Monday, April 23, 2018

Book Summary: Death Masks (Dresden Files, Book 5), By Jim Butcher Jim Butcher
ISBN: 0451459407
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The following book summary and all of the book summaries featured here contain spoilers and are intended as a resource for people who have already read this book. While this summary is thorough it is not exhaustive. If you have not yet read this book, our content based review does not include spoilers.

Death Masks Plot Summary

Chapter 1: On a Larry Fowler set (tv talk show), Mortimer Lindquist (ectomancer) tells Harry that Susan is in Peru before they are joined by Father Vincent and Paolo Ortega (an ancient and high ranking red court vampire). Ortega threatens everyone Harry knows unless Harry faces him in a duel claiming that if Harry wins Chicago becomes a neutral zone and if Harry dies they will have peace talks with the White Council. Harry agrees to duel under Accords.

Chapter 2: On the way out Father Vincent approaches Harry about doing a job for him (referred by Father Forthill). They are attacked by a gunman in the parking garage, but the gunman runs off when Harry pulls out a shotgun. While trying to escape in the blue beetle Harry sees more shooters one of which is Hendricks (who works for Marcone).

Chapter 3: Father Vincent, who doesn't trust the police, asks Harry to secretly recover the Shroud of Tourin (cloth supposedly wrapped around Christ's body at resurrection). It was stolen from Italy but they think it's in Chicago for sale because the leader of the Churchmice (an organized group of church robbers) was found murdered with papers indicating that he had been headed to Chicago. Two other Churchmice (Anna Valmont & Francisca Garcia) are believed to have the artifact. Harry goes home to find two unknown people fighting. One runs off and the other turns out to be Susan.

Chapter 4: Susan was fighting a red court vampire. After a kiss escalates (courtesy of the narcotic in Susan's saliva) and is cut short by Mister (Harry's cat) Susan makes it clear that she can no longer be safely intimate with anyone - especially with Harry - due to the risk of her losing control (and ripping out his throat). Susan is quitting her job at the Arcane and warns Harry that Ortega is a powerful warlord, and most of the red court doesn't agree with his solution (the duel) to end the war as they like the excuse to run around killing wizards. Their discussion is interrupted by Martin (Susan's associate) and Susan tells Harry she'll try to call him. Karen Murphy asks Harry to come look at a body at the morgue.

Chapter 5: At the morgue, Waldo Butters (the polka loving assistant medical examiner - demoted after correctly reporting that the burned remains from the Velvet Room were not entirely human) shows them the headless corpse. The left hand is missing and the chest is significantly sliced up. Butters believes the man was tortured before death but died of many diseases/plagues (many extinct and some unknown) that all suddenly became active in his body at the same time. The body has a small tattoo that looks like an open eye. Harry points Murphy towards the Churchmice death and says he'll try to figure out about the tattoo. After leaving the morgue he passes an old homeless guy with a wooden cane and a young black man before realizing he's being followed, turning around and being attacked by a bear like creature with two sets of eyes.

Chapter 6: With the bear thing in toe Harry runs into the young black man, grabs him and keeps running. When they run into the old homeless guy, Harry turns to fight. It doesn't go well and he ends up in a soul gaze with the bear-creature where he realizes it's actually a human man with some other heavy weight presence. The Soul gaze leaves Harry stunned and helpless. Fortunately, both the young black man(Sanya) and the homeless guy (Shiro) are actually Knights of the cross and together with Michael Carpenter they kill the bear creature after it refuses to stop both in the voice of the man and the other presence. A coin drops from the dead body and they carefully collect it without touching it. Harry realizes that the presence (Ursiel) was one of the fallen (as in fallen angels). Michael tells Harry that there are 29 more and they are after him.

Chapter 7: Harry follows the three Knights back to Saint Mary of the Angels Cathedral where he has a quick conversation about beliefs with Sanya (the newest knight who claims to be agnostic despite receiving his sword from an archangel - much to Harry's amusement), Shiro tells him that they know he's looking for the shroud and Michael explains that the fallen didn't want to kill Harry but recruit him. They explain that once you touch a Fallen's coin the fallen temps you and can give you power and Harry realizes what a temptation that would be for him (considering his upcoming duel with Ortega). The Knights gave the coin to Father Forthill for safe keeping. Michael begs Harry to keep out of this case for his own safety and Harry walks out.

Chapter 8: Back home, Bob tells him that:
- The Accords allow him to choose the weapon for the duel and Ortega gets to choose the location. Harry has to get a second.
- Bob recognizes the tattoo as the Eye of Thoth but says many groups use it.
- Bob wants nothing to do with the fallen when Harry shows him a drawing of the symbol he saw on Ursiel's (bear thing) forehead as well as the coin. He explains that not only are the fallen (Denarians) super powerful etc but the humans they inhabit are also skilled and practically immortal giving them limitless time to gain knowledge, skill and power.
- Bob says he doesn't exist on the same wavelength as the shroud as he's a spirit of intellect and the Shroud is an artifact of faith.
- Bob tells Harry he can contact Ulsharavas (an oracle spirit) to find the Shroud.
Harry sends Bob out to gather info on other stuff while he summons the oracle spirit. Ulsharavas tells Harry the location of the thieves in exchange for Harry honestly answering the question of why he does what he does. Harry honestly answered that he didn't know. Before leaving Ulsharavas tells Harry that the Knights want him to not be involved because they heard the first part of a prophesy that said if Harry went after the Shroud he would die. The part the Knights don't know says that if Harry doesn't go after the Shroud they will all die as will the city.

Chapter 9: Harry decides to move forward in his search for the shroud, but wait till Sunlight to move on the thieves' location. He make up a couple anti-red country vampire venom potions. Ebaneezer McCoy calls to tell Harry not to worry about the duel, but Harry explains that it needs to happen. Bob returns injured just before dawn and reports that Marcone has wards, and Ortega has half a dozen vampires with him plus a dozen mortals. Harry tells Bob to get sleep then something sets off his wards.

Chapter 10: His visitors are The Archive (a seven year old girl carrying the sum of human written knowledge) who has been appointed emissary over the duel, as well as Kincaid - her driver. Harry names the Archive - Ivy. Ivy tells Harry he has till sundown to choose a second or his life is forfeit.

Chapter 11: Harry calls Vincent who wants to keep the police out of it and agrees to have fragments of the Shroud sent over. Harry calls Michael, but ends up leaving a message with a hostile Charity about needing a second by sundown or bad things will happen.

Chapter 12: At the dock, Harry sneaks into the boat, finds the Shroud, and gets caught. The two women are waiting for their partner and learn from Harry that he's dead. While Harry is handcuffing himself a Denarian shows up.

Chapter 13: Havoc ensues. Francisca is killed, the denarian takes off with what she believes to be the Shroud and leaves. The boat starts taking on water but Anna hits Harry over the head and takes off with the real Shroud. Harry gets a few things from the boat, gets out and goes home.

Chapter 14: Harry calls Vincent to report, finds out Vincent has a sample of the Shroud in town, and tells Vincent to drop it off at his office. He finds Marriott 2345 on a pad he took from the boat. He also took a cell phone, but decides to give that to Murphy to investigate.

Butters calls to say the germs in the samples he took from the dead body are gone. Harry explains that sunrise zeroed out the magic. Butters says that the same weapon took off the man's head and arm as cut up his chest. Susan arrives and Harry discovers that she's not in a relationship with Martin, but she's taking a job in Peru. He can come with her, but he won't because people back in Chicago would be hurt if he left. They agree that it would be unfair to both of them to stay together (relationship wise) and be apart and alone. Susan goes to run down the Marriott lead for him.

Chapter 15: Harry sleeps until his alarm goes off then heads to Michael's. No one is home except Molly who is sneaking home in her school outfit that her mother doesn't know about. Harry and Molly briefly discuss his relationship with Susan. Charity comes home with the other kids and Shiro. Michael and Sanya are gone and Michael may not be home in time. Shiro volunteers to be Harry's second and goes off to arrange the meeting.

Chapter 16: Shiro tells Harry the meetings time (that evening) and place. Harry leaves to prepare. Murphy is waiting for Harry and says the weapon used on the headless body also killed Francisca. She warns him that he was described leaving the boat and has enemies in the department. Homicide connected the dots to Italy and kicking Murphy off the case. Murphy leaves, and Harry returns a call to Susan. She discovered an Art Gala going on at the Marriott hotel and procured tickets for the two of them. Harry's meeting is at McAnnally's and Susan says she'll meet him there.

Chapter 17: Harry stops by his office and picks up the tiny thread from the missing Shroud then picks up Shiro. At McAnnally's they are joined by Kincaid (representing the archive), Ortega, and Ortega's second (Thomas Raith - white court vampire). While Kincade and the seconds figure things out Harry and Ortega talk. Ortega says the only alternative to the duel would be is Harry agrees to let Ortega turn him into a red court vampire. Harry refuses and Ortega says he'll kill Harry.

Chapter 18: After Ortega and Kincade leave Thomas warns Harry that Ortega will find a way to cheat. Harry thanks him for the heads up and Thomas avoids answering why he warned him. Thomas leaves and Shiro tells Harry the weapon was set to wills. It's set for the following evening at Wrigley Field. Shiro tells Harry that the war with vampires is not his fault. He was their excuse, but they were preparing for war before his actions. He says Ortega is trying to stop the war now only because they started prematurely. He also says, Ortega will try to see him dead regardless of the duels outcome. Shiro takes a cab back to Michael's and Susan/Martin pick Harry up in a limo with a change of clothes.

Chapter 19: Harry and Susan run into Marcone at the Gala where Harry discovers Marcone didn't know his men took a shot at Harry, and Marcone is now employing Miss Gard who Harry believes to be responsible for Marcone's new and strong wards. It seems likely that Marcone is the buyer for the Shroud. Harry and Susan hurry to get to the Shroud before an exchange can happen. Harry finds Anna, tries to get the Shroud, but ends up shot. Then three Denarians arrive.

Chapter 20: One of the Denarians was the female who attacked them on the boat (Deirdre). The other two were new (Nicodemus - Deirdre's father & another snake like Denarian ). Fighting Ensues. Anna comes up short with a gun, Harry does magic grabs Anna and runs, Susan kicks some Denarian butt, it goes badly, Harry assists, tattoos appear on Susan's body, a Denarian sees them and says the fellowship is here, more tussling, Harry with Anna and Susan run for the limo. Susan and Anna get away, but Harry (with the Shroud) is caught by Nicodemus and knocked out.

Chapter 21:
Harry wakes up a helpless prisoner of Nicodemus who reveals that he has fond memories of and respected Harry's mother. He also calls Harry her youngest child, lets Harry know that he won't underestimate him, takes responsible for editing the Knights prophesy, says Harry does what he does out of fear of what he could become, and gives him a join up (with a coin) or die ultimatum. Harry goes with the die option.

Chapter 22:
Last minute Shiro arrives and bargains his life for Harry's freedom. Shiro agrees to be at Nicodemus's mercy and not try to escape for 24 hours. Shiro gives Harry his sword (Fidelacchius) and tells him to go. Nicodemus sends Deirdre after him and he runs.

Chapter 23:
Harry finds Susan and Martin waiting in the car, they're pursued to Harry's house where Harry and Susan jump out of the moving car.

Chapter 24: Their pursuers followed Martin in the car. An entropy curse comes looking for Harry before they can get into his apartment and Harry and Susan quickly get inside behind his wards. Susan's vampire thirst is worked up and she needs to leave but with Harry's strong defenses in play she is trapped with him for hours. In an attempt to help, Harry goes to clean up his bullet wound, but when he comes back out Susan is worse and says he needs to find a way to restrain her.

Chapter 25: Harry gets Susan talking and she explains that The a Fellowship of Saint Giles is made up of half turned vampires like her who try to help people harmed by the red court. Her tattoos are a spell that both helps bind her vampire aspects and warns when they are getting too much control over her. Harry uses an enchanted rope to bind a willing Susan to keep her from killing him. Harry sees to her injuries until his doctoring leads to her requesting intimacy and their attention goes elsewhere. Afterwards, they sleep separately for a little while.

Chapter 26: After they wake up, Susan explains that when Harry was taken she, Martin and Anna went to Michael's house. Both Michael and Sanya were still MIA but Shiro knew where Harry was. Nothing has changed between Harry and Susan. When the magic ends, they head to the Carpenter's with intent to rescue Shiro.

Chapter 27: Father Forthill is at the Carpenters while Charity takes the kids to a relative's home. Michael and Sanya (not yet back) were jailed for 24 hours in Saint Louis while investigating potential Denarian activity then released. Forthill tells Harry that Nicodemus has killed over one hundred Knights and the fallen Nicodemus tried to give Harry is Lasciel. Based on the news they determine that Nicodemus has already moved Shiro. Harry tries to get Anna to work with them but she gets the better of him again stealing his keys and car. Harry phones Vincent and sets up a meeting. Then Harry sees that Father Forthill has a tattoo just like the headless corpse. Forthill said he and a group of young priests got them a very long time ago. Father Vincent is the only other one of their group still alive. Michael and Sanya get home and Harry tells them to get their weapons and come.

Chapter 28: Harry, Michael, and Sanya have a rather violent meeting with "Father Vincent" during which Harry gets the Denarian (Fallen - Saluriel, Human - Quintus Cassius) pretending to be Vincent to reveal himself (snake dude). Harry realizes that Marcone's men figured it out early and we're trying to kill fake Father Vincent not him. Sanya reveals that he was once a Denarian, but relinquished his coin by choice. Quintus gives up his coin to the Knights so that they no longer have the ability to hurt him to get information from him while goading them with all the horrible things he has and still intends to do. Harry doesn't feel the same restraint and breaks his knees, ankles, etc to get Nicodemus's whereabouts. He's going to be at the airport that evening to set off the plague.

Chapter 29: Back home Harry has Murphy start pulling strings before Susan picks him up and they head to the duel. Susan takes Shiro's place and the duel proceeds as expected with Harry slowly getting the upper hand until Ortega pulls a gun on Harry.

Chapter 30: Someone (later revealed as Martin) shoots big holes in Ortega, Ortega goes after Harry, Susan jumps in and is thrown a long ways into concrete, more vampires attack, Kincaid shoots lots without missing, Thomas warns Harry of danger, and Ivy ends it. After determining that it was unlikely that Harry was the cause of the trouble, Ivy declares the duel over. Ortega gets away, Martin (who didn't want an end to the war) takes the unconscious Susan back to South America with a promise to take care of her. Harry heads to the Airport.

Chapter 31:
Harry, Michael and Sanya find a brutally tortured Shiro in the airport chapel. He regains consciousness, but the Knights explain that Nicodemus has the power to choose one person who will not be able to avoid death (the Barabbus curse) and after Nicodemus used it on Harry, Shiro took Harrry's place - a hospital can't save Shiro. Shiro tells Harry that Nicodemus is afraid of him because of something he saw, gives Harry custodianship of his holy sword until Harry finds the person suppose to have it, and tells them Nicodemus's back up plan was the trains. Shiro dies and Harry takes the remaining Knights out on the Tarmac where they catch a helicopter ride from Marcone.

Chapter 32: The helicopter finds the train and Marcone, Harry, and the Knights climb down onto it. Various fighting ensues during which Harry learns that nothing can hurt Nicodemus except the noose he wears around his neck. In the end the Denarians get away, Harry and company nearly die, but survive with Marcone's aid, and Marcone runs off with the Shroud.

Chapter 33: Butters doctors Harry who stays with the Carpenters for a few days. A letter arrives for Harry from Shiro (sent before they met) explaining that he was dying and was happy to die doing what he loved. Anna returns Harry's things. Susan tells him not to contact her unless he needs help. Ebaneezer tells Harry to watch the news. A deactivated satellite fell to earth killing untold numbers (including Ortega - who had been out to get Harry). Harry follows Marcone and witnesses him putting the Shroud on a girl in a coma. He tells Marcone he can leave it there three days and then he needs to return it. Marcone returns it. Nicodemus drives by Michael's house while Harry is there and throws a coin at Michael's son. Harry grabs it first. He returns home quickly where he buries the coin under concrete in a magic circle etc.

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1 comment :

  1. Of all the villains Butcher has cooked up, none is as interesting or dangerous as the Order of the Blackened Denarius. This is the book that sealed the deal for me the first time I read the series as the supporting cast really comes together and we get a book about Harry at his best. Easily my favorite book of the series so far.

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