(The Dresden Files, #11)
by Jim Butcher
When it comes to the wizard’s White Council, Harry Dresden is thought of as either a black sheep or a sacraficial lamb. And no one holds him in more disdain than Morgan, a veteran Warden with a grudge agaisnt anyone who bends the rules. But now Morgan is in trouble. He’s been accused of cold-blooded murder – a crime with only one final punishment.
He’s on the run, wanting his name cleared, and he needs someone with a knack for backing the underdog. So it’s up to Harry to uncover the traitor within the Council, keep Morgan under wraps, and avoid coming under the scrutiny himself. And a single mistake may cost someone his head.
**Review: Another excellent novel in the series with quite a bang!
**Spoiler Alert!** Parts of the story is going to be revealed, so if you don’t want to know, don’t read past this point!
Harry answers his door to find Morgan standing there, bloodied and bruised, