Dresden Files follows Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, the only wizard private investigator working in Chicago. These books have the interesting cases and gripping fast-paced scenes often found in investigative fiction but also depend on the powers of Harry Dresden as a wizard and the supernatural features that are often present in urban fantasy books.
Dresden Files is written from Harry’s perspective as he guides us through each fascinating case which almost always revolves around the supernatural disturbances seen across Chicago.
The series contains a plethora of fantasy creatures including demons, vampires, werewolves, monsters, faeries, and ‘outsiders’.
The plot centers around a world divided into supernatural factions, factions that maintain control over a large percentage of the globe. Wizards hold much of the world’s economic power but each species has its own regulations, values, and organizations.
Harry Dresden is the only wizard in the U.S. who deals with both human and supernatural cases. He works with the Chicago Police Department and is called up when his services are required.
Dresden’s role becomes increasingly more significant as the series goes on and his cases get more and more difficult.
This article will walk you through the Dresden Files series in the best reading order and will touch upon some of the other books that Jim Butcher has written over the years. But first, let’s take a closer look at the author himself.
About the Author
Jim Butcher was born in 1971 in Missouri as the youngest of three children. His two older sisters introduced him to fantasy stories such as The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, which provoked a continued interest in science-fiction and fantasy.
His work often contains references to popular fantasy authors such as C.S. Lewis, the author of the famous Chronicles of Narnia book series, J.R.R. Tolkien who brought to life The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and Lloyd Alexander, known for The Chronicles of Prydain. He has claimed that these figures were highly influential on his writing career and continue to inspire his work to this day.
He wrote his first novel at the age of 19, which he claimed was ‘horrible’. The first Dresden Files novel was written for a writing class and the second and third were also written while he attended school.
The manuscript for the first novel was rejected by numerous publishing houses, a process Butcher claimed took about 2 years. After some serious perseverance, the first novel in Dresden Files was published. Butcher claims that the key to getting published is to ‘keep going’ and to ‘have the attitude of a successful writer’. The sale of a second series was what allowed Jim Butcher to make a living out of writing.
In his own time, Butcher enjoys live-action gaming, watching sci-fi movies, fencing, and singing. In addition, he has an avid interest in martial arts and has 15 years’ worth of experience practicing styles such as Ryukyu Kempo, Gojo Shorei Ryu, Kung Fu, and Tae Kwon Do. He is also passionate about horses and riding and has performed for large audiences in both stunt and drill riding.
Jim is married to Shannon Butcher and together they have a son, James, who is also trying to make a successful career out of writing. He lives in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and continues to write his urban fantasy novels.
The Dresden Files Series
There are a total of 17 released books in this beloved series and 2 new releases are expected in the upcoming years. Additionally, short stories and graphic novels have been written and added, acting as extensions of the original series.
The American Sci-Fi channel made a series adaptation of this series starring Paul Blackthorn as Harry Dresden. The TV series was received well at first but popularity waned and as a result, the show was canceled in 2007.
If you’re not interested in the add-on works, this series can just be read as novels. However, there is a chronological order that you can follow if you want to read the entire collection including short stories, novellas, and graphic novels.
This is the chronological order of the entire series:
- Restoration of Faith (short story)
- Welcome to the Jungle (graphic novel)
- Storm Front
- Storm Front Vol. I (graphic novel)
- Storm Front Vol. II (graphic novel)
- Fool Moon
- Fool Moon Vol. I (graphic novel)
- Fool Moon Vol. II (graphic novel)
- Ghoul, Goblin (graphic novel)
- B is for Bigfoot (short story)
- Grave Peril
- Summer Knight
- Death Masks
- A Vignette (short story)
- Blood Rites
- Dead Beat
- I Was a Teenage Bigfoot (short story)
- War Cry (graphic novel)
- Something Borrowed (short story)
- Proven Guilty
- White Night
- Down Town (graphic novel)
- Heorot (short story)
- Small Favor
- Backup (novella)
- Day Off (short story)
- The Warrior (short story)
- Curses (short story)
- AAAA Wizardry (short story)
- Last Call (short story)
- Dog Men (graphic novel)
- Turn Coat
- Bigfoot on Campus (short story)
- Even Hand (short story)
- Love Hurts (short story)
- Aftermath (short story)
- Ghost Story
- Bombshells (short story)
- Cold Days
- Cold Case (short story)
- Skin Game
- Jury Duty (short story)
- Day One (short story)
- A Fistful of Warlocks (short story)
- Zoo Day (short story)
- Peace Talks
- Battle Ground
- Little Things (short story)
- The Law (novella)
- Twelve Months (Expected)
- Mirror Mirror (Expected)
However, if you don’t have the stamina for 52 works, you can stick to the original novels, which are just as good on their own.
Here is the chronological order of the Dresden Files novels:
Storm Front (2000)
Introducing Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. He is the only practicing wizard in Chicago and spends most of his time investigating both human and non-human cases.
Storm Front begins as Harry struggles financially. He’s desperate for work, so when a new criminal arises, utilizing dark magic and conjuring new supernatural forces, he’s more than interested.
Whoever is doing this is dangerous and they’re about to commit a series of brutal murders. Harry must follow the evidence which leads him to Chicago’s grisly underbelly and there he’ll face monsters, human criminals, and vampires. He’s desperate for that paycheck but at what cost? A dangerous, supernatural criminal now knows they’re being hunted and they know exactly who to target.
Fool Moon (2001)
Once again, Harry is in a rut. Work is slow and the money is thin – it seems Chicago is rid of both its supernatural and mundane crimes. But when a violated corpse is found following a full moon, there seems to be only one reasonable answer. An answer that seems confirmed after a strange paw print is found at the scene.
Fool Moon relies on Harry’s magical expertise but it won’t be an easy investigation and Harry will frequently find himself clinging to his life. This is a fast-paced, humorous sequel but many fans have ranked it lower than other books within the series.
Grave Peril (2001)
Grave Peril presents Harry with something he’s never seen before. He’s dealt with every creature under the sun and the combination of both supernatural and mundane crimes means there’s very little left that can shock him.
But when he’s faced with a surge of mad spirits he’s lost for words. Ghosts are causing chaos across the city but they’re not unprovoked. Harry must find the root of the issue if he has any chance of restoring peace.
But as each victim falls and he discovers that each has a close connection to him, it becomes clear that this case is a lot more personal than he originally thought.
Summer Knight (2002)
His girlfriend left him high and dry, his financial situation has hit new lows, and Harry’s quite frankly a mess. He’s been swept into a spiraling depression that doesn’t seem to have an end. The last thing Harry needs is a complex case. Which of course, is exactly what he gets.
Summer Knight’s action kick starts as Harry is approached by the Winter Queen. She has one task for him and offers him a great prize in return. All he has to do is solve the murder of the Summer Knight, the Queen’s most trusted ally – seems simple enough, right? But when Harry finds out that the world’s destiny relies on his investigative work, things get much more complicated.
Death Masks (2003)
Unlike his previous experiences, Harry is overwhelmed with work, which is great for his bank balance but the nature of these cases is anything but good for Harry.
Death Masks follows as Harry tries to cope with numerous new cases: he is the target of two supernatural creatures who want him dead for different reasons, he is under pressure to identify a headless corpse and to make matters worse, his ex-girlfriend has reappeared, with a new man in tow.
Blood Rites (2004)
Harry gets himself involved in an undercover mission on the set of an explicit film. It’s all quite funny until women around him start turning up dead. Harry wishes he never took this job, a job he only agreed to as a favor.
But soon, Harry’s investigation will lead him down a completely unprecedented path, straight to the man who hired him. Blood Rites uncovers secrets, has life-changing impacts on Harry, and has a more scandalous tone than the novels that precede it.
Dead Beat (2006)
Now working with Karrin Murphy, the head of the Special Investigations department, Harry works his way into Graceland cemetery to meet Mavra, a well-known vampire. But in order to do so, Karrin must get him in and she won’t do so without something in return.
She wants the power attached to the Word of Kemmler and Harry must make sacrifices and race against time to get it. He’s facing a ticking clock – one that ends on Halloween. In order to prevent a chaotic, and potentially deadly, Halloween, he must go on an adventure and keep Karrin happy in the meantime. Dead Beat wraps up an ongoing plot line in this one that you’re not going to want to miss!
Proven Guilty (2007)
The White Council of Wizards aren’t huge fans of Harry Dresden, to them, he’s irresponsible and rebellious. But the war of vampires has left them vulnerable and now they rely on Harry for help.
Proven Guilty follows as Harry is sent to investigate black magic, a dangerous weapon that threatens the peace of this all-encompassing kingdom. But this investigation will edge closer and closer to home and soon Harry’s loyalties will be tested.
White Night (2008)
As more and more people are found dead, apparently by suicide, the police become suspicious and Harry is sent to investigate. He quickly discovers that the police were right to worry and that something more sinister is at play.
White Night provides Harry with his first serial killer case but this person is much more dangerous than predicted and soon, Harry becomes the next target. He is left trying to simultaneously solve the case and run from this new enemy.
Small Favor (2009)
Things are fairly quiet for Harry and life is peaceful, for now. But when the past resurfaces, Harry will be exposed to an old danger, one that will not vanish until satisfied.
Small Favor begins as Harry is reminded of a debt he owes to Mab, a faerie Queen of the Winter Court. He owes her two favors and now, she’s coming to collect. Harry will have to make some dangerous choices and he’ll be pushed to his limits. This one is guaranteed to keep you hooked!
Turn Coat (2010)
The White Council has always (quite rightly) kept a close eye on Harry. But now Morgan, one of the more vocal members of Harry’s techniques, has been falsely accused of treason. Once again, the Council turns to Harry and his unconventional ways to help.
