Dead Beat (novel)
|Cover artist||Christian McGrath|
|Series||The Dresden Files|
|May 3, 2005|
Published in English
|May 3, 2005|
|Dewey Decimal||813/.6 22|
|LC Class||PS3602.U85 D43 2005|
|Preceded by||Blood Rites|
|Followed by||Proven Guilty|
It's three days before Halloween and nearly a year after the events in Blood Rites. Mavra, from the previous novel, orders Dresden to locate The Word of Kemmler for her within 3 days, or Murphy will be set up for the murder of one of Mavra's minions last year. Dresden learns that Bob used to belong to Kemmler, the most powerful necromancer in a thousand years, and narrowly survives an encounter with an evil personality hidden within the spirit.
Investigating further, he rescues the medical examiner Waldo Butters from Grevane, an evil necromancer at the local morgue. During the encounter he learns of another book; Die Lied der Erlking. Searching for a copy of this book, he meets Shiela, a supposedly helpful clerk with a photographic memory, and has another run in with two mysterious, cloaked figures outside of an occult book store.
With Halloween fast approaching, Dresden learns that three groups of necromancers are planning to use the two books in a ritual that will turn them into a minor god. Seeking to stop the ritual, Harry contacts the White Council and prepares to summon the Erlking himself, to prevent any of the necromancers from doing so. While the summoning goes as planned, The two cloaked figures manage to free the Erlking. With help from a handful of Wardens, Butters, his half-brother Thomas, and a zombiefied Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex, the now Warden Dresden sets out to put a stop to the necromancers' plans.
When the dust settles, Harry finally has his hand on a copy of The Word of Kemmler. He gives it to Mavra along with a warning: Threaten his friends again and he will pull out all the stops, seizing whatever power he can (including the power in the book, Lasciel's coin, and an offer from the Queen of the Winter Court) and make a mission of putting Mavra down for good.
Plot points introduced
- The Erlking: a High Sidhe of the Wyldfae. Although he is independent of the Summer Court, he is the Summer King. He is the ruler of the goblins. He has the ability to lead the Wild Hunt and to summon the spirits of past hunters. These spirits take the form of great, black hunting hounds. (pp. 178–9,188)
- Lasciel: Dresden has conversations with the Fallen who inhabits the coin he touched in Death Masks. In desperation, he intentionally draws on her hellfire. (p. 157)
- The War: Capt. Luccio tells Dresden that the war between the Red Court and the White Council is going badly. The Red Court attacked the Council in the Nevernever, bringing the Sidhe into the conflict. Many Wardens were killed in an ambush at a safe site. Clearly, there is a traitor in the White Council, but his or her identity is still unknown. (p. 276)
- The Wardens: They were 200 law enforcement officers of the White Council. Their duties are to enforce the Seven Laws of Magic and to protect the Senior Council. One hundred forty-three Wardens were killed in the recent clashes with the Vampires. Dresden is drafted by Captain Luccio to bolster the ranks. (p. 276)
- The Wild Hunt: It is an autumn and winter gathering of the more predatory beings of Faerie. The Hunt will kill anyone and anything it encounters. One can avoid being hunted, by joining the Hunt. (p. 179)
- The Winter Knight: Queen Mab offers the position to Dresden for the second time. He declines even though he still owes Mab two favors. (p. 189)
- The Outsiders: These immortal, ancient beings were the servants and foot soldiers of the Old Gods. They dwell in the Netherworld, outside of this world and the Nevernever. One of the Seven Laws of Magic forbids opening a gate to the Outsiders. (p. 277)
- Grevane: A necromancer, a past apprentice of Kemmler.
- Artemis Bock: the owner, operator of Bock Ordered Books, a rare book store near the university, just a few blocks from Billy and Georgia’s apartment.
- Shiela Starr: an employee at Bock Ordered Books. She has eidetic memory, a total recall of anything she has read. Turns out, she's just a mental Image of Harry's, created by the shadow of Lasciel in his mind.
- Malcolm Dresden: Dresden's father, who died when he was six.
- Kumori: Cowl's associate; a necromancer, but not one of Kemmler's apprentices.
- Cowl: A necromancer, a past apprentice of Kemmler; he works with Kumori.
- Capiocorpus (Latin: Corpsetaker): AKA Alicia Nelson, a necromancer; a past apprentice of Kemmler; and an expert in mental magic.
- Li Xian: A ghoul and minion of Capiocorpus.
- Erlkoenig: aka the Elfking, the Master of the Wild Hunt. A powerful High Sidhe of the Wyldfae.
- Carlos Ramirez: A youthful warden, who admires Dresden's approach to many things. He is promoted to regional commander, working out of Los Angeles, CA.
- Anastasia Luccio: The Captain of the Wardens, in charge of the security for the White Council.
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- The first three chapters of the book may be found on the author's official site.