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The Dresden Files  
Author Jim Butcher
Cover artist Lee MacLeod, Christian McGrath
Language English
Genre(s) Detective
Modern fantasy
Urban Fantasy
Publisher Roc (books)
Dabel Brothers (comics and graphic novels)
Publication date April 2000 – present
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Serial (comics and graphic novels)

The Dresden Files is a series of fantasy/mystery novels written by Jim Butcher. He provides a first person narrative of each story from the point of view of the main character, private investigator and wizard Harry Dresden, as he recounts investigations into supernatural disturbances in modern-day Chicago. Butcher's original proposed title for the first novel was "Semiautomagic", which sums up the series' balance of fantasy and hard-boiled detective fiction.[1]

In 2007, a television series based on the novels aired for one season on the American Sci Fi Channel[2].



In the world of The Dresden Files, magic is real, along with vampires, demons, spirits, faeries, werewolves, and other mythical monsters. Harry Dresden works to protect the general public, who are ignorant of magic and the dark forces conspiring against them. This makes it difficult for Harry to get by as a working wizard and private eye. The Chicago PD's Special Investigation unit, when led by Murphy, regularly employed Dresden as a consultant to help solve cases of a supernatural nature.



In The Dresden Files universe, each species (humans, faeries, vampires, etc.) has its own political and societal rules, and organizations. The human wizards depend on the White Council, while the vampires and faeries belong to various courts.

Miscellaneous groups in the series

The Seven Laws of Magic

Publishing history

Jim Butcher decided to become a professional author at the age of 19. Subsequently he wrote three novels within the fantasy genre and one which he has classified as paranormal - books which the author has described as being "terrible".[3] In 1996 he enrolled in a writing class where he was encouraged to write a novel similar to the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton, rather than the more traditional High fantasy that had been his focus in the past, as Butcher had previously stated that he enjoyed the Anita Blake series.[4] Despite initial resistance, he wrote the first book that semester, closely following the instructions of his teacher, author Deborah Chester.[1]

When I finally got tired of arguing with her and decided to write a novel as if I was some kind of formulaic, genre writing drone, just to prove to her how awful it would be, I wrote the first book of the Dresden Files.

Jim Butcher, in 'A Conversation With Jim Butcher', 2004 [5]

The result was Semiautomagic, later to be retitled as Storm Front. His writing teacher declared it to be publishable, and Butcher started hunting around to do just that.[4]

Butcher failed to secure a publisher for between two and three years. During this period he completed the second novel, Fool Moon, and had made significant progress on the third, Grave Peril. Deciding to focus on agents and editors who have already published similar novels, Butcher targeted Ricia Mainhardt, the agent representing Laurell Hamilton, and submitted a copy of his manuscript.[5] It wasn't accepted.[3] Finally, Jim Butcher met Laurell Hamilton at a convention, and was invited to lunch along with her agent (Mainhardt) and a second agent, Jennifer Jackson. Ricia Mainhardt agreed to represent him, and six months later The Dresden Files had been sold to ROC, an imprint of Penguin Books.[3]

The first volume, Storm Front, was released in 2000 in paperback, while the next two novels in the series, Fool Moon and Grave Peril, were released shortly thereafter, in January and September 2001 also in paperback. Subsequent novels in the series have been published annually since then, with the most recent novel Turn Coat published April 2009. Omnibus editions have been released by the Science Fiction Book Club, with each of the four volumes reprinting two or three of the novels in the sequence.

The series' first six novels were originally only published as paperbacks, but in 2007 ROC changed its strategy and began to publish hardcover reprints of books one to six. Volume six, "Blood Rites", stands to be released in July 2010. From book seven onwards, each new book was directly published as hardcover and paperback both.

Orbit Books purchased the series for UK publication, and released the first novel, Storm Front in September, 2005 - five years after the initial US release. They then proceeded to publish two books per month. In November, 2007, Orbit Books announced that they had purchased the rights to the as-yet-unnamed 12th and 13th Dresden novels.[6]

Nine volumes of The Dresden Files have been released as audio books, and are narrated by James Marsters.

Books in the series

Dresden Files Bibliography
No. Title Hardcover Release Date Hardcover ISBN Paperback Release Date Paperback ISBN Audio Release Date Audio CD ISBN MP3 CD ISBN
1 Storm Front 2007 November 6 0-4514-6197-5 2000 April 1 0-4514-5781-1 2002 July 0-9657-2550-2 0-9657-2556-1
2 Fool Moon 2008 July 1 0-4514-6202-5 2001 January 1 0-4514-5812-5 2003 April 30 0-9657-2552-9 0-9657-2558-8
3 Grave Peril 2008 November 4 0-4514-6234-3 2001 September 1 0-4514-5844-3 2005 July 30 0-9657-2555-3 0-9657-2559-6
4 Summer Knight 2009 July 7 0-4514-6275-0 2002 September 3 0-4514-5892-3 2007 March 31 0-9790-7492-4 0-9790-7493-2
5 Death Masks 2009 November 3 0-4514-6294-7 2003 August 5 0-4514-5940-7 2009 October 29 0-1431-4519-3
6 Blood Rites 2010 July 5 0-4514-6335-8 2004 August 2 0-4514-5987-3 2010 April 15 0-1424-2806-X
7 Dead Beat 2005 May 3 0-4514-6027-8 2006 May 2 0-4514-6091-X 2010 April 15 0-1424-2807-8
8 Proven Guilty 2006 May 2 0-4514-6085-5 2007 February 6 0-4514-6103-7 2009 April 30 0-1431-4473-1
9 White Night 2007 April 3 0-4514-614-01 2008 February 5 0-4514-6155-X 2009 April 30 0-1431-4474-X
10 Small Favor 2008 April 1 0-4514-6189-4 2009 May 3 0-4514-6200-9 2008 April 1 0-1431-4339-5
11 Turn Coat 2009 April 7 0-4514-6256-4 2010 March 3 0-4514-6281-5 2009 April 30 0-1431-4472-3
12 Changes 2010 April 6 0-4514-6317-3 2010 April 15 0-1431-4534-7
Dresden Files Omnibus Bibliography
No. Title Release Date ISBN Contents
1–3 Wizard for Hire 2005 March 0-7394-5193-6 Storm Front, Fool Moon & Grave Peril
4,5 Wizard by Trade 2006 March 0-7394-6581-3 Summer Knight & Death Masks
6,7 Wizard at Large 2006 October 0-7394-7658-0 Blood Rites & Dead Beat
8,9 Wizard Under Fire 2007 May 0-7394-8344-7 Proven Guilty & White Night

All the books are published through ROC, an imprint of Penguin Books. The Science Fiction Book Club (SFBC) is reissuing the series in hardcover omnibus editions. So far, all of the audio books of The Dresden Files have been read by actor James Marsters. The first four are produced by Buzzy Multimedia Publishing. The fifth audio book Small Favor is produced by Penguin Audio. The audio books for the remaining books of the Dresden Files will be released in 2009 and 2010 from Buzzy Multimedia with James Marsters reading. Proven Guilty and White Night will be released in April 2009 alongside Turn Coat. Death Masks will be released November 2009, and Blood Rites and Dead Beat will be released July 2010.[7].

Graphic novels

In October 2007, Jim Butcher revealed on his website that Dabel Brothers would be producing a Dresden Files comic book series, similar to the Anita Blake graphic novel series:

Working together with Dabel Brothers Productions, the Dresden Files are going to be translated into a graphic novel format. The current plan is to lay out the Dresden Files storyline at the rate of one of the novels every twelve to sixteen monthly issues, with occasional side-trips and independent stories thrown in. (Ever wonder what happened in Branson the month before Storm Front? How about what somebody saw in the lake in Minnesota between Storm Front and Fool Moon? Maybe I’ll get to tell those stories now! How cool is that?)

I will be assisting with the writing of the comics, and am also involved in the design and approval of the characters, art, tone, and so on. This is an actual hand-in-hand project in which I have full creative input and influence, and I’m friggin’ giddy about it. I mean, come on! Comic books!

The four-issue mini-series called Welcome to the Jungle, ran as a prequel to Storm Front from early to mid 2008. A compilation of that run was released as a hardcover graphic novel in October 2008. Storm Front was announced as the next adaptation, by the same creative team.[8] The first issue was released in November 2008. Welcome to the Jungle was nominated for the first Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story.


Backup: A Story of the Dresden Files is a novelette set in the Dresdenverse, but narrated by Thomas Raith, Harry's half-brother. In the novelette, Harry is in danger and is unaware of it, and Thomas runs interference for Harry, trying to protect Harry without him realizing it. The novelette was published on October 31, 2008 by Subterranean Press.[9]

Short stories

  • "Restoration of Faith" (short story)
  • "Publicity and Advertising" (vignette)
  • "Something Borrowed" (short story), published in My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding (October 3, 2006, ISBN 0-312-34360-4)
  • "It's My Birthday, Too" (short story), published in Many Bloody Returns (September 4, 2007, ISBN 978-0-441-01522-1)
  • "Heorot" (short story), published in My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon (December 26, 2007, ISBN 978-0312375041)
  • "Harry's Day Off" (short story), published in Blood Lite (October 21, 2008, ISBN 1-4165-6783-6)[10]
  • "The Warrior" (short story), published in Mean Streets (January 6, 2009, ISBN 978-0451462497)[11]
  • "Last Call", published in Strange Brew (July 7, 2009, ISBN 978-0312383367)

Other Media


The Dresden Files was adapted to television in 2007 by the Sci-Fi Channel, and was cancelled after one season.

Role Playing Game

Jim Butcher has spoken openly about a pen and paper role-playing game in development based on the Dresden Files universe. The game is being produced by Evil Hat Productions for a future commercial release.[12][13]

In January 2008, the project went into an early alpha phase of testing,[14] and was in various beta testing phases throughout 2009. Although a firm release date has yet to be established, Evil Hat has announced a tentative target date of June 23-27, 2010, coinciding with Origins 2010.[15]


  1. ^ a b "The Wizard interview with Jim Butcher". Wizards Retrieved 2008-02-04.  
  2. ^ The Dresden Files on the SciFi channel page
  3. ^ a b c Butcher, Jim (2004). "How'd Jim Get Published?". Retrieved 2008-02-04.  
  4. ^ a b Whiteside, Lee (2007). "A Conversation With Jim Butcher" (PDF). ConNotations 17 (2). Retrieved 2008-02-04.  
  5. ^ a b McCune, Alisa (2004). "A Conversation With Jim Butcher". The SF Site. Retrieved 2008-02-04.  
  6. ^ Pagan, Bella (November 7, 2004). "More, more, more Dresden Files!". Orbit Books. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ Dabel Brothers Publishing announces "Jim Butcher's Storm Front" creative team, Comic Book Resources, July 2, 2008
  9. ^ "Jim Butcher and Orson Scott Card Sold Out on Publication!". Subterranean Press. 2008-11-02. Retrieved 2008-11-03.  
  10. ^ "Amazon: Blood Lite". Retrieved 2008-08-25.  
  11. ^ "Amazon: Mean Streets". Retrieved 2008-08-25.  
  12. ^ "Dresden Files RPG - News and Press". Retrieved 2009-01-04.  
  13. ^ "The Game's the Thing Podcast".  
  14. ^ "Dresden Files RPG - Evil Hat Interview and Playtest Update". Retrieved 2009-01-04.  
  15. ^ "Dresden Files RPG - Happy Birthday, Harry: We Have A Target". Retrieved 2009-03-11.  

External links

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