Warning! All spoilers for previous books are unmarked on this page
"If you want to live, if you want your friends and family to live, I expect you to do more than survive it. I expect you to skin them alive."
After the events of Cold Days
Harry Dresden finds himself the Warden of Demonreach. However, things aren't going so swimmingly in that the parasite in his head is growing and the pain worsening. So, when Mab shows up, he learns he's got three days to do a task for her or it'll tear out of his head, killing him.
Said favor is loaning him to the leader of the Order of the Blackened Denarius, Nicodemus Archeleone
and helping him rob Hades' vault
. And if he refuses, the Parasite will not only kill him, but once it's free, it'll go after everyone he cared about...starting with his daughter.Skin Game
is book #15 in The Dresden Files
Skin Game provides examples of the following tropes:
- Berserk Button: Mab actually slaps Harry (hard enough to dent a metal door with his head) in anger when he calls her a bitch, and follows it up by saying that while she accepts his criticism of her plans, she will not tolerate any judgement from him.
- Nicodemus clearly doesn't like being reminded of how his voice has changed following his last encounter with Harry, though he manages to keep his reaction under control.
- Bullying a Dragon: Harry has not stopped arguing with Mab, but he does at least try not to challenge her in public, where her pride would force her to put him in his place. However, he doesn't waste any time openly mocking and insulting Nicodemus.
- The Caper: Nicodemus wants to rob Hades' Vault. Yes, that Hades.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Mab knows Nicodemus is going to betray her, Harry knows it too, so she expects "superior, more creative treachery" on his part.
- Cool Guns: The cover sees Harry sporting a Colt Anaconda.
- Crystal Prison: Demonreach
- Deadpan Snarker: One of Harry's prisoners, in contrast to the others who continuously spew out threats or offers, the one that "just sounded...British" simply tells Harry to "piss off" and berates him for not understanding the concept of "stasis".
- Department of Redundancy Department: Harry gives his reasons for not wanting to work with Nicodemus as him being "a murderous, murdering murderer".
- Faux Affably Evil: As usual, Nicodemus is very cordial and self-controlled, but the "ugly" look in his eyes that Harry has described in previous books seems to come out much more quickly now, though it doesn't affect his smile.
- Fluffy the Terrible: Demonreach gets a first name: Alfred.
- Genre Savvy: As soon as Harry hears of Mab's arrival, he immediately assumes she wants him to perform a task of some kind, starts thinking about all the different sorts of leverage Mab has on him this time to force his compliance, and pre-emptively concludes that he's really not going to like this newest job. Surprise, surprise, he's absolutely right. Who would've guessed?
- Guttural Growler: Nicodemus has become one thanks to the damage Harry did to his throat in their last encounter.
- Home Field Advantage: Being Demonreach's Warden and having spent several months becoming very familiar with the island's defenses, Harry gets a big one while on the island. How big? He considers a rematch against the Walker that gave him no end of trouble in the previous book a Curb-Stomp Battle in his favor.
- I Gave My Word: As always, Mab is bound by this, and by extension, Harry is too. Nicodemus is inevitably going to betray them both, so Mab requires Harry to be a better traitor while keeping his word. She thinks it's a fascinating "game".
- Megaton Slap: Mab responds with this when Harry calls her a bitch. It slams his head into an elevator door hard enough to leave a head-shaped dent in it and make it difficult for the doors to open.
- Parental Incest: Yep, Nicodemus and Deidre are still getting it on and thoroughly squicking Harry out.
- Public Domain Artifact: Nicodemus wants Mab's (and by extension, Harry's) help to swipe the Holy Grail from Hades' Vault.
- Tongue Trauma: We see the exact method by which Nicodemus' cultists get formally inducted into the order.