Short works

Books : reviews

Jim Butcher.
The Aeronaut'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.
Furies of Calderon.
Orbit. 2004

For a thousand years, the peoples of Alera have been united by their unique bond with the furies – elementals of earth, air, fire, water and metal. But their world is changing.

Deep in the Calderon Valley, young Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At fifteen, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light his lamps. And as the Alerans’ most savage enemy – the Marat – returns to the Valley, this weakness will seem more important than ever.

Amara is a spy, seeking intelligence on possible Marat traitors to the Crown. And when the Valley erupts into chaos – when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies – Amara will find Tavi invaluable. His talents will outweigh any fury-born power – and could even turn the tides of war.

Jim Butcher.
Academ's Fury.
Orbit. 2005

For centuries elemental powers have protected Alera from invasion, but the gravest threat might be closer to home.

Tavi is struggling with a dangerous deception. He’s trying to maintain the illusion of being a student whilst secretly training to be one of the First Lord’s spies – a precarious game. And as he hasn’t yet learned to manipulate the elements, he is particularly vulnerable.

In the country at large, a palpable sense of menace has exploded into violence on two fronts. An attack on the First Lord’s life could lead to a bloody civil war. And in the Calderon Valley, the Marat threat is overshadowed by an infinitely greater problem. So now is the time for Tavi to harness his powers, as Alera’s future is bleak indeed.

Jim Butcher.
Cursor's Fury.
Orbit. 2006

Alera is a perilous world, where powerful forces of nature take physical forms. But even magic can’t halt the spread of corruption.

First Lord Gaius Sextus is facing a rebellion that could destroy Alera’s delicate power-balance – instigated by the ruthless High Lord of Kalare. The traitor Kalare has also seized key hostages, so Cursor Amara has been tasked with their difficult rescue.

But treachery is rife, as young Tavi will also find. Posted away from the fighting, Tavi joins the fray under an assumed name. Then Kalare does the unthinkable – uniting with the Canim, savage enemies of the realm. When treason decimates the army’s command structure, Tavi finds himself leading an inexperienced legion against the might of the Canim horde – the very last resort of a war-torn realm.

Jim Butcher.
Captain's Fury.
Orbit. 2007

The people of Alera are strengthened by the elements. But this strength is sapped by treachery.

Tav1 has been fighting a bitter war for two years, as captain of h1s own Legion. And he’s now discovered the invading Canim warriors are harbingers of a much greater threat. Their enemies are fleeing a savage race that forced them from their homeland, following them even to Alera’s borders. So Tavi proposes a radical solution – alliance with the Canim. But the Senate’s new military commander is determined to eradicate the Canim threat, and all who collaborate with them, including Aleran slaves who have joined them to find freedom.

Tavi must reconcile Aleran and Canim, slavemaster and slave, Citizen and Proletarian, if an alliance is to be forged. And he must lead his Legion in defiance of the law – before the greatest army of all launches its assault.

Jim Butcher.
Princep's Fury.
Orbit. 2008

Courage and ingenuity vie with dark powers – and Alera’s natural magics are subverted into new and dangerous patterns.

After bitter fighting, Tavi of Calderon has eventually forged an alliance with Alera’s oldest foes, the savage Canim, and he must escort them on their long sea-voyage home. This will strain their fragile accord – but the worst is yet to come.

The inhuman Vord have spent the last three years laying waste to the Canim homeland, making it a desolate place indeed. Then the Alerans become stranded there, cut off from their ships. The Canim alliance will be tested as they enter the killing fields together, depending on each other’s strengths if they both are to survive.

For a thousand years, Alera and her furies have withstood every enemy, and survived every foe. The thousand years are over.

Jim Butcher.
First Lord's Fury.
Orbit. 2009

The Alerans’ worst fear has become a reality. The great war is upon them.

The aging First Lord of Alera has fallen in battle. Yet his people must continue to resist an invading inhuman army. Desperate Alerans even pledge fealty to the Vord Queen to survive, turning the incredible power of Aleran furies back on their own people. And despite all efforts, the Alerans are being ground into dust and pushed to the farthest reaches of their own realm.

However, Tavi has returned with vital insights from the Canim Blood Lands. He knows how to counter the Vord and, more importantly, believes human ingenuity can equal fury-born powers. Now events are rushing towards a last stand, where Tavi and the last Aleran legions must formulate a dangerous new strategy, together. For a civilisation is on the brink of extinction.

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…

Jim Butcher.
Brief Cases: stories from the Dresden Files.
Orbit. 2018

Enter the world of the Dresden Files with Harry Dresden (the only wizard in the Chicago phone book) and his friends as they solve supernatural mysteries, protect the helpless anti fight evil.

Brief Cases is a collection of eleven Dresden Files stories by international bestseller Jim Butcher, as well as one original novella – ‘200 Day’. Each story comes with notes from the author.


A Fistful of Warlocks. 2017
B is for Bigfoot. 2012
AAAA Wizardry. 2010
I was a Teenage Bigfoot. 2012
Curses. 2011
Even Hand. 2010
Bigfoot on Campus. 2012
Bombshells. 2013
Cold Case. 2016
Jury Duty. 2015
Day One. 2016
Zoo Day. 2018

Jim Butcher.
Peace Talks.
Orbit. 2020

When the Supernatural nations of the world meet up to negotiate an end to ongoing hostilities, Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, joins the White Council’s security team to make sure the talks stay civil. But can he succeed when dark political manipulations threaten the very existence of Chicago – and all he holds dear?

Jim Butcher.
Battle Ground.
Orbit. 2020

Things are about to get serious for Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard.

Harry has faced terrible odds before. He has a long history of fighting enemies above his weight class. But this time it’s different. A being more powerful and dangerous than the world has seen in a millennium is coming. And she’s bringing an army.

Harry’s mission is simple but impossible: save the city by killing a Titan. And the attempt will change Harry’s life, Chicago and the mortal world forever.