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REVIEW: Wizard By Trade by Jim Butcher (SFBC Omnibus Collection)


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The continuing adventures of Chicago’s only openly practicing wizard P.I.

PROS: Non-stop action, smooth prose, interesting characters, unique setting, a page-turner.

CONS: Quite often Harry extricates himself from dire situations via the plot and not his own initiative, not much character development, more convoluted plots.

BOTTOM LINE: A very entertaining and enjoyable read. This combination of fantasy/supernatural and P.I. genres works very well. A must read for fantasy fans.


Wizard By Trade is the second Science Fiction Book Club omnibus volume covering the further adventures of Harry Dresden. This volume includes Summer Knight and Death Masks.

  • Summer Knight – Fresh from starting a war between the vampires and wizards, Harry is contracted by Mab, the Faerie Queen of Winter to discover who killed her vassal, the Summer Knight. But Harry must move fast since the White Court really wants to hand him over to the vampires in the hopes of cementing a peace deal.
  • Death Masks – Harry is challenged to a duel by the vampire Count Ortega guaranteeing an end to the vampire/wizard war. While preparing to duel Ortega, Harry is contacted by Father Vincent to track down a stolen Church artifact, The Shroud Of Tourin, which appears to have fallen into the hands an evil demon.

Everything I said about Wizard For Hire still applies to Wizard By Trade. Harry is a sympathetic character, even if he has a bit of a hero complex, and he has a knack for taking enormous amounts of physical damage and still comes out kicking. He’s also extremely clever and lucky, which helps him outwit those arrayed against him. I still feel Harry is an interesting character, I just think that, after all he’s been through, he might change somewhat as a person, but he’s still basically the same person as in the first story.

One other point, the plots in the two stories presented here are a bit more complex and convoluted than in the previous stories which made it a bit more work to figure out what, exactly, was going on. But that’s really just a small nit in an otherwise action-packed, page turning series. I think anyone who likes fantasy will like this volume of Harry Dresden stories.

About JP Frantz (2323 Articles)
Has nothing interesting to say so in the interest of time, will get on with not saying it.

4 Comments on REVIEW: Wizard By Trade by Jim Butcher (SFBC Omnibus Collection)

  1. Just wanted to tell you that I visited sfsignal every day and enjoy your news/reviews/commentary immensely. Keep up the good work!

  2. Have this book on order.. can’t wait to read.

  3. How does it compare to Cook’s fantasy PI series (if you have read them)?

  4. I haven’t read anything by Cook, nor do I cook at home, so I can’t compare them.


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