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Monthly Archives: July 2010

Harry Dresden, private investigator and the only wizard in the Chicagoland phone book.

He has battled the Queen’s of Faerie, Fallen Angels, Demons, Necromancers, and Vampires but when an old lover returns with some surprising news, things are about to change.

Hence the title.

Harry finds out on the fist page of the book that: a) he has a daughter, and b) that the Vampires of the Red Court want to sacrifice her the way of the old Mayan Gods.

Harry ain’t having any of it.

Now this book follows the conventions of the series: Client in Trouble, Harry figuring out the bad guys plans while dodging their attempts to kill him (and/or his client), final battle to stop a dread ritual. But this time Harry allies have been reduced by clever diplomacy from the Red Court and because it is her daughter life on the line, the stakes are higher than ever. The typical Dresden humor is there, as are the interfering fay, the tired gumshoe and the practical magic.

But the tension is cranked up to eleven when the odds get stacked to elebenty.  What makes this story stand out among the galaxy of exceptional Dresden stories that precede it is the decisions that Harry has to make, decisions that he has avoided or dodged until now.

Harry and his world won’t be the same.

I like the character’s growth in this one and how the story continues to expand beyond the borders of Chicago. To those who feel comfortable about the formulaic format of the series might find this expansion uncomfortable but I found it refreshing. And we learn more about Harry family both past and future in this story as well, thus deepening Harry as a character.

And the ending, well, I can tell you that I didn’t see that one coming, that’s for damn sure.

One word of warning, if you haven’t read any of the previous books in The Dresden Files series, don’t try to read this one. The first few books stood alone, but as the series has grown, so has the interwoven plot lines.  You won’t know who two-thirds of the characters are without having read the past volumes. So go ahead, pick them up and read them.

If you’re not a fan of Urban Fantasy, you will be after you read The Dresden Files.

I guarantee it.

Oh and one more thing, I want a dog like Mouse! 😉

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Or power groups. Many stories have them, they make for the perfect foil and introduce an element of villain cooperation as well as an army of faceless mooks for the hero to fight. SuD has several, most of the fictional but some real (or modeled after real organizations) such as:

  • Yakuza: Ethan meets the leader of the Yokohama Yakuza family. Just like their real life counterparts, they deal in corporate extortion, smuggling of narcotics/weapons, local politics, prostitution and gambling (legal or otherwise). Although honorable, they are criminals and ruthless to the core.
  • Red River: A PMC or Private Military Contractor/Company, i.e. a mercenary company. Three guesses on which real world company they are modeled after, and the first two don’t count.  Corporate and government security, cover operations (including wet work) and intelligence.  Their rank and file come from the best the world’s military forces  and intelligence services can offer (for the right price). Came into existence at the close of the Cold War but have familial links dating back to the filibusters of the mid 19th century America. They are often the muscle for,
  • The Syndicate:  An organization that protects, expands and furthers the interest of the Nephalim on the mortal realm. They use “secrecy in the service of survival” that is, using a series of front companies to allow their members to live in style and feed the “Hunger” without fear of retaliation from mortal authority.  Sometimes allied to,
  • The Cabal: A group of necromancers which trace their origins to the pre-Christian times, these are humans that trade/use spirits/demons from the beyond to further their ends. Their stated goal is to reverse the influence of demons on the mortal realm and make humanity the master of the forces of The Beyond. Most often opposed by,
  • Order of the Temple of Solomon: Better known as the Templars. A multi-denominational group (members come from every sect and branch of the Abrahamic religions). They exist to search and protect ancient knowledge connected to said religions. Mostly scholarly in their pursuits but knights pledged to the service of the Order are powerful exorcist and users of religious arcane lore.  The knights are recruited from existing knightly orders such as Knights Hospitalier/Malta and Papal Orders of Chivalry (although individuals are recruited from all available sources).
  • Bureau of Special Investigations: U.S. government organization created by President Wilson to deal with “paranormal” activity. They police the U.S. for dangerous mystical threats and deploy special forces augmented by individuals with “special” powers to deal with them. They international presence has diminished as other nations/power blocks have created their own forces to deal with said phenomena.

Of course you also have the U.S. Armed Forces, various governments (and government agencies) plus the Catholic Church. Makes for an extremely complicated cast of characters.

That is all for now.

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Another Character Write Up/Short.

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File Name: Alpha-357

Subject: Stephen Barclay Dalton

Psychological Evaluation #7

Interviewer:Alpha India- Pepper

Format: Free-Flow Q & A

Loading Record Logs……

Initiating Playback…..

Question #1: Mr. Dalton, what is your political affiliation?

<<Interviewer notes Non-Verbal/Facial Expressions showing annoyance at the subject of the question>>

Answer: Independent.

Follow-Up #1: Why?

Answer: Because I look to leaders to solve problems, not feed me ideology. Not that it matters which side of the Uni-Party system they claim to come from.

Follow-Up #2: Uni-Party System?

Answer: Yes, two party, one agenda.

Follow-Up #3: Which is?

Answer: To pay off their supporters and stay in power as long as they can manage it.

<< Subject displays a tendency to see conspiracy in the higher echelons of power>>

Question #2: Would you describe your ideological position as, a) Libertarian, b) Liberal, c) Social Conservative, d)Anarchist,  e) Neo-Conservative, f) Neo-Liberal,  g) Communist.

Answer: None of the above.

Follow Up Question #1: Why?

Answer: Why what?

Follow Up Question #2: Why None of the Above.

Answer: I don’t follow any ideology per say.  Pretty words don’t impress me, actions do. Most of the time politicians say one thing to sucker punch the electorate and do then do whatever the hell they want anyway.

<<Subject shows a high distrust of government and perhaps of the democratic process>>

Question# 3: Do you believe in democracy?

Answer: Of course I do! Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

<<Note subject defensive posture, raised voice and use of sarcasm >>

Follow Up #1: Yet you have reservations about the current administration.

Answer: That goes without saying. It should be a government for the people by the people and Osborne just shot the concept to hell and back.

Follow Up #2: And what would you do about it?

Answer: Whatever is necessary.

Follow Up #3: So the ends justify the means?

Answer: No, that’s how we got into this mess to begin with. You have to see the situation for what it is and use the necessary measures to restore democracy.

Follow Up #4: Such as?

Answer: Defend the weak, serve as an example to the people and support those who fight for a better future. I’m a soldier, I’ll do the fighting,someone else will take care of the politics. Once this war is over, I’ll be going home.

Interviewer: Thank you Mr. Dalton.

End of Session…..

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