- Dead Beat (novel)
Author(s) Jim Butcher Cover artist Christian McGrath Country United States Language English Series The Dresden Files Genre(s) Fantasy/Mystery Publisher Roc Hardcover Publication date May 3, 2005 Published in
May 3, 2005 Media type Hardcover Pages 396 ISBN 0451460278 OCLC Number 57069616 Dewey Decimal 813/.6 22 LC Classification 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, forces Dresden to locate The Word of Kemmler for her within 3 days, or Murphy will be setup for the murder of one of Mavra's minions last year.
Dresden has not heard of The Word, so he consults Bob, who used to belong to Kemmler, a powerful necromancer, the Word most likely being his journal or spellbook, and certainly hunted by his apprentices. Dresden consults Dr. Butters, the Chicago assistant coroner, about any peculiar recent deaths that could be linked to necromancy. They are attacked by zombies under the necromancer Grevane. Harry and Butters escape to Dresden's warded apartment. Dresden leaves Butters with Mouse to follow a lead, the book Die Lied der Erlking Grevane was using.
Dresden searches forDie Lied der Erlking at an arcane book store near the University of Chicago. He meets Sheila, a recently hired employee of the bookstore, who assists him in finding a copy. Outside the bookstore, Dresden is attacked by two wizards, Cowl and a his attendant Kumori, for possession of the book. Fighting them to a standstill and utterly exhausted, Harry is saved by the Alphas, who are students at the University. With police sirens getting closer, Kumori and Cowl flee, and the Alphas get Harry home to rest.
Dresden visits his old friend Mortimer Lindquist for some answers, who points out locate six areas of Black Magic which the local spirits are avoiding and where recent murders occurred. Dresden and Butters confirm that one of the Black Magic area victims was ritually murdered, and accidentally find flash drive in a corpse.
Dresden gets a message from Sheila, asking him to come by the bookstore. While there, Capiocorpus (from Latin capio, "I take" and corpus, "body") and Li Xian begin interrogating the bookstore owner about the Erlking book. Dresden attempts to fight them off but is injured and overpowered by the duo who take his copy of the book. He is rescued by Ms. Gard - under orders from Johnny Marcone. He gives Dresden some information about the sidewalk murder and drops him off at the hospital emergency room. Thomas agrees to guard Butters, while Dresden summons his fairy godmother, Leanansidhe. Instead, Queen Mab answers his call. Mab tells Dresden that the Erlking is able to summon the spirits of past hunters for the Wild Hunt. Kemmler devised a way to devour the energy of the dead and turn himself into a demi-god. And, Darkhallow is Halloween. Queen Mab will tell Dresden everything he wants to know, if he becomes her Winter Knight. As her Knight, Dresden would have more than enough power to defeat these necromancers. Dresden declines her tempting offer and Mab vanishes.
Dresden assumes the Darkhallow ritual will cause the Erlking to appear and summon the spirits of past hunters for the Wild Hunt. Then, the necromancer devours the energy of those spirits and turns into a demi-god. He guesses that the ritual only creates one demi-god, hence the competition among Kemmler's students. Back at his apartment, Dresden brings Thomas up to speed. Suddenly, Grevane besieges the apartment. Then, Capiocorpus arrives and attacks Grevane. While they are fighting, Dresden, Thomas, Mouse, and Butters escape, and hide in Murphy's house. That night, Lasciel's image appears in his dream and makes a similar offer to empower Harry. Dresden declines her tempting offer and Lasciel's image vanishes.
The next day is Halloween - Darkhallow. Dresden has until sunset to figure out where The Word is hidden and prevent the Darkhallow ritual. Overwhelmed, Dresden calls on the White Council. The Wardens will come in force to deal with Kemmler's apprentices. Since Capiocorpus and Li took the Elrking book from him, Dresden must rely on Sheila's eidetic memory. As she recites the book, he identifies the summoning ritual by its rhythm and phrasing patterns. Leaving her apartment, Dresden is accosted by Kumori. She promises if he leaves town now, he won't be killed, but Dresden refuses.
Dresden arrives early at McAnally's, so he can have a peaceful dinner before his meeting with the Wardens. With so many Wardens killed in the war with the Red Court, Captain Luccio deputizes him as a Warden and a regional commander, much to the dismay of Warden Morgan who has never trusted Harry.
After planning, Dresden summons and traps the Erlking, so no one else can summon him during the Darkhallow. The Erlking assaults and the containment circle and it holds until Cowl attacks Dresden forcing him to lose concentration and the circle collapses. The Erlking summons the Wild Hunt. Cowl distracts Dresden, while Kumori kidnaps Bob. Dresden and Butters go to Sheila's for help from the Erlking book. Butters tells Dresden that he is talking to himself in an empty room, and Dresden realizes Sheila is imaginary and the working of Lasciel. She again offers to help Dresden, but Harry realizes accepting help from Lasciel is a path down a slippery slope to total dependence upon her. He mentally binds her. With his mind clear, Dresden realizes the flash drive data are GPS coordinates.
After stealing a GPS unit, Butters locates The Word in the Field Museum - next to Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Grevane and his associate close in on them. Harry tells Butters and Mouse to flee to safety. Dresden quickly flips through The Word, so Lasciel can read it. Grevane captures Dresden and takes The Word. He gives the manacled Dresden to his associate, Quintus Cassius, the former host for Saluriel who Dresden previously brutally assaulted and humiliated. Cassius begins torturing Dresden, but Butters returns with Mouse, who attacks and kills Cassius. Forewarned, Cassius gives Dresden his death curse as he dies "DIE ALONE." The powerful curse knocks Dresden unconscious. He dreams that he makes a truce with Lasciel and she translates the German text of The Word for him.
To be able to go near the Darkhallow, one must surround oneself with traces of necromancer-magic (by performing it). With Butters as his drummer, Dresden raises Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex from the dead, and they head to the gathering maelstrom over a local college. The five wardens are already on campus, fighting a group of zombies. Dresden runs Sue into the zombies and splatters them. The zombies sideline Warden Yoshimo. Sue eats Li. A wave of specters kill Warden Kowalski. Sue obliterates many of those specters, and Captain Luccio is gutted by Capiocorpus out of sight of Harry. Thinking quickly, Capriocorpus switches bodies with Luccio and when Harry enters the alley, he is greeted by Capriocorpus in Luccio's body.
Dresden recognizes Capriocorpus within Luccio's body and shoots her dead. Warden Morgan witnesses the shooting and it reinforces his belief that Harry is a traitor. Morgan viciously attacks Dresden and is about to kill him, but is shot by Warden Ramirez, who soulgazed Capiocorpus and confirmed that Captain Luccio is now trapped inside the necromancer's body.
Dresden and Ramirez ride off on Sue to face Grevane, Kumori, and Cowl. They face Grevane and his zombies first. Sue mows down the zombies, while Dresden slugs it out with Grevane. After Ramirez shoots Grevane, they are ambushed by Kumori and Cowl. Ramirez is sidelined. Dresden attacks Cowl, but Cowl is too powerful for him and Kumori ends up holding Dresden at knifepoint. Bob, forced to reveal the contents of the Word of Kemmler to Cowl, signals to Harry that he is still allied with him. Harry releases Bob and his spirit enters Sue. As Sue, Bob eats Kumori. Quickly, Dresden smashes his staff into Cowl's face, disrupting the spell. The backlash from the botched Darkhallow spell apparently kills Cowl and knocks Dresden unconscious.
When Dresden awakes, the Erlking confronts him about Dresden trying to ensnare him, but is pleased with Dresden's summoning of Sue for The Wild Hunt as well as his nerve. Dresden pockets The Word for his deal with Mavra. Then, Dresden and Butters evacuate everyone to Harry's apartment. Listens-to-Wind and his fellow healers arrive and moved the wounded to a more secure location.
Dresden hurries to his meeting with Mavra, and they swap the Word for the photos, and Dresden warns Mavra against threatening his friends again. Later, Morgan almost says he is sorry that he misjudged Dresden. The story closes as Butters gives Dresden a guitar as therapy for his burned hand.
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)
- Harry Dresden: The protagonist, a professional wizard, and he's in the phone book.
- Bob: An intelligent air spirit who resides within a skull in Dresden's sub-basement laboratory. He was formerly owned by the infamous necromancer, Kemmler.
- Mister: Dresden's 30+ pound house cat.
- Mouse: Dresden's Tibetan Temple Dog. Since his introduction he has grown to an enormous size. He has the uncanny ability to sense evil before it strikes. He loves going for rides in the Blue Beetle; he’s all about the journey, not the destination—very Zen.
- Thomas Raith: Dresden's half-brother and roommate, a White Court vampire, and he was banished from House Raith in Blood Rites. He has trouble holding a job for more than two weeks.
- The Brownies: A group of Summer Court faeries who run a cleaning service.
- Lieutenant Karrin Murphy: Director of Special Investigations, Chicago PD. She is vacationing in Hawai’i, but she gives Dresden a house key to water her plants.
- Mavra: A venerable Black Court vampire and a very capable sorceress. Dresden and Kincaid thought they had killed her in Blood Rites.
- Billy: A werewolf; D&D dungeonmaster; leader of the Alphas, a group of college-age werewolves; married to fellow werewolf Georgia.
- Georgia: A werewolf; a Psychology PhD student at the University of Chicago; married to fellow werewolf Billy.
- Mortimer Lindquist: the most powerful ectomancer Dresden has ever met. He sees dead people.
- Queen Mab: The Queen of Air and Darkness; the monarch of the Court of the Winter Sidhe, the Unseelie Faeries.
- Henry Rawlins: One of the Chicago PD's "old hands", Rawlins is a cop who gets the job done and has little patience for politics. He has been demoted from detective twice. After he was saved from an unknown creature by Murphy's father, he has kept an open mind about the supernatural. He has been moved to the SI department and is currently Murphy's partner.
- Gentleman Johnny Marcone: The crime lord of Chicago.
- Hendricks: One of Gentleman Johnny Marcone’s bodyguards.
- Ms. Gard: An employee of Monoc Securities on hire to Johnny Marcone as a magical and supernatural consultant. She is a Valkyrie.
- Dr. Waldo Butters: Night shift coroner (medical examiner) at the Cook County morgue (Forensic Institute). He tips off Dresden and Murphy when he gets odd causes of death or the corpses of paranormal creatures. He provides off-the-books medical aid, when going to a hospital could be dangerous or awkward.
- 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.
Dead Beat in other media
- This book is available as a Kindle book.
At the end of Chapter 27, both Billy and Dresden ride the elevator in his office building down (separately) despite the fact that there is no power. (And, despite the fact that even with a hurt leg, Harry avoids using that particular elevator.) On the very next page, beginning of Chapter 28, he cannot ride the elevator in Shelia's apt. because there is no power.
- The first three chapters of the book may be found on the author's official site.
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