Short works

Books : reviews

Jim Butcher.
TheAeronaut's Windlass.
Orbit. 2015

Since time immemorial, humanity has lived inside the Spires, warring habitats towering for miles over the dangerous, monster-infested surface of the world. Captain Grimm of the airship, Predator, was dismissed from Spire Albion’s military in disgrace – now his ship and crew are all he has, and he’s fiercely loyal to both. When the Predator is damaged in combat, Grimm is offered a choice – take on a clandestine mission for Albion’s leaders, or stay grounded for good.

But he will learn that the conflict between the Spires is merely a premonition of things to come. Humanity’s ancient enemy, silent for more than ten thousand years, has begun to stir. And death will follow in its wake…

Jim Butcher.
Storm Front.
Orbit. 2000

Meet Harry Dresden, Chicago’s first (and only) Wizard P.I. Turns out the ‘everyday’ world is full of strange and magical things – and most of them don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in.

Harry is the best at what he does – and not just because he’s the only one who does it. So whenever the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal capabilities, they look to him for answers. But business isn’t just slow, it stinks.

So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name. And that’s when things start to get … interesting.

Magic – it can get a guy killed.

Jim Butcher.
Fool Moon.
Orbit. 2001

Business has been slow lately for Harry Dresden. Okay, business has been dead. Not undead – just dead. You would think Chicago would have a little more action for the only professional wizard in the phone book. But lately, Harry hasn’t been able to dredge up any kind of work – magical or mundane.

But just when it looks like he can’t afford his next meal, a murder comes along that requires his particular brand of supernatural expertise. A brutally mutilated corpse. Strange-looking paw prints. A full moon. Take three guesses. And the first two don’t count.

Jim Butcher.
Grave Peril.
Orbit. 2001

Harry has faced some terrifying foes during his career. Giant scorpions. Oversexed vampires. Psychotlc werewolves. It comes with the territory when you’re the only professional wizard in the Chicago-area phone book.

But in all Harry’s years of supernatural sleuthing, he’s never faced anything like this: the spirit world’s gone loco. All over town, ghosts are causing trouble – and not the door-slamming, boo-shouting variety. These ghosts are tormented, violent and deadly. Someone – or something – is stirring them up to wreak unearthly havoc. But why? And why do so many of the victims have ties to Harry? If Harry doesn’t figure It out soon, he might just wind up a ghost himself.

Jim Butcher.
Summer Knight.
Orbit. 2002

Since his girlfriend left town to deal with her newly acquired taste for blood, Harry’s been down and out. He can’t pay his rent. He’s alienating his friends. He can’t recall his last shower. Then when things are at their worst, the Winter Queen of Faerie saunters in with an offer Harry can’t refuse. All he has to do is find out who murdered the Summer Knight, the Summer Queen’s right-hand man, and clear the Winter Queen’s name.

It seems simple, but Faerie politics seldom work out that way. Then Harry discovers the fate of the entire world rests on this case. So no pressure…

Jim Butcher.
Death Masks.
Orbit. 2003

Harry Dresden should be happy that business is good - makes a change. But now he’s getting more than he bargained for; a duel with the Red Court of Vampires’ champion, who must kill Harry to end the war between vampires and wizards; professional hit men using Harry for target practice; the missing Shroud of Turin (less missing than expected) and a headless corpse the Chicago police need identifying…

Not to mention the return of Harry’s ex-girlfriend Susan, still struggling with her semi-vampiric nature. And who seems to have a new man. Some days, it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed. No matter how much you’re charging.

Jim Butcher.
Blood Rites.
Orbit. 2004

Harry’s had worse assignments than going undercover on the set of an adult film. Dodging flaming monkey poo, for instance. Or going toe-to-leaf with a walking plant monster. Still, there’s something troubling about his newest case. The Producer believes he’s afflicted by a sinister entropy curse – but its the women around him who are dying, in increasingly spectacular ways.

And Harry only got involved as a favour to Thomas, his flirtatious, self-absorbed vampire acquaintance of dubious integrity. Thomas has a personal stake in the case Harry can’t work out, until his investigation leads him straight to Thomas’s oversexed relatives. Harry’s about to discover the skeleton in Thomas’s family closet: a revelation that will change Harry’s life for ever.

Jim Butcher.
Dead Beat.
Orbit. 2006

Meet Harry Dresden, Chicago’s first (and only) Wizard P.I. Turns out the ‘everyday’ world is full of strange and magical things – and most of them don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in.

Luckily, however, he’s not entirely alone. Although most people don’t believe in magic, the Chicago P.D. has a Special Investigations department, headed by his good friend Karrin Murphy. They deal with the … stranger cases.

It’s down to Karrin that Harry sneaks into Graceland Cemetery to meet a vampire named Mavra. Mavra has evidence that would destroy Karrin’s career, and her demands are simple. She just wants the Word of Kemmler – and all the power that comes with it. But first, Harry’s keen to know what he’d be handing over. Before long he’s racing against time, and six necromancers, to get the Word. And to prevent a Haltoween that would truly wake the dead.

Magic – it can get a guy killed.

Jim Butcher.
Proven Guilty.
Orbit. 2007

Harry has no friends on the White Council of Wizards, who find him brash and undisciplined (and they may have a point). However, now vampire wars have thinned out the wizards a little, they need him. So before he can blink. he’s assigned to investigate rumours of black magic.

