cover image Battle Ground

Battle Ground

Jim Butcher. Ace, $28 (432p) ISBN 978-0-593-19930-5

With this urban fantasy blockbuster, Butcher swiftly pays off on the major cliffhanger from Peace Talks, launching wizard Harry Dresden and the city of Chicago into a no-holds-barred battle. As the previous work ended, the Fomor King Corb and the Last Titan, Ethniu, daughter of Balor, threw down the gauntlet to the assembled supernatural nations, who had gathered for peace talks. Mere hours later, Fomor forces rise out of Lake Michigan and besiege Chicago with the intention of killing everyone in the city. What follows is an “epic mythology fight” in which nearly every living friend or foe to have appeared in a previous Dresden novel fights either alongside or against Harry, with some nasty new enemies arriving on the scene as well. The battle is unrelenting as Ethniu’s army levels city blocks and kills thousands. Harry begins this volume still able to toss off his usual wisecracks, but he turns grim as the toll of battle mounts and the physical, magical, and emotional blows keep coming. Butcher doesn’t neglect his usual narrative sleight of hand, either—while the war rages, he sets up several subplots sure to play out in future installments. This is urban fantasy at its best, combining spectacular magic and deeply explored character. Agent: Jennifer Jackson, Donald Maass Literary. (Oct.)