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Death Masks: Book Five of The Dresden Files Paperback – August 5, 2003

413 customer reviews
Book 5 of 15 in the Dresden Files Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Harry Dresden is not having a good day. A vampire named Ortega is hunting the beleaguered wizard, intending to challenge him to a duel that, Ortega claims, will end the war between the vampires and the wizards. Harry has almost no hope of winning the duel, but soon he is preoccupied by another problem: Father Vincent, a priest, needs Harry's help in finding the Shroud of Turin, stolen by a trio of thieves. Harry traces two of the thieves to his hometown, Chicago, but when he finds them, he learns that he isn't the only one after them. A group of terrifying demons wants the shroud, and its leader is interested in Harry's soul, too. Harry must call on all of his friends, including three brave knights, his police-officer friend, and even his half-vampire ex-girlfriend, Susan. Butcher maintains a breakneck pace in Harry's exciting fifth adventure. This imaginative series continues to surprise and delight with its inventiveness and sympathetic hero. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


Butcher maintains a breakneck pace Booklist Inventive storylines, dark supernatural themes, edge-of-your-seat adventure, strong characterizations, and irreverent humour ... Everything works This imaginative series continues to surprise and delight Booklist --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Dresden Files (Book 5)
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Roc (August 5, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451459407
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451459404
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (413 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jim Butcher read his first fantasy novel when he was seven years old--
the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. By the time he turned eight,
he'd added the rest of the Narnia books, the Prydain Chronicles, every
book about Star Wars he could find, a great many Star Trek novels and
the Lord of the Rings to his count.

So he was pretty much doomed from the start.

Love of fantasy, his personal gateway drug, drew him toward a fairly
eclectic spread of interests: horseback riding (including trick riding,
stunt riding, drill riding, and competitive stunt racing), archery,
martial arts, costuming, music and theater. He played a lot of role-
playing games, a lot of fantasy-based tactical computer games, and
eventually got into live-action roleplay where players beat each other
up with boffer weapons.

So, really, he can fly his nerd flag with pretty much anyone, and
frequently does.

He took up writing to be able to produce fantasy novels with swords and
horses in them, and determinedly wrote terrible fantasy books until,
just to prove a point to his writing teacher, he decided to take every
piece of her advice; fill out outlines and worksheets, and design
stories and characters just the way she'd been telling him to do for
about three years. He was certain that once she saw what hideous art it
produced, she would be proven wrong and repent the error of her ways.
The result was the Dresden Files, which sure showed *her*.

She has not yet admitted her mistake and recanted her philosophy on

Jim has performed in dramas, musicals, and vocal groups in front of
live audiences of thousands and on TV. He has performed exhibition
riding in multiple arenas, and fallen from running horses a truly
ridiculous number of times. He was once cursed by an Amazon witch
doctor in rural Brazil, has apparently begun writing about himself in
the third person, and is hardly ever sick at sea.

He also writes books occasionally.

Jim stands accused of writing the Dresden Files and the Codex Alera.
He's plead insanity, but the jury is still out on that one. He lives in
Missouri with his wife, romantic suspense and paranormal romance writer
Shannon K. Butcher (who is really pretty and way out of his league),
his son, and a ferocious guard dog.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Marc Ruby™ HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 15, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Shroud Remarks
I only recently noticed that I had missed the release of the latest in Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series, and quickly moved to correct my error. Dresden is a wizard after my own heart - trying to make a living in modern Chicago, and a bit too honest to do anything but scrape by. Armed with a wand, a few special charms, and a flower covered ancient Volkswagen Beetle, Harry is always ready to take on a task completely beyond his capabilities.
This time he has his choice of menaces. Having triggered a war between the Wizard's Council and the vampire's Red Court in the last volume, Harry continues to be in desperate straights. Duke Ortega of the Red Court has proposed a way to end the war - a duel between him and Harry. Needless to say, Ortega has no intention of losing, and Harry will need more that a few incantations to survive.
More of a surprise, though, is the appearance of Father Vincent, a papal agent with an assignment for Harry. The Shroud of Turin has vanished - stolen and brought to the USA and, while they have more than an inkling of who the thief was, it will take Harry to track it down. The bad news is that the Shroud attracts all kind of attention, from everyone from mafia bosses to fallen angels. And they all want Harry's skin. The good news is that Harry will get paid for the work, and the rent is due. Or he will die in the attempt and won't need to pay rent ever again.
There is more. Harry's ex-girlfriend and recovering vampire snack Susan is back in town, the police are looking for a murderer who collects parts, and the Knights of the Cross are there to lend a hand. Total madness wherever you look, and Harry is in the middle of it, bad attitude and all.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Marcus Bailey on May 10, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I consider myself quite lucky, in retrospect, that there were already five books available in this series by the time I started reading. I cannot remember the last time I devoured a series as quickly or with as much enjoyment as this one. Butcher has really done an exceptional job in creating this world and these characters. He started off with one of the best first novels I've read and has only gotten better with each installment. I have literally laughed, cried, and cheered while reading these books, and that is something that is not entirely common with me (though I'll admit to being a sap and something of an easy target for the tearjerk effect).
One reader commented that this installment left many things unresolved, and this is true to a point. Actually, the majority of the major plot points were dealt with quite nicely (far more neatly, in fact, than any writer so new to the craft has any right being able to accomplish). There were a number of threads left dangling, but only insomuch as was necessary in order to bring these elements into play in later episodes. Also, the reviewer who noted that there was a statement about the Jews being responsible for Jesus' death was not entirely accurate. There is a referrence to Barrabus who was freed by the Jews despite the fact that Pilate had wanted them to free Jesus. If Butcher deserves to have all but one star stripped from a rating for accurately reporting an event that was already written of in a much more widely published book (I don't have to explain that one, do I?), then we have a problem here. This was in no way intended as anti-semitic, and I thought it was actually rather neatly in keeping with the rest of the storyline. By the way, just for the record I am not Jewish but I am not Christian either.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Burgoine on August 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
Superb! Jim Butcher has brought Harry Dresden back with a vengeance. At the end of the fourth book, "Summer Knight," Harry's world was a tad askew. His girlfriend was half-way to becoming a vampire, he'd started a war between the Wizard's Council and one of the Vampire clans. Also, he'd been on the "list" with a Chicago mob-boss for quite a while now. He did, however, manage to play some fun D&D with a group of werewolf vigilantes. Hey, you take your victories where you can.

So, when a priest asks him to recover a stolen relic (sort of like a big white cloth, taken from Turin... uh... yeah, that one), and demons start popping up everywhere trying to pop Harry off, things are tense. Toss in a suprise visit from his Girlfriend, three holy knights with very holy swords (one of whom has a very bitter wife), and you see why Harry's day is just about as bad as any he's had.

The mystery in this one threw me for a loop (I thought I had it right, only to learn I had it way wrong), and the tone of the book was dark and fun in equal measure. The pithy one-liners are always well done, and there's enough insider-geek references to make you swell with geeky pride.

Enjoy it, enjoy 'em all, and if you've never read any of Butcher's work, you owe yourself a copy of 'Storm Front,' a hot cuppa tea, and some quiet time you'll soon fill with laughter.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 20, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am anxiously awaiting the next in the series, I just wish it had taken me longer to read this one, now I have months to wait for more.
And I need to point out...only one 1-star review...a person who enjoyed the book and the series except for one comment at the end of this not let that stop you from reading them all!
Anyone who picks this series up and starts reading, with an open mind and an active imagination, is going to be hooked. The details are wonderful, and the book(s) are full of humor, romance, drama, fantasy, and action. What more can you ask for?
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