Skin Game Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Skin Game

Skin Game is a heist novel in which Harry Dresden and Karrin Murphy must team up with Nicodemus Archleone, the leader of the Denarians, to steal the Holy Grail from the personal vault of Hades. Harry Dresden is a practicing wizard and the Winter Knight, serving under Queen Mab. She barters his services to Nicodemus Archleone in payment of a debt, and Harry quickly realizes that at least half of Nicodemus's crew is likely to stab him in the back as soon as the holy relic they seek is safely in Nicodemus's hands.
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Accordingly, Harry and Mab pay a visit to Odin, where they devise a plan to hire one of Nicodemus's allies (Goodman Grey) out from under him. Harry also enlists the help of Karrin Murphy, a holder of the with experience in dealing with magical foes, and Anna Valmont, best known as the last remaining member of the team that stole the Shroud of Turin back in Death Masks.

Harry works with Nicodemus's crew to get a blood sample so Grey can get past the retinal scanners of a vault, but their plans quickly go awry. Harry learns that Nicodemus's wife Tessa is sabotaging them, and later discovers that they are being spied upon by Waldo Butters, another longtime ally who has recently become mistrustful of Harry due to the influence of the Winter Mantle, Although Harry is able to get Butters away from Nicodemus's crew, Karrin Murphy is badly injured, and the Sword of the Cross she uses to fight Nicodemus is destroyed. Karrin only survives because Michael Carpenter is willing to take her place. The Archangel Uriel, not wanting Michael to die but being unable to intervene physically, lends Michael his grace so that Michael can take up his own Sword of the Cross and replace Murphy on Nicodemus's crew.

Harry and the rest of the crew break into Johnny Marcone's vault and then travel by Way to the three Gates guarding the vault of Hades. Ascher bypasses the Gate of Fire, Harry (who has an affinity for ice magic as part of bearing the Winter Mantle) bypasses the Gate of Ice, and Nicodemus kills his daughter to bypass the Gate of Blood. The crew reach the vault proper, where Harry spots the display containing the Holy Grail and four other holy relics. He steals these so that Nicodemus cannot acquire them, and gives Nicodemus the Grail, at the same time calling Nicodemus out for being so evil that he was willing to kill his own daughter to obtain an artifact.

A brawl ensues, with Harry, Michael and Goodman Grey pitted against Nicodemus, a huge monster called the Genoskwa, and Ascher, all of whom are made stronger by the Blackened Denarii they possess. Although Nicodemus is forced to retreat, he takes his revenge by having his hirelings attack Michael's house in hopes of killing Harry's daughter, who has been living there while her father serves as Winter Knight. When Harry Dresden is incapacitated by pain, Waldo Butters makes a leap of faith, taking up arms against Nicodemus's forces despite his own frailty. Harry is unable to fight, but throws the hilt of the broken Sword of the Cross, which Butters catches. Since Butters has acted on faith, the broken Sword is remade with a glowing blade, and Nicodemus is forced to flee for good.

In the denouement, Harry uses a share of the heist money to pay off Johnny Marcone, and Harry and Karrin speak to Butters about being a Knight of the Cross.
Best part of story, including ending: Harry Dresden is a great hero to read about. He has a dry sense of humor, he always fights to do what is right, and he is willing to ask for help when he needs it, which brings in a fantastic supporting cast (including Karrin Murphy and Michael Carpenter, who are some of my favorite characters in the Dresden Files series). As icing on the cake, there was a lot of suspense and several tense fight scenes.

Best scene in story: There's a comparatively quiet moment when Michael and Harry talk about recent events, specifically Harry's acceptance of the Winter Mantle, and the possibility of Harry becoming more involved in his daughter's life. It's a great spot of character development, it's laugh-out-loud funny in parts, and it shows that sometimes Harry's perceptions aren't nearly as accurate as he thinks they are.

Opinion about the main character: I'm a huge fan of Harry's persistence and his sense of humor.

The review of this Book prepared by Susan Shepherd a Level 2 American Robin scholar

Chapter Analysis of Skin Game

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 20%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 10% Tone of book    -   cynical or dry-wit FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   fantasy story on current Earth Tech./$$$/Info hunt    -   Yes Stealing/recovering/destroying    -   committing crimes with fantasy/magical elements Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   mage/magician Age:    -   20's-30's If magical mental powers:    -   can cast many different spells


Earth setting:    -   current (early 21st century) Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths How much dialogue?    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Jim Butcher Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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