Jim Butcher, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Dresden Files and the Codex Alera novels, conjures up a new series set in a fantastic world of noble families, steam-powered technology, and magic-wielding warriors…
Since time immemorial, the Spires have sheltered humanity, towering for miles over the mist-shrouded surface of the world. Within their halls, aristocratic houses have ruled for generations, developing scientific marvels, fostering trade alliances, and building fleets of airships to keep the peace.
Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship, Predator. Fiercely loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora, disrupting the enemy’s shipping lines by attacking their cargo vessels. But when the Predator is severely damaged in combat, leaving captain and crew grounded, Grimm is offered a proposition from the Spirearch of Albion—to join a team of agents on a vital mission in exchange for fully restoring Predator to its fighting glory.
And even as Grimm undertakes this dangerous task, 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 once more. And death will follow in its wake…
About Jim Butcher
Jim Butcher is the author of the Dresden Files, the Codex Alera, and a new steampunk series, the Cinder Spires. His resume includes a laundry list of skills which were useful a couple of centuries ago, and he plays guitar quite badly. An avid gamer, he plays tabletop games in varying systems, a variety of video games on PC and console, and LARPs whenever he can make time for it. Jim currently resides mostly inside his own head, but his head can generally be found in his home town of Independence, Missouri.
Jim goes by the moniker Longshot in a number of online locales. He came by this name in the early 1990′s when he decided he would become a published author. Usually only 3 in 1000 who make such an attempt actually manage to become published; of those, only 1 in 10 make enough money to call it a living. The sale of a second series was the breakthrough that let him beat the long odds against attaining a career as a novelist.
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 when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal capabilities, they look to him for answers. There's just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, 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.
‘I don’t want to live in a world where the strong rule and the weak cower. I’d rather make a place where things are a little quieter. Where trolls stay the hell under their bridges and where elves don’t come swooping out to snatch children from their cradles. Where vampires respect the limits, and where the faeries mind their p’s and q’s. My name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. Conjure by it at your own risk. When things get strange, when what goes bump in the night flicks on the lights, when no one else can help you, give me a call. I’m in the book.’
Harry is a detective but also a wizard; the only one in the city of Chicago. He’s going through some hard times currently and haven’t worked enough jobs recently to pay the rent (or buy food for that matter) and when a job comes knocking on his door he doesn’t think twice. Monica Sells is the traditional damsel in distress that hires Harry to help her find her husband. Karrin Murphy is the head of the Special Investigations Department of the Chicago police department and needs Harry’s help in solving a recent double homicide where a man and woman had their hearts ripped out ‘mid-coitus’. In addition to homicides and missing husbands, Harry is dealing with Chicago’s crime boss who has a personal interest in seeing that Harry doesn’t solve the murder case. So basically just a typical day in the life of Harry Dresden.
Storm Front, the beginning of the massive fifteen (at the moment) installments in the widely known Harry Dresden series. Fifteen installments being the reason I’ve been so leery about picking this series but I’m so glad I finally did. I can count several Urban Fantasy series I love because of the empowered snarky main character with the best sense of humor but they all happy to be female. Not anymore.
‘Smiling always seems to annoy people more than actually insulting them. Or maybe I just have an annoying smile.’
“EASTER HAS BEEN CANCELED – THEY FOUND THE BODY” (T-Shirt worn by Harry)
While this isn’t the most solidly written detective/murder mystery (it was fairly easy to guess what was going on the whole time) it was still entertaining enough with an interesting cast of characters to avoid the urge to skip to the end. I loved the noir feel to Storm Front, Harry had a definite Sam Spade/Philip Marlowe feel to him just with a magical staff and a trench coat. The world-building was well-done without the typical info dump we receive at the beginning of any new series. There were various additions to this world that sets it apart from the rest: The White Council is the group which governs wizards, the Nevernever is a spirit realm and there are also vampires, faeries, demons and other assorted supernatural beasties. It was all very interesting and I look forward to the world being further explored in following installments.
I’ve been told that this is not the strongest installment and that they get better as they progress but I was sufficiently pleased with Storm Front that I will most definitely be picking up Fool Moon soon. The audiobooks made this even more of an entertaining read as they are narrated by James Marsters who does a fabulous job at conveying the proper amount of snarky into Harry’s tone (you can listen to the 1st chapter in full below). Don’t let the 15+ installments frighten you; if you love Urban Fantasy, The Dresden Files is one series you won’t want to miss out on.