Harry Dresden’s faced some pretty terrifying foes during his career. Giant scorpions. Oversexed vampires. Psychotic 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 postal. All over Chicago, ghosts are causing trouble — and not just of the door-slamming, boo-shouting variety. These ghosts are tormented, violent, and deadly. Someone — or something — is purposely 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 could wind up a ghost himself… – Book description on cover
Jim Butcher clearly believes in leaping right into the action as Grave Peril opens with a race against time to stop a ghost that’s going to kill a bunch of babies if Dresden cannot stop it. Luckily he has some help, this time in the shape of his friend, Michael Carpenter, building contractor and knight.
You heard me. Michael is a knight, complete with shield, chainmail and armor that burns creatures of the night, and a sword containing a nail from the Cross. Because Michael is a knight of the Cross, a soldier of God. Unlike Dresden his power does not come from magic, but from faith, and with his sword, Amoracchius, he destroys ghosts and demons and all other creatures that serve the powers of evil.
Speaking of evil, this novel’s chock full of not only ghosts, but vampires, hellhounds and we get our first introduction to the faeries, and not the Tinkerbell-kind, but the sidhe, the powerful beings of Celtic legend. In particular, we meet Harry’s (fairy-)godmother, and she’s not very nice.
As with the previous Dresden novels there is no shortage of action, clever plans, stupid decisions and close calls. Murphy does not feature very much in this novel, but we get to know Susan (Harry’s girlfriend) a bit better, there’s Michael (along with his family and Father Forthill, his priest) and we meet Thomas, the mysterious vampire from the White Court who appears to be more than he seems. Oh, and Bob.
Apart from all the usual stuff, this novel starts digging into Dresden’s past and the mystery surrounding his mother. We also learn a little more about the different vampire courts. And of course there’s Michael.
As mentioned before, I’m not crazy about the idea of incorporating real religions into fantasy, but I suppose if you write contemporary fantasy (or, in fact, any fantasy set in the real world, no matter the time period) you don’t have much choice in the matter. You can’t very well have demons and powers of evil without having a supernatural force for good as well. But Butcher handles this aspect of his world with respect and consistency and it contributes to the story overall, so I can’t complain.
Like the first two this was a light and entertaining read that was over much too fast for my liking and I’m already looking forward to the next one.
More reviews of Grave Peril
- Grave Peril (The Dresden Files book 3) by Jim Butcher REVIEW (teenagebookcritic.com)
- Grave Peril — Jim Butcher (Dresden Files #3)