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Peace Talks
Dresden Files #16
by Jim Butcher
Ace, $28.00, 352pp
Published: July 2020

Harry is back and his world is crazier and even more intense than normal. He's a little older and wiser and more mature than he used to be, doing his best to be a good father to Maggie, but he still has that wonderful wit and sense of humor, and a belief in justice, that makes him who he is: Harry Dresden.

At the beginning of the book, Thomas drops a mental bomb on Harry: Justine is pregnant and may not survive the pregnancy, since the baby's Hunger could well kill her. As Harry is just starting to digest that news, he's informed by the wizard council that the Fomor, the undersea race of creatures who caused the complete destruction of the Red Court in the previous book, have asked for peace talks among the supernatural powers that have signed the accords. Harry will be part of the security detail overseeing that summit.

The council members are unsure on Harry's allegiances these days, since he's still working for Mab and wearing the Winter Knight's mantel, and they are keeping a close eye on him. Even those he's fought side by side with before have begun to look at him askew.  Ebenezar McCoy, the most powerful wizard on earth, and Harry's grandfather, tries to talk sense into him, telling him to get his act together and quit hanging out with vampires, for nothing good will ever come of it. Ebenezar is referring to Harry's friend, Thomas, when he first starts lecturing him on the subject. Harry has yet to share with him the fact that Thomas is his brother and the wizard's grandson, since Ebenezar is quite adament on his dislike of the vampire race.

To throw a major monkey wrench into the mix, days before the summit, Thomas tries to assassinate the leader of the Svartalfs, right in the embassy where Harry and Maggie just happen to currently live. The Svartalfs and Lara Raith, the Queen of the White Court and Thomas’ half-sister, wonder if Harry had a hand in the attempt. After convincing them otherwise, Harry must figure out a way to save Thomas, fulfill his duties to both Mab and the Wizard Council, and continue to keep his daughter safe. So begins a delicate dance with friend and foe, establishing new alliances and severing old ones to do what he feels is right.

Jim Butcher is a masterful storyteller and he does not disappoint with this latest installment to The Dresden Files. The plot is spot-on and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. He fleshes out new and old characters and gives us glimmers of things to come.  He nearly drove me insane with the ending, leaving us all waiting for the next book with bated breath, like the silent serial movies of the past. Thankfully the next book will be released to the world before the end of 2020. ~~ Dee Astell

For other titles by Jim Butcher click here

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