Dresden heads north to an isolated spot on Lake Michigan and summons his fairy godmother, Leanansidhe. Dresden tells his godmother that he needs to see the four Queens of Fae. Leanansidhe takes his hand to guide him. But, she does not take him to the Fae Queens. He is transported to an ethereal Chicago-over-Chicago and a great Stone Table. This sacrificial stone that maintains the balance between the Winter and Summer Sidhe. The power of blood spilled upon that table will change the balance of power between the Courts. Leanansidhe says that's all she can do for him and disappears.
Dresden still needs to speak with the Mothers of both Courts. With Murphy sidelined, Dresden needs Elaine’s help. Magically, he tracks her to O’Hare. Resigned to helping Harry, Elaine discards her tickets to safety and calls in a favor. After fighting their way through Nevernever, Dresden interviews the Queen Mothers. Rather than providing him with answers, the Queen Mothers goad him into answering his own questions. As a reward for his correct deductions, they give him a Cloth of Unraveling and their blessings.
Victorious at last, Dresden returns to Elaine and is ambushed. When Dresden regains consciousness, he is the prisoner of Lady Aurora, Lloyd Slate--and Elaine. Aurora explains that she plans to sacrifice Lily on the Tablet to permanently destroy the balance. Elaine then binds Dresden and leaves him to drown. Recognizing the spell as one he invented in his youth Dresden remembers how to break it and escapes.
Dresden collects his equipment and his allies: the Alphas, Meryl and Fix. Dresden and his band ascend a mile-long stairway of "congealed starlight" to Chicago-over-Chicago. Their mission is to get Dresden to the Stone Table in time to prevent Lily’s sacrifice. A great battle has already filled the valley of the Stone Table. A Winter Lord Sidhe recognizes Dresden and gives him safe escort to Queen Mab. Dresden tells Mab what he has learned. She comprehends the betrayal of the Winter Knight and advises Dresden to follow the river to the Table.
Dresden and his stalwart band find the river and fight their way to the Table. The rite of Unraveling has already started. They are blocked by a massive hedge of poisonous thorns, ringing the Table. Fighting onward, Dresden confronts Aurora and unleashes an army of pixies, led by Toot-toot. They are armed with steel box cutters--cold iron, which is deadly to the Fae. Aurora dies horribly.
Queen Mab congratulates Dresden on his success. Mab offers Dresden the mantle of the Winter Knight. If he accepts, she will cancel his remaining debt. Dresden refuses. Mab says it’s a pity, because she will just have to entertain herself by torturing Slate until Dresden says "yes."
The next day, Dresden awakens to discover that his entire apartment has been cleaned. Billy brings Dresden up to speed. Queen Mab granted safe passage to the White Council, so the wizards are not going to give him to the vampires. The Alphas are battered, but all of them survived.
Later that day, the new Summer Lady, Lily, and her Knight pay Dresden a visit. She asks how he likes the cleaning service. The Brownies will continue to clean for him, unless he tells someone about them. Their service is a token of her gratitude. Fix, the new Summer Knight, tuned up Dresden's car, so it should run better. The Summer Lady and her Knight leave together." />
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