Published 2004 452 Pages
Harry Dresden, Chicago’s foremost professional wizard (okay Chicago’s only professional wizard!) has been engaged to protect a film producer who suspects that his film has been cursed. Working undercover on the film set, Harry can immediately tell that someone has placed an extremely nasty entropy curse on members of the film crew. The dead giveaway is the bizarre and spectacularly unusual ways in which people are dying.
Harry only took the job as a favour to Thomas a White Court vampire of his acquaintance. Thomas is an incubus; he steals and feeds upon the life force of others - usually during sex. So Harry really shouldn’t have been surprised when the film turns out to be an adult movie and when all the clues start pointing towards Thomas and his vampire family.
During the course of his investigations Harry uncovers a family secret that will change his life forever.
To make matters worse, Mavra the leader of the Black Court vampires, has come to Chicago looking for Harry’s blood. Harry decides that waiting for Mavra to move against him is only going to get him killed, so he decides to take the offensive and plans to stake her in her coffin sooner rather than later.
He recruits Kincaid, a scarily efficient mercenary of supernatural origin, and Murphy, leader of the Chicago Police Department’s Special Investigations unit, to help with the job. Locating the vampire nest is easy but killing the vampires is a much harder task, as they are protected by Renfields (enslaved humans) dark hounds (converted dogs) and have taken human hostages.
Between trying to save the surviving members of the film crew from the effects of the curse, investigating who is behind the curse and stopping them - plus killing a nest of Black Court Vampires, Harry certainly has his work cut out for him.
Blood Rites is the sixth book in Jim Butcher’s “Dresden Files” series. It is essentially a supernatural crime thriller with the added excitement of vampire slaying thrown in.
The “Dresden Files” always have a wide variety of supernatural beings in the stories - demons, witches, wizards, werewolves and fairies to name but a few – but Blood Rites concentrates firmly on vampires.
In Harry’s world there are three different kinds of vampire. Black Court vampires are the classic type of vampire as written about by Bram Stoker. They are walking corpses, with all the traditional strengths and weaknesses of vampires.
Red Court vampires have a human appearance but this is just a façade. It conceals their true vampiric appearance, which is completely inhuman. They are highly organised and make formidable opponents.
White Court vampires are the closest to appearing human. They are actually incubi and succubae (depending on their sex) and are incredibly attractive to humans, irresistible in fact, although they suck the life force out of people during sex.
All of these vampires have various axes to grind with Harry usually as a result of grudges left over from his previous encounters with them in earlier books. The back story is handled well though and unlike some fantasy novels you don’t need to have read all the previous books to understand what is happening in Blood Rites.
The action in the story is, as always in Jim Butcher’s books, fast paced and once you start reading it doesn’t let up. The story starts with our much loved, and much beaten up, protagonist being chased and a taking beating from an incendiary poo throwing monkey-demon whilst he tries to rescue some puppies. How can you not love a guy for that?
Blood Rites is recommended reading for sleuth loving fantasy and vampire fans everywhere.
LoveVampires Review Rating: