, so appropriate for Mab’s Winter Knight kneeling in his black leather overcoat, staff in hand, and fedora on his head as debris flies through the air. Harry stares out, concentrating on his foe. There’s an info blurb at the very top in a soft royal blue. Immediately beneath that is the author’s name in an embossed black with a white outline above Harry’s head. The title is an embossed white with a black shadow crossing Harry’s feet. Below that, in white, is the series information.

The title is the focus, the Peace Talks the Fomor have requested.

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