Cold Days is the fourteenth novel in The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher, released on November 27th, 2012. It has fifty-three chapters, and a two chapter excerpt is included at the end of the paperback edition of Ghost Story. A previous title was Winter Knight. and Jim Butcher announced its current title on April 4, 2011.
In Arctis Tor, Mab and Sarissa, a changeling with ties to the Winter Court, nurse Harry Dresden back to health, all the while training him in barehanded combat. Fully recovered, a party is thrown to celebrate his birthday and his status as Winter Knight. Maeve sets him up to a fight with the Redcap, which Dresden wins. Mab exiles Maeve from the court and assigns him his first mission: to kill her daughter.
Upon return to Chicago, Dresden sets up to steal Bob from Waldo Butters' apartment and learns that immortals can be killed on the occasion of a conjunction, one of which is Halloween, two days hence. Dresden then proceeds reestablishing his connections with the Za-Lord's Guard, Molly Carpenter and Thomas Raith; Molly informs him that power is accumulating in Demonreach, enough to explode in the near future.
With Molly's and Thomas' help, Dresden checks the island, learning that the island is a prison created by The Original Merlin himself to containing a massive number of supernatural entities, the Naagloshii being the least of them. He is now the prison's de facto Warden. The island is under attack, and if it is not stopped, the prison's fail-safe will trigger, releasing enough magical energy to destroy a significant portion of the Midwest.
In his hunt for information, Dresden consults with many magical powers, including Donar Vadderung, Lily, Maeve, Titania, both Faerie Mothers, and Rashid, the Gatekeeper. In between attacks from the Outsiders and the Winter faeries, he learns that he is at the center of the events, and about the existence of the Contagion, a disease that so deeply twists a living being's fundamental nature that it must destroyed on sight. He also learns that he is the spearpoint in the fight against the Outsiders. Karrin Murphy joins him, but refuses him access to the Swords.
In a hit against Dresden, the Redcap kidnaps McAnally, Butters, Andi and Justine, managing to wound him with a hawthorn dart, but this does not stop Dresden from organizing the party infiltrating Demonreach, including the kidnapped ones, Molly, . On their way to the island, they hear the horn of the Wild Hunt under the lead of the Erlking directed towards them; Kringle engages Dresden and Murphy in combat. Dresden beats both of them, assuming leadership of the Wild Hunt and repurposing it against the Outsiders on Demonreach; the fight is short, brutal and messy, but in the end only a distraction.
Dresden lets the Wild Hunt after the remaining Outsiders; he leads his party toward the summit of Demonreach: a Circle of Power is active and is used by Lily and Maeve against the island's Genius loci; Fix attacks him, but Dresden renders him unconscious, only to be attacked by Lily. Hhaving determined that Maeve has been corrupted by the Nemesis, attacks her, but she defeats him, prompting him to Mab, who confronts Maeve. Maeve refuses to yield to her mother, before killing Lily, with the mantle of the Summer Lady to pass to Sarissa. Murphy kills Maeve, transferring the mantle of the Winter Lady to Molly.
Dresden confronts Mab and is rebuked; but she admits that she has finally found a Knight worth the trouble. Everything can be traced back to Morgana's athame, which was the vessel that carried the Nemesis in Chicago. After Mab has left, Kringle informs Dresden to respect her pride, also mentioning that Mantles can be worn and discarded. He and Karrin Murphy have a talk, she admits that, whatever it happens, she'll always have his back. Dresden remains on the island, picking up a branch from its oldest oak tree to use in making a new staff.
Plot points introducedEdit
- Fae Mantles: It has become clear that the positions of Winter and Summer Knights and Queens are mantles showing a personality of their own, independent from that of their wearers. In the long run, the mantles take charge. However, Kringle states that on occasion mantles can be removed; it is not clear whether on the wearer's volition or on external circumstances.
- Karrin Murphy: She forces Harry to engage in a deeper relationship with her; not yet a love bond, but more than a friendship. They both acknowledge the possibility of romance between them, but Karrin is still hesitant, because of their disparate rates of aging, because of his darker side being tempted by the Winter mantle, and because she sees him being drawn ever closer to Molly, who she thinks may be a better match for him in the long run.
- Molly Carpenter: With her becoming the new Winter Lady, and one of Harry's bosses, it may be supposed that Harry will engage in a deeper and more nuanced relationship with her than they've had thus far.
- Maggie: She will likely assume a greater significance in Harry's life, now that he believes he may escape the corrupting influence of the mantle.
- Nemesis: Also known as The Adversary, a sort of mind virus from The Outside, that can infect individuals, mortals or immortals alike, and convert them to the Outsiders' sinister cause. It keeps its existence secret, infecting or killing those known to be aware of it. Harry now thinks that Nemesis is a larger, more general case of the corruption he'd previously called the Black Council. The Adversary can entirely corrupt its victims' own nature, including allowing the Sidhe to speak outright lies.
- Home life: Harry's former home and job are destroyed, as are most of his possessions. He has more or less taken up residence in Demonreach, though Molly Carpenter has kept a guest room open for him in her new apartment. He will have an income from his Warden status on the White Council, assuming the Gatekeeper can make good on his promise to fix the paperwork.
- Harry's elevation in status: Harry is no longer exactly leading an ordinary mortal existence, having within the space of a year returned from the dead, been made Winter Knight (on a level with Sidhe nobles), and Warden of Demonreach. He has bested two high-ranking Outsiders and lived, led the Wild Hunt, bested the Summer Knight in single combat, and been granted personal favors by Archangel Uriel. According to Maeve and the Erlking, he is a "starborn", a term probably related to his unusual ability to affect Outsiders with magic. He's been warned that his new status will attract the attention of greater powers. At the same time, as Winter Knight, Harry feels the constant and increasing pressure to give in to his darker nature.
- Part 1: The Dresden Files Reread: Book 14, Cold Days Pt. 1 | Tor.com ~ Summary
- Part 2: The Dresden Files Reread: Book 14, Cold Days Pt. 2 | Tor.com ~ Summary
- Part 3: The Dresden Files Reread: Book 14, Cold Days Pt. 3 | Tor.com ~ Summary
- Cold Days - Wikipedia
- Cold Days (#14) | Jim Butcher
- Goodreads | Cold Days (The Dresden Files, #14) by Jim Butcher