Ghost Story (Butcher novel)
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|Cover artist||Christian McGrath|
|Series||The Dresden Files|
|Publication date||July 26th, 2011|
|Followed by||Cold Days|
Ghost Story is the 13th book in The Dresden Files, Jim Butcher's continuing urban fantasy series about Chicago wizard Harry Dresden. Initially, the story was to have been titled Dead, but this title was rejected. Butcher retitled it Ghost Story.
Immediately following the events of Changes, Harry finds himself between life and the afterlife, where he is informed that there has been an "irregularity" with his death and is given the option to return to Chicago as a spirit and find his killer. He elects to return and heads to Mortimer Lindquist's house, where he finds out that he has been dead for six months. Mort initially refuses to aid Harry, but after Harry helps to defend the house against an assault led by the Corpsetaker, Mort reluctantly agrees. Mort and Harry go to Murphy's house, and Harry is subjected to intense questioning by many of his friends and colleagues to verify his identity. Once satisfied, Murphy explains to Harry that the destruction of the Red Court created a worldwide power vacuum, allowing a group called the Fomor to rise to power.
The next night, Harry returns to Mort's to find that the house has been destroyed and Mort has been abducted. Harry tracks down Mort and finds him trapped by the Corpsetaker, who is torturing him in an attempt to steal his body. Harry summons the army of spirits that sheltered at Mort's, storms the hideout through the Nevernever, and takes down the wards, allowing his allies to physically assault the hideout. Harry returns to confront the Corpsetaker only to discover that she has consumed all of the spirits, increasing her power and giving her the ability to physically manifest - and the ability to steal a body, which she promptly does in the form of Butters. Molly attacks the Corpsetaker, who responds by entering her mind in an attempt to steal her body instead. Harry is quick to follow.
Molly and the Corpsetaker wage a pitched battle for Molly's mind as Harry seeks out Molly's mental command center. He finds it, and in the process unlocks a memory of his own. During Changes, Harry realized not only that he would have to become the Winter Knight in order to save his daughter, but also that Mab would then turn him into a monster. To prevent this from happening, Harry contacted Kincaid and arranged for his own assassination. In order to prevent Mab from discovering this plan, he then had Molly remove the memory of it.
With Harry having remembered the true events that he arranged, Uriel appears and explains that a fallen angel interfered with Harry's death. The fallen angel's direct influence permitted Uriel to respond in kind, allowing Harry to come back and learn the truth. Uriel then offers Harry the choice to come to work for him, or continue on to What Comes Next. Harry demands to see how his loved ones fare in order to make in informed choice. Uriel complies, showing Harry that Molly was successful in defeating the Corpsetaker with Mort's help, that Maggie has been lovingly adopted by the Carpenters, and that Harry's other loved ones are safe and well. Satisfied by what he sees, Harry elects to move on.
He awakens on Demonreach Island, where his body has lain in the care of Queen Mab and the spirit of Demonreach for the past six months. Mab is simultaneously angry and pleased by Harry's attempt to shirk her service, and tells Harry to prepare himself for her to turn him into her creature. Uriel takes this opportunity to officially balance the scales, whispering to Harry "Lies, Mab cannot change who you are." Harry realizes the truth of this and tells Mab that he will be her devoted knight but will carry out her orders in his own way, and will not permit her to turn him into her monster.
Summary of changes in Harry's life/Dresdenverse
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- Dresden is shot, falls off the boat into Lake Michigan, and dies. He returns to Chicago as a ghost, six months later.
- As a ghost, Harry can no longer use magic that will affect the mortal world.
- Harry's former home has been converted into a castle-like building, the headquarters for Murphy's "Justice League" of Chicago, built with money from Marcone and staffed by Harry's allies.
- Molly confronts Harry with the fact that she loves him, and that he is the only being with whom she can feasibly have a relationship, as her entire family will eventually die of old age without her.
- Demonreach is revealed to be highly protective of Harry, keeping Harry's body alive while his soul performs its tasks while a "parasite" is mentioned being the one to keep the flow of blood going in his body.
- Uriel gives Harry much more information than usual, including how he died, and why his death was irregular.
- Mab reveals Harry's "death" did not allow him out of his contract with her to be the Winter Knight, because his soul was only 'separated' from his live body, but Harry realizes he does not have to end up like his predecessor and can remain his own man despite being beholden to Mab.
List of characters
- Captain Jack Murphy: Karrin's father and the informal head of Chicago PD's in "between" squad.
- Sir Stuart Winchester: A captain in the Colonial Marines, and an ancestor of Mort's. Stu guards Mort's house out of friendship and respect. He has standing orders to deny entry to any uninvited ghost(s). Stu and his allies have been defending Mort's home from nightly attacks by wraiths and lemurs.
- Evil Bob: Revealed later in the book to be the part of Bob that Harry ordered him to lock away in Dead Beat - the only way for Bob to do as such was to amputate that part of himself; Evil Bob is the knowledge that Bob removed.
Ghost Story in other media
- Butcher announced on his website on June 27, 2011 that James Marsters, who had previously recorded all the Dresden Files novels in audio book form, would be unavailable to record Ghost Story. He was replaced by John Glover.
- This book is available as an e-book in Kindle and Nook formats.
- "Twitter / Jim Butcher: After that, some short pie". Twitter.com. 2011-04-03. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
- Posted by priscellie at 8:50 pm (2011-07-26). "AAAA News". Jim Butcher. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
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- The first five chapters of the book are found on the author's official website.
- The Butcher Block: A podcast about Jim and his books.
- The official Jim Butcher Site