Changes: A Novel of the Dresden Files

Changes: A Novel of the Dresden Files

4.7 841
by Jim Butcher
     
 

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Long ago, Susan Rodriguez was Harry Dresden's lover-until she was attacked and left struggling with the bloodlust of the vampiric Red Court. Now, she needs Harry's help. Harry's enemies have found the secret she has hidden for so long, and he will have to unleash the full fury of his untapped power.

Because this time, he's fighting to save his child.  See more details below

Overview

Long ago, Susan Rodriguez was Harry Dresden's lover-until she was attacked and left struggling with the bloodlust of the vampiric Red Court. Now, she needs Harry's help. Harry's enemies have found the secret she has hidden for so long, and he will have to unleash the full fury of his untapped power.

Because this time, he's fighting to save his child.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The fast-paced and compelling 12th book in Butcher's bestselling series (after 2009's Turn Coat) is aptly titled. Beginning with the revelation that wizard detective Harry Dresden has a daughter, Butcher throws one high-stakes curveball after another at his hero. Harry's ex-girlfriend, Susan Rodriguez, discloses young Maggie's existence after vampire Red Court duchess Arianna Ortega kidnaps the child. Ortega holds Harry responsible for the death of her husband and is planning to offer Maggie as a human sacrifice. With a fragile peace in place between the Red Court and the White Council of wizards, Harry is unable to count on them for support in his rescue mission, and he must compromise almost everything he believes in to save his daughter. Butcher is deft at relieving some of the tension and grimness with bursts of gallows humor that keep readers coming back for more. (Apr.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451463470
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/01/2011
Series:
Dresden Files Series, #12
Pages:
560
Sales rank:
50,331
Product dimensions:
4.25(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.22(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Story so Far

So if the title weren't a big enough clue, the fact that the cover of Jim Butcher's Changes depicts Harry somewhere other than his beloved Chicago makes it clear that the latest entry in the Dresden Files series is, yes, a game-changer for Chicago's only professional wizard, Harry Dresden.

Over the past eleven books, we've come to know Harry. He lives in a basement apartment, with his dog, Mouse, and his cat, Mister. He's got good friends: Karrin Murphy of the Chicago PD, Waldo Butters, the polka-loving medical examiner, Michael Carpenter, retired Knight of the Cross. He's got frenemies, like mobster "Gentleman" Johnny Marcone, and his faerie godmother, the Leanansidhe. And full-on enemies, like Nicodemus, the leader of the Order of the Blackened Denarius, and the vampire duchess Arianna Ortega.

But Changes takes everything you thought you knew about Harry and his world and turns it upside down. Truths will be revealed. Life changing decisions will be made. And a lot of stuff gets blown up. Take it from us, you will not want to miss this one.

Excerpt

I answered the phone, and Susan Rodriguez said, "They've taken our daughter."

I sat there for a long five count, swallowed, and said, "Um. What?"

"You heard me, Harry," Susan said gently.

"Oh," I said. "Um."

"The line isn't secure," she said. "I'll be in town tonight. We can talk then."

"Yeah," I said. "Okay."

"Harry…" she said. "I'm not…I never wanted to…" She cut the words off with an impatient sigh. I heard a voice over the loudspeaker in the background, saying something in Spanish. "We'll have time for that later. The plane is boarding. I've got to go. About twelve hours."

"Okay," I said. "I'll…I'll be here."

She hesitated, as if about to say something else, but then she hung up.

I sat there with the phone against my ear. After a while, it started making that double-speed busy-signal noise.

Our daughter.

She said our daughter.

I hung the phone up. Or tried. I missed the base. The receiver clattered to the floor.

Mouse, my big, shaggy grey dog, rose up from his usual napping spot in the tiny kitchenette my basement apartment boasted, and came trotting over to sit down at my feet, staring up at me with dark, worried doggy eyes. After a moment, he made a little huffing sound, then carefully picked the receiver up in his jaws and settled it onto the base. Then he went back to staring worriedly at me.

"I…" I paused, trying to get my head around the concept. "I…I might have a child."

Mouse made an uncertain, high-pitched noise.

"Yeah. How do you think I feel?" I stared at the far wall. Then I stood up and reached for my coat. "I…think I need a drink," I said. I nodded, focusing on nothing. "Yeah. Something like this…yeah."

Mouse made a distressed noise and rose.

"Sure," I told him. "You can come. Hell, maybe you can drive me home or something."

I got honked at a lot on the way to McAnally's. I didn't care. I made it without crashing into anyone. That's the important thing, right? I pulled my battered, trusty old Volkswagen Bug over into the little parking lot next to Mac's place. I started inside.

Mouse made a whuffing sound.

I looked over my shoulder. I'd left the car door open. The big dog nosed it closed.

"Thanks," I said.

We went into the pub.

Mac's place looks like Cheers after a mild apocalypse. There are thirteen wooden pillars irregularly spaced around the room, holding up the roof. They're all carved with scenes of Old World fairy tales, some of them amusing, more of them sinister. There are thirteen ceiling fans spinning lazily throughout the place, and the irregularly shaped, polished wooden bar has thirteen stools. There are thirteen tables in the room, placed in no specific pattern.

"There're a lot of thirteens in here," I said to myself.

It was about two thirty in the afternoon. No one was in the pub except for me and the dog—oh, and Mac. Mac is a man of medium height and medium build, with thick, bony wrists and a shining smooth pate that never showed signs of growing in. He could be anywhere between thirty and fifty and, as always, he was wearing a spotless white apron.

Mouse stared intently at Mac for a moment. Then he abruptly sat down in the entryway at the top of the little stairs, turned around once, and settled down by the door, his chin on his paws.

Mac glanced toward us. "Harry."

I shambled over to the bar.

Mac produced a bottle of one of his microbrews, but I shook my head. "Um. I'd say, 'Whiskey, Mac,' but I don't know if you have any whiskey. I need something strong, I think."

Mac raised his eyebrows and blinked at me.

You've got to know the guy. He was practically screaming.

But he poured me a drink of something light gold in a little glass, and I drank it. It burned. I wheezed a little, and then tapped a finger next to the glass.

Mac refilled it, frowning at me.

I drank the second glass more slowly. It still hurt going down. The pain gave me something to focus on. Thoughts started to coagulate around it, and then to crystallize into definite shape.

Susan had called me. She was on the way.

And we had a child.

And she had never told me.

Susan had been a reporter for a yellow rag that covered supernatural news. Most of the people who worked there thought they were publishing fiction, but Susan had clued in to the supernatural world on her own, and we'd crossed trails and verbal swords several times before we'd gotten together. We hadn't been together a terribly long time—a little less than two years. We were both young and we made each other happy.

Maybe I should have known better. If you don't stand on the sidelines and ignore the world around you, sooner or later you make enemies. One of mine, a vampire named Bianca, had abducted Susan and infected her with the blood thirst of the Red Court. Susan hadn't gone all the way over—but if she ever lost control of herself, ever took another's lifeblood, she would.

She left me, afraid that if she didn't, I'd be the kill that turned her into a monster, and set out into the world to find some way to cope.

I told myself that she had good reason to do so, but reason and heartbreak don't speak the same language. I'd never really forgiven myself for what had happened to her. I guess reason and guilt don't speak the same language, either.

It was probably a damned good thing I had gone into shock, because I could feel emotions that were stirring somewhere deep inside me, gathering power like a storm far out to sea. I couldn't see them. I could only feel their effects, but it was enough to know that whatever was rising inside me was potent. Violent. Dangerous. Mindless rage got people killed every day. But for me, it might be worse.

I'm a professional wizard.

I can make a lot more things happen than most people.

Magic and emotions are tied up inextricably. I've been in battle before, and felt the terror and rage of that kind of place, where it's a fight just to think clearly through the simplest problems. I'd used my magic in those kinds of volatile circumstances—and a few times, I'd seen it run wild as a result. When most people lose control of their anger, someone gets hurt. Maybe someone even gets killed. When it happens to a wizard, insurance companies go broke and there's reconstruction afterward.

What was stirring in me now made those previous feelings of battle rage seem like anemic kittens.

"I've got to talk to someone," I heard myself say quietly. "Someone with some objectivity, perspective. I've got to get my head straight before things go to hell."

Mac leaned on the bar and looked at me.

I cradled the glass in my hand and said quietly, "You remember Susan Rodriguez?"

He nodded.

"She says that someone took our daughter. She says she'll be here late tonight."

Mac inhaled and exhaled slowly. Then he picked up the bottle and poured himself a shot. He sipped at it.

"I loved her," I said. "Maybe love her still. And she didn't tell me."

He nodded.

"She could be lying."

He grunted.

"I've been used before. And I'm a sucker for a girl."

"Yes," he said.

I gave him an even look. He smiled slightly.

"She'd be…six? Seven?" I shook my head. "I can't even do the math right now."

Mac pursed his lips. "Hard thing."

I finished the second glass. Some of the sharper edges had gotten softer. Mac touched a finger to the bottle, watching me. I shook my head.

"She could be lying to me," I said quietly. "If she's not…then…"

Mac closed his eyes briefly and nodded.

"Then there's this little girl in trouble," I said. I felt my jaw clench, and the storm inside me threatened to come boiling up. I pushed it down. "My little girl."

He nodded again.

"Don't know if I ever told you," I said. "I was an orphan."

Mac watched me silently.

"There were times when…when it was bad. When I wanted someone to come save me. I wished for it so hard. Dreaming of…of not being alone. And when someone finally did come, he turned out to be the biggest monster of all." I shook my head. "I won't let that happen to my child."

Mac folded his arms on the bar and looked at me intently and said, in a resonant baritone. "You've got to be very careful, Harry."

I looked at him, shocked. He'd…used grammar.

"Something like this will test you like nothing else," Mac said. "You're going to find out who you are, Harry. You're going to find out which principles you'll stand by to your death—and which lines you'll cross." He took my empty glass away and said, "You're heading into the badlands. It'll be easy to get lost."

I watched him in stunned silence as he finished his drink. He grimaced, as though it hurt his throat on the way down. Maybe he'd strained his voice, using it so much.

I stared down at my hands for a moment. Then I said, "Steak sandwich. And something for the pooch."

He grunted in the affirmative and started cooking. He took his time about it, divining my intentions with a bartender's instincts. I didn't feel like eating, but I had a little time to kill while the buzz faded.

He put my sandwich down in front of me. Then he took a bowl with some bones and some meat out to Mouse, along with a bowl of water. I ate my sandwich and idly noted that Mac never carried food out to anyone. Guess he was a dog person.

I ate my sandwich slowly and paid Mac.

"Thanks," I said.

He nodded. "Luck."

I got up and headed back for the car. Mouse followed beside me, his eyes lifted, watching me to see what I would do.

I marshaled my thoughts. I had to be careful. I had to be wary. I had to keep my eyes open. I had to keep the storm inside me from exploding, because the only thing I knew for certain was that someone—maybe Susan, maybe my enemies—was trying to manipulate me.

Either way, Mac was right.

I was heading into the badlands.

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Meet the Author

A martial arts enthusiast whose resume includes a long list of skills rendered obsolete at least two hundred years ago, Jim Butcher turned to writing as a career because anything else probably would have driven him insane. He lives with his wife, his son and a ferocious guard dog.

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Changes: A Novel of the Dresden Files 4.7 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 841 reviews.
IrshLass More than 1 year ago
This book promises CHANGES and boy does Jim Butcher deliver. I found myself, as usual, laughing out loud at many parts of Changes: great snarky conversations, funny imagery, surprising turns of events... but it was the heartbreak and pain that Harry Dresden endures that had me aching. From moment one in this book it is clear that Harry is in for major upheaval and each event you think must surely be the last bit of destruction, the last loss he must endure, something tops it. As always, there are wonderful interactions with some of our favorite supporting characters: tiny but FIERCE Murphy, tragic and dangerous Thomas, Molly, Sanya, and great stuff with Lea, Mouse and of course Susan and Martin. This book is revelation after revelation and is incredibly thrilling. Another must read by Jim Butcher!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
J. Butcher develops his characters and plot so that you can read any of the Dresden Files books and enjoy it. However, to get a better perspective on all the characters and the continuing story lines, and to get a feel of the growth of Dresden himself, it is best to start with book one and read them sequentially. In the early books Dresden is brash, immature and not very likeable, but he is a product of his childhood. One wonders how he survives his adventures. Yet, he learns from his experiences and from the responsibilities that are thrust upon him and he evolves into a person you really like and want to succeed. J. Butcher does a wonderful job of weaving magic into the world we know. He also has a refreshing philosophical acceptance of religions and magic; weaving them both into significant roles in his stories. 'CHANGES' has wizards, a priest, knights of the cross, vampires, half vampires, fairy creatures, demi-gods, conventional weapons, magic, action, and plans that sometimes work but more often get derailed and require quick thinking and great magical feats to overcome the situation. If you want a fast paced magical fantasy to escape your everyday existence then 'CHANGES' is a good read.
blackthorn21 More than 1 year ago
Butcher is one of my favorite authors. He has produced book after book that are all page turners. However, this episode has a Perils of Pauline ending. Some of your favorite characters are left out in the dark. Mister the cat escapes a fire, but then Butcher leaves the poor cat lost, dead or whatever. The great characters of Mouse is left on a boat with Molly, and then left there. Michael is lost and forgotten as if dead. Michael would make an appearance because his daughter was in super danger. Harry is homeless, losing a great and somewhat safe house, his workshop, and a very dangerous coin. He lost his landlady, a cool character. Finally he is now the Winter Knight, as he murdered the previous Winter Knight....There was just too much left untold. Butcher better hurry up with the next book. I can hardly wait for Christmas.
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The latest of the Dresden Files is more along the lines of a traditional PI story... if that story had awesome whit, magic, and old gods. I truly recommend this series. It has a little bit of everything and a lot of thought put into it.
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bluemyst More than 1 year ago
One day Harry Dresden encounters a woman he hasn't seen for over 8 years. On that day, she informs him he is a father and their daughter is in danger. Then, he finds the ancient and powerful Red Court is preparing a lethal bloodline curse which will kill him and everyone in his family, including his half-brother, his grandfather and his daughter. Now, Harry must save himself and his family. But, a devastating injury tempts Harry into making a Deal with the Devil to save his daughter. What will he do? This is an excellent novel even though it sets a darker tone which brings forth the major plot arcs of the next novels in the series. A definite must read if you enjoy the series up to this point.
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U-265 More than 1 year ago
I have enjoyed ever book in the Dresden Files series. Harry is awesome. I hope Jim Butcher keeps writing for many years to come.