Harry’s other problem is an old friend’s daughter – all grown-up and in trouble already. Her boyfriend insists he’s innocent of something that resembles a crime out of a horror film. This first impression turns out to be … well, pretty accurate, as Harry discovers malevolent entities feeding on fear. All in a day’s work for a wizard, his dog and a talking skull named Bob.

Jim Butcher.
White Night.
Orbit. 2008

A series of apparent suicides rings alarm bells with the police, and Harry is hired. At the first crime scene he hits pay dirt, discovering an unmistakable magical taint. There’s also a message especially for him, and it ain’t pretty. The ‘killings’ will continue (f Harry can’t halt his tormentor, but the evidence implicates his half-brother, which just doesn’t add up.

Unfortunately Harry’s digging around attracts some powerful vampire with a stake in the result. Soon, whichever way he turns, he will find himself outnumbered, outclassed and dangerously susceptible to temptation. And if he screws up, his friends will die.

Jim Butcher.
Small Favour.
Orbit. 2009

Harry Dresden is feeling happy. No one’s tried to kill him in nearly a year, and the worst problem he’s had lately is removing stains his apprentice bungled into his carpeting. The future seems bright. Unfortunately, the past isn’t looking nearly so optimistic.

An old bargain has placed Harry in debt to Mab, faerie monarch of the Winter Court and the Queen of Air and Darkness. Harry still owes her two favours, and it’s time to pay up. It’s a small favour he really can’t refuse, but it will trap Harry between a nightmarish foe and a deadly ally, stretching his skills and loyalties to their limits. It figures. Everything was going too well to last.

Jim Butcher.
Turn Coat.
Orbit. 2010

Harry has always tried to keep his nose clean where the White Council of Wizards is concerned, but past misdeeds haven’t gone down well. Which places him in an awkward position. Morgan, formerly his chief persecutor on the Council, has been wrongly accused of treason. Facing the ultimate punishment, Morgan needs someone with a knack for backing the underdog, however much that someone isn’t interested. Soon, Harry is working to clear the less-than-agreeable Morgan’s name, hiding from the Council and bounty hunters alike and seeking the true turncoat.

A single mistake may mean that heads – quite literally – could roll. And one of them might be his.

Jim Butcher.
Orbit. 2010

Even a career of narrow escapes and supernatural shenanigans hasn’t prepared Harry for this. A vampire with a grudge has kidnapped his daughter – a daughter he never knew he had. Furthermore, this vampire plans to use her blood in a violent ritual sacrifice – designed to kill Harry, his ex-partner Susan and their child.

As allies are perilously thin on the ground, Harry must find a new source of strength. In the past, there had always been a line he wouldn’t cross, and he’s never given in to the full fury of his own untapped dark powers. But then, only his own life was at stake.

Jim Butcher.
Side Jobs: stories from the Dresden Files.
Orbit. 2010

Harry Dresden is the best at what he does, despite tending to stumble from crisis to drama in his dealings with the supernatural world. Somehow he unfailingly manages to get on the wrong side of werewolf, fae and vampire alike. But that's where his own rather special powers come into play.

As well as ten short stories, this collection includes an all-new Dresden Files novella. These bite-sized tales are tremendously entertaining and will infect you with the need to explore more of Harry Dresden's world.


A restoration of faith. 2002
(Takes place before Storm Front.)
Vignette. 2002
(Takes place between Death Masks and Blood Rites.)
Something borrowed. 2006
(Takes place between Dead Beat and Proven Guilty.)
It's my birthday, too. 2007
(Takes place between White Night and Small Favour.)
Heorot. 2007
(Takes place between White Night and Small Favour.)
Day off. 2008
(Takes place between Small Favour and Turn Coat.)
Backup. 2008
(Takes place between Small Favour and Turn Coat.)
The warrior. 2009
(Takes place between Small Favour and "Last call".)
Last call. 2009
(Takes place between "The warrior" and Turn Coat.)
Love hurts. 2010
(Takes place between Turn Coat and Changes.)
Aftermath. 2010
(Takes place an hour or two after the end of Changes.)

Jim Butcher.
Ghost Story.
Orbit. 2012

As if being murdered wasn’t enough, Harry’s shade can’t rest in peace. He learns that three of his loved ones are in mortal danger, and only by discovering his assailant’s identity can he save them, bring the criminals to justice and move on.

It would just be easier if he could interact with the physical world, had a (working) crystal ball, and had access to his magic. And he’s far from the only silent presence roaming Chicago’s darkest alleys. Hell, he put some of them there himself. And now, they’re looking for payback.

Jim Butcher.
Cold Days.
Orbit. 2013

A bargain made with the Queen of Air and Darkness has forced Harry into a new job: professional killer. His first task is to bring death to an immortal. As if that wasn’t hard enough, Harry learns of a danger to Demonreach, the living island hidden upon Lake Michigan. A danger that could destroy billions and land him in the deepest trouble he has ever known.

Harry has only twenty-four hours to gather the allies he has left and prevent a cataclysm – all while the power he bargained to get, but never meant to keep, lays siege to his very soul.

Jim Butcher.
Skin Game.
Orbit. 2014

Queen Mab has traded on Harry’s skills to pay off a debt. And now he must help a group of villains led by his most despised enemy, Nicodemus Archleone, break into a vault in the Nevernever.

Problem is, the vault belongs to Hades, Lord of the Underworld. And Dresden is dead certain that Nicodemus has no intention of allowing any of his crew to survive the experience. Dresden’s always been tricky, but he’s going to have to up his backstabbing game to survive this particular heist…