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Grave Peril (The Dresden Files, Book 3) by…

Grave Peril (The Dresden Files, Book 3) (edition 2001)

by Jim Butcher

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5,815154728 (4.01)223
Title:Grave Peril (The Dresden Files, Book 3)
Authors:Jim Butcher
Info:Roc (2001), Edition: Reprint, Mass Market Paperback, 378 pages
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Grave Peril by Jim Butcher



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Cross-posted to Knite Writes


Harry Dresden has a ghost problem. Well, he has a lot of problems, but this time, ghosts are the focus. Him and his buddy Michael, who wields one of three holy swords, have been taking down ghosts all over Chicago for the past few weeks — something’s been driving them crazy. During a fight with a creepy hospital ghost, Harry finally figures out what it is: somebody has put some kind of terrible barbed-wire spell on them, causing them to go nuts from the pain.

Meanwhile, a girl who calls herself Lydia comes along asking Harry for help because she thinks something nasty is out to get her, so Harry sends her on to a church for protection. Unfortunately, she runs off the night after something tries to attack her at the church.

Then Murphy shows up with a problem: one of her good cop friends (now on disability due to the events of Fool Moon) was attacked during the night and has seemingly gone insane. Harry uses his Wizard Sight on the guy and realizes the poor man has been attacked by the barbed-wire spell!

On top of all of that, Harry’s been invited to Bianca’s special vampire ball.

Before Harry can completely get a grasp on the crap-ton of stuff that’s happening to him at once, he’s attacked in his sleep by something he dubs the “Nightmare,” which bites a big chunk out of his magic. It then proceeds to take his shape and go after Murphy, who ends up out of commission for the rest of the book. The damn thing also attacks Charity, Michael’s wife, and nearly kills her and her unborn baby.

Harry starts to think everything boils down to Bianca, so he shows up to her fancy ball with Michael in tow. Unfortunately, Susan sneaks in as well, and as things inevitably break down, Harry is unable to protect her. Bianca prompts Harry into attacking by threatening to have an evil Black Court vampire, Mavra, use Michael’s stolen holy sword to slaughter innocent Lydia, which would destroy the sword.

Harry, being Harry, does the right thing — it even says so on the gravestone Bianca made for him. Yeah, you read that right.

Basically, the rest of the plot boils down to 1.) Susan getting kidnapped and turned into a half-vampire, 2.)Harry breaking into Bianca’s house only to [TRIGGER WARNING] get horrifically gang-raped by her and her vampire brethren (Harry won’t explain exactly what happened, but you get a pretty good idea from the…phrasing), 3.) Harry figuring out that the Nightmare is actually the ghost of a dead warlock he stopped a few months ago and taking the guy down, thus reclaiming his lost magic, and 4.) Harry starting a war between the Red Vampire Court and the White Council by destroying Bianca’s house with an epic ghost-raising spell in order to save Susan.

Yeah…this one might be a little harder to clean up than the last two, Harry.

At the end, poor Harry has fallen into a terrible bout of depression because Susan rejected his marriage proposal and left him in order to prevent herself from attacking him and accidentally becoming a full-fledged vampire.

Harry just can’t catch a break.

Tune in for the next episode to see what other soul-crushing misfortunes befall him!


My Take

I’ve read that this book is where the series really takes off, and I wholeheartedly agree with that assessment. If you really pay attention, you can see just how much foreshadowing takes place in this installment. There are a ton of new characters introduced who I know (because I spoil myself) have larger roles in future books, there are events that have far-reaching ramifications, and there are clever hints here and there about how Harry’s life is going to change in later books. I think Butcher thought the plot of this book out very well, and I think it makes up the major foundation of what’s to come in The Dresden Files.

The mentioned cast of new characters were well-characterized, even though many of them were only introduced in the latter half of the book or later — some had very limited screen time, yet Butcher was able to flesh out their general personalities and motivations very quickly. He has a good track record with this, I believe, and his skill with seamlessly introducing new and important characters to the plot helps keep the moderate to fast pacing on track without interruption.

There’s a fair deal of world-building involved in this one as well, and I was glad to finally get a glimpse at some of the places that were mentioned in passing in previous books, most of which have been set up to become progressively more important as time goes on.

In all, this is definitely an excellent installment of the series, and I can see why Butcher has been praised for it — it takes a lot of forethought and planning to fit so much into a single book without it becoming convoluted, and Butcher pulls it off beautifully.

(P.S. In case you’re wondering: Yes, Harry still spends an inordinate amount of time focusing on women’s bodies, even at the most inappropriate times. He’s the kind of guy who needs professional help, I think.)



Nothing much has changed with Butcher’s style since Storm Front. He’s a pretty consistent writer.


Is It Worth Reading?

Yes. Please read it. If you’re going to a skip a book in the series (I don’t know why you would, but some people, you know?), please don’t skip this one. It’s action-packed, interesting, and incredibly informative and important.



4/5 ( )
  ClaraCoulson | Nov 16, 2015 |
I have been lukewarm on the Dresden novels, enjoying them, but not completely engaged. But as I read this one, I definitely fell into the series. Harry Dresden's world is gritty and filled with demons, vampires, and other riff raff. But it also has Harry's friends and as the books evolve, so does the friendships and attachments. I also love a good vs. evil story and this is one of them. Eager to see where the rest of the series goes! ( )
  jmoncton | Nov 3, 2015 |
The best so far. I realized that I don't care for Murphy, so since she wasn't one of the main characters in "Grave Peril", I liked it a lot. Not that is the main reason of course. ( )
  Irena. | Nov 3, 2015 |
I enjoyed Jim Butcher's Grave Peril (The Dresden Files, #3). Over the course of the first three books (in the FIFTEEN-book series), I've definitely developed a crush on Harry .. I missed Murphy's (frequent) presence in this one - the few mentions simply weren't enough! Susan . . my vote is still out as far as she's concerned. Perhaps, given my feelings for Harry, it's simply a matter of jealousy! Michael and Bob demonstrated an entertaining contrast in viewpoint that kept me chortling throughout .. religious fervor versus humorous ribaldry can be very entertaining!

The one downside - for me - had nothing to do with the storyline; it was much more basic than that .. the talented narrator, James Marsters, continues to be in serious need of a pronunciation dictionary! This is the third book in The Dresden Files series; you'd think the powers that be would have pointed out the repeated MISpronunciations contained in each of the books. Someone needs to alert Mr. Marsters to the fact that dais (day-us) is NOT pronounced die-us, and writhe is certainly not pronounced reethe . . there are many other prounciation oopsies . . after repeated instances they become (for me) a significant distraction!

All of that having been said, Harry's charm is definitely a drawing card . . I'm looking forward to reading the next in this entertaining series. ( )
  idajo2 | Nov 3, 2015 |
It was a nice read... , though a lot of magic in the book, i prefer more suspense and mystery.. overall it's a good read, i'll rate it 3.5/5 its a good build up for the coming books in the series as the white council and the Vampires have started a war against each other... lets see whats more to come.. ( )
  Shivam_Singh | Sep 5, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jim Butcherprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chong, VincentIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marsters, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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There are reasons I hate to drive fast.
I felt uncomfortable, approaching the church -- not for any weirdo quasi-mystical reason. Just because I'd never been comfortable with churches in general. The Church had killed a lot of wizards in its day, believing them in league with Satan. It felt strange to be just strolling up on business. Hi, God, it's me, Harry. Please don't turn me into a pillar of salt. (chapter 9)
Thaumaturgy is traditional magic, all about drawing symbolic links between items or people then investing energy to get the effect that you want. You can do a lot with thaumaturgy, provided you have enough time to plan things out, and more time to prepare a ritual, the symbolic objects, and the magical circle.
I've yet to meet a slobbering monster polite enough to wait for me to finish. (Harry, chapter 16)
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Book description
In all his years of supernatural sleuthing, Harry Dresden has never faced anything like this: the spirit world's gone postal. These ghosts are tormented, violent, and deadly. Someone-or something-is purposely stirring them up to wreak unearthly havoc. But why? If Harry doesn't figure it out soon, he could wind up a ghost himself.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451458443, Mass Market Paperback)

In all his years of supernatural sleuthing, Harry Dresden has never faced anything like this: the spirit world's gone postal. These ghosts are tormented, violent, and deadly. Someone-or something-is purposely stirring them up to wreak unearthly havoc. But why? If Harry doesn't figure it out soon, he could wind up a ghost himself.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:34 -0400)

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F Kent ; XX-CDF ; 10CD/1AW ; SA ; CD24I.

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