The Vault of Hades

One thing that did go roughly according to plan was that I followed Hades with finally reading Butcher's Skin Game.  And that took about a day (I can't remember if it made it to two or not).

I mentioned, in reviewing Cold Days, that he had kind of taken a step back, to get more of a strategic view than a tactical one.  Well, not unexpectedly, Skin Game was a step back in, and was very immediately focused around Dresden.

You could certainly see where much of what happened would have wider reverberations in that strategic view from the last book, but it was very tightly focused on Dresden and the people around him.

And the people around him... well, let's just say that I wish I'd re-read the whole series.  Several of the people who showed up were significant in earlier books, but my memories of most of them were very vague.

Basically, Dresden was hired out, by Mab, to Nicodemus of the Denarii.  And he was to help Nicodemus raid the vault of Hades (amusing coincidence, reading this right after The House of Hades) to steal the Holy Grail.  Oddly, the latter point doesn't come out for quite a while, in the book, but I mention it since it somehow made it onto the dust cover summary.

Dresden's mission is to help Nicodemus up to the point of getting the artefact, then find a way to screw Nicodemus as hard as he can.  And survive, somehow.

And Nicodemus' other helpers are not people with whom Dresden wants to be associated, as you'd expect.

My one complaint of the book is that Dresden mentions an ace in the hole fairly early on, and says he can't talk about it; he has to play his cards very close to the chest.  That was how he tried to keep from alienating both Karrin and Butters, to varying degrees of success.  Of course we didn't see the scene where it was set up; no issue there.  But we don't get a hint of it when we're in his thoughts either, and there were several circumstances where he would have at least been thinking about it.  Nobody can play their cards THAT close to their chest.

In any event, when we do find out about it, we find out a system was set up.  It might be worth re-reading the book, just to check on that system.  I'll have to think about it.  And this really made me want to reread a bunch of earlier books.  That's been on my queue for a while; I might need to move it up a bit.

In any event, this book met all my expectations.  The only thing it might have done, that it didn't, was that it hinted again at Dresden's mother, but we still didn't find out anything about her.  I've been looking for that since the first book, when Dresden met Chauncy.  I hope he gets around to it.

I also mentioned, in the last book, about how Dresden had had so many of his toys taken away recently.  Well, he had remade a staff in this one, and he might have gone a heck of a lot further as well for the next book.  Plus, he's got a little bit of money that kind of fell into his hands.  It's unclear how much it is, but certainly a lot more than he's ever had before.

Oh, and Dresden finally met Maggie, and he and Karrin finally decided to pick up where they were right before he got "killed".  Plus, another child enters the picture, in a very odd way.  That part is actually another reason to go back and reread previous books, though I'm not sure how much they'll reveal.

Anyway, it was an excellent book, and I'm anxiously awaiting the next volume.

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