Turn Coat follows as the reluctant wizard investigator attempts to find the person responsible and prove Morgan’s innocence. This might be one of Harry’s most intricate cases yet. He can’t mess it up, not if he wants to ensure the safety of everyone involved, including himself.
Changes presents Harry with his most personal case yet. A vampire has stolen his daughter, a daughter Harry has only just found out he has. The vampire aims to use her in a ritual sacrifice that will mean bloodshed and potentially, the loss of life.
But what Harry is yet to find out is that the ritual will not only use his daughter. He and his ex-girlfriend Susan are to be the real victims of this practice and there’s almost nothing he can do about it. Harry will have to give it everything he’s got, including breaking every rule in the book, to get himself and his almost ‘family’ out of danger.
Ghost Story (2012)
Ghost Story is a complex story that toys with the perception of death and the afterlife. Harry is trapped in an unknown place with no escape in sight. Not only does he need to find a way to return back to normalcy he must also find an escape route for his loved ones, who he has discovered are vulnerable to grave danger.
Harry must first find out how he got here and who’s responsible but with no access to his usual world and no access to his usual magic, Harry seems doomed.
Cold Days (2013)
After he enters a dangerous bargain with the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry’s role has shifted from investigator to assassin. In return for his life, Harry has now become one of the figures he previously hunted.
Cold Days present Harry with a new task, a seemingly impossible task, to murder an immortal. But just as he sets off on this task, he learns of another danger on Lake Michigan, a danger that has the potential to bring complete destruction to the entire land.
Skin Game (2015)
Harry is now the Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness and she’s requesting some pretty awful tasks. But this one is particularly bad. Harry is forced into a heist led by one of his worst enemies. He must help retrieve the Holy Grail, belonging to Hades, the Lord of the Underworld.
Skin Game leads Harry down a particularly tricky path. He’ll have to pull out all the stops if he has any chance of surviving.
Peace Talks (2020)
Peace Talks shows Harry back in business with the White Council. This time, he’s helping with security to ensure that everything remains amiable.
But when he makes discoveries that threaten his beloved city and politics turns darker, will he remain loyal?
Battle Ground (2020)
This is the final novel in the series as of now. Battle Ground follows as Harry entangles himself in danger way beyond his control. The Last Titan has proved herself an enemy of Chicago and now she’s declared war.
If he wants to save his city, he’ll have to kill her himself, before she destroys everything and everyone who fights against her.
Twelve Months (Expected)
The release date for this book has not yet been announced.
Mirror Mirror (Expected)
The release date for this book has not yet been announced.
Additionally, if you’ve got a visual mind and prefer graphic novels you can read these on their own. Here’s the chronological order of Butcher’s graphic novels that were made with Dabel Brothers Productions.
- Welcome to the Jungle (2008)
- Storm Front Vol. I (2009)
- Storm Front Vol. II (2011)
- Fool Moon Vol. I (2011)
- Fool Moon Vol. II (2012)
- Ghoul, Goblin (2013)
- War Cry (2014)
- Down Town (2015)
- Wild Card (2016)
- Dog Men (2017)
This series gives you a plethora of reading options so that any fan, regardless of their preferences or reading abilities can enjoy the series for themselves. We recommend that you read the series in full as the add-on works go into depth about subplots and shed light on different characters.
Evil Hat Productions additionally made a role-playing game based on the story of Dresden Files, so the avid gamers reading this can enjoy that as another form of Harry Dresden-based entertainment.
The series as an entirety is versatile in genre and storytelling methods and overall, is a brilliant series that will appeal to any reader, especially detective or fantasy fans.
There’s a reason why the Dresden Files series has been so popular. Over time, the franchise has sold millions of copies, and a wide fanbase still eagerly awaits any new releases. We hope this article has been helpful – now you can read the entire series in the correct order.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the next thing Jim Butcher will release?
The Olympian Affair, which will be the second book in the Cinder Spires series will be the next book to reach bookstores. After that, fans can expect Twelve Months, the 18th Dresden Files book, and then the 19th, Mirror Mirror.
How many books are planned to be in the Dresden Files series?
There are 22 ‘case books’ in the making at the moment. So, as of now, we can predict the release of another 5 books in this series. However, this is based on information on Butcher’s website which is subject to change at any point.
Is there another Dresden Files TV series being made?
Fox21 Studios have a new TV show in development which will hopefully be a lot more popular than the other show was.
Is Jim Butcher involved in the creation of the add-on works in the Dresden Files series?
Apart from the fanfiction that you may find scattered across the internet, Butcher is directly involved in the production of all works that relate to his original series including Fox21 Studios’ new TV series.
Where is the best place to buy the Dresden Files books?
Any online store such as Amazon, IndieBound, and Barnes & Noble should sell them – be sure to visit the Amazon links in this article for buying options.