Grave Peril (The Dresden Files)

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Grave Peril
Grave Peril.jpg
Author Jim Butcher
Cover artist Lee MacLeod
Country United States
Language English
Series The Dresden Files
Genre Urban Fantasy
Publisher Penguin Putnam
Publication date
September 1, 2001
Media type Print (Paperback) & AudioBook (Audio Cassette & Audio CD)
Pages 378 pp (first edition, paperback)
ISBN 0-451-45844-3 (first edition, paperback)
OCLC 47904041
LC Class CPB Box no. 1840 vol. 10
Preceded by Fool Moon
Followed by Summer Knight

Grave Peril is a 2001 urban fantasy novel by author Jim Butcher. It is the third novel in The Dresden Files, which follows the character of Harry Dresden, present-day Chicago's only professional wizard.[1][2]

Plot summary[edit]

Dresden and Michael Carpenter, a Knight of the Cross, try to track down a dangerous ghost in a Chicago hospital, but are nearly ensnared by Dresden's faerie godmother Leanansidhe, then arrested by the Chicago police. Harry is bailed out by his girlfriend Susan, then receives an official invitation to represent the White Council at a Red Court vampire party. He refuses to allow Susan to accompany him.

While trying to protect a young seer, Lydia, Harry is attacked by vampires and sent into a narcotic slumber. He dreams of being attacked by the Nightmare, a demon allied with Kravos, a now-dead sorcerer he and Michael had defeated. The Nightmare's dream attack was potent, draining Harry of much of his magic. Harry realizes that the Nightmare will attack his friends and allies. In Harry's guise, the Nightmare hurts policewoman Karrin Murphy and kidnaps Michael's pregnant wife Charity.

Dresden tracks down the Nightmare to a cemetery, but is losing his struggle with it when Leanansidhe appears again. She aids him in return for his pledge of service, but after he drives the Nightmare away and rescues Charity he tries to use Michael's sacred sword to break his pledge to Leanansidhe, an act of treachery allowing her to seize the sword for herself. Dresden then casts a spell forcing the Nightmare to focus its attention on him, ignoring his friends.

Dresden and Michael go to the Red Court party, suspecting they will find the enemy controlling the Nightmare. Susan arrives with a forged invitation, unwittingly forsaking the pledge of safe conduct extended to legitimate invitees. Leanansidhe also attends. Harry is poisoned, and Susan is tricked into trading all of her memories of him to Leanasidhe in return for a cure. As Harry and Michael try to safely extricate Susan, they encounter the sorceress controlling the Nightmare, Mavra, a noble from another vampire Court. Mavra plans to defile Michael's sword by murdering Lydia, now her prisoner, with it, in order to take revenge on Michael for killing many of her kind years earlier.

Harry and Michael ally with Thomas, a noble of the rival White Court. They try to rescue Lydia and retake the sword, but the Red Court hostess, Bianca, forces Thomas to turn Susan over to her. Incoherent with rage, Dresden unleashes an unusually potent incineration spell, slaughtering many of the Red Court. He collapses, and Michael manages to drag both Dresden and Lydia to safety. Thomas escapes the inferno after retrieving Michael's sword, but Bianca also captures his lover Justine.

Thomas returns the sacred sword, offering an alliance to rescue both Susan and Justine. Lydia, now possessed by the Nightmare, attacks, but Thomas subdues her. Dresden tries to exorcise her, but discovers that the Nightmare is actually the ghost of Kravos, who committed ritual suicide in order to empower his ghost and break down the barriers between the living and the dead.

Dresden returns to Bianca's stronghold by a magical route, but is captured and imprisoned together with Susan. Susan has been half-turned to vampire; the transition will be completed if she feeds on Dresden and kills him. Dresden forestalls her nascent bloodlust by casting a spell restoring her memories. Kravos attacks, and Dresden tricks him into stopping his heart. Because the barriers have been weakened, Harry's powerful ghost appears as Susan resuscitates him with CPR. Harry and his ghost defeat Kravos, recapturing his own stolen power and draining Kravos's strength as well. After Harry's ghost dissipates, Bianca attacks, but before the barriers can re-establish themselves Harry unleashes the spirits of Bianca's many victims against her and escapes with Susan and Justine.

Harry's actions have precipitated a war between the vampire Red Court and the White Council of wizards. Susan rejects Harry's marriage proposal and leaves Chicago, knowing that her half-vampiric condition would impel her to kill him in any moment of weakness.

Introduced characters[edit]

  • Michael Carpenter: A carpenter by trade, and a Knight of the Cross, who wields the sword Amoracchius. He met Dresden prior to the events of this novel.
  • Kravos (deceased): a sorcerer of black magic. the villain of the story.
  • Leanansidhe: A Sidhe of the Winter Court; Harry's faerie Godmother.
  • Charity Carpenter: The wife of Michael Carpenter. She met Dresden prior to the events of this novel.
  • Father Forthill: A priest at Saint Mary of the Angels church; he provides a safe house for the Knights of the Cross. He met Dresden prior to the events of this novel.
  • Mortimer Lindquist: He sees dead people and communicates with them.
  • Thomas Raith: A White Court vampire and the least favored child of the White King.
  • Justine: Thomas' girlfriend and a woman with a secret.
  • Mavra: A Black Court vampire and a sorceress.
  • Don Paolo Ortega: A duke of the Red Court vampires.
  • Ferrovax or Mr Ferro: a dragon, a semi-divine being of immense power; one of Bianca's party guests.


Kristine Huntley, writing for Booklist called Dresden "...a likable protagonist with more than his share of troubles, and Grave Peril will keep readers turning the pages to find out how he overcomes them." [3]

Publishers Weekly stated, "Despite this narrow [first person] point of view, Butcher successfully lends human dimensions to vampires and spirits through his vivid descriptions and colloquial dialogue." before concluding "This over-the-top tale is more likely to entertain young adult readers than fans of [Laurell K. Hamilton and Tanya Huff]."[4]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Butcher, Jim. "Grave Peril (#3)". Jim Butcher Home Page. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  2. ^ "Grave Peril (The Dresden Files #3)". Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  3. ^ Huntley, Kristine (September 1, 2001). "Grave Peril. Butcher, Jim". Booklist. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  4. ^ "Fiction book review GRAVE PERIL by Jim Butcher, Author". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 16 December 2014.