Roc, August 2003, 6.99, 384 pp.
Two extremely competent female cat burglars steal the Shroud of Turin with all signs pointing towards the icon being taken to Chicago. Evidence suggests that Chicago mobster John Marcone is the intended buyer, but the church hopes to intercept the sacred artifact before it changes hands. Father Vincent works with the Chicago police but he also hopes to obtain the assistance of local wizard Harry Dresden, a private investigator who specializes in supernatural crimes.
Harry agrees to take the case but it becomes more complicated when the Denarians also want the shroud. The Denarians are humans who chose to align themselves with the Fallen for immortality and innumerable power. They plan to use the artifact combined with some dark magic to create and spread a plague that will decimate much of the world's population. Harry and his allies, the Knights of the Cross, must stop the Denarians at all costs or Earth will undergo a tragedy more powerful than the Black Plague.
Jim Butcher has created a very powerful urban fantasy story set in modern day Chicago where the only “outed” wizard resides. Unlike many of his allies, who operate in a black and white world, Harry works in shades of pastels, never certain whether what he is doing is right or just expedient. It is that uncertainty that makes the hero a vulnerable lovable person. Fans of Laurell K. Hamilton and Mercedes Lackey will definitely want to read all five books in the Dresden Files.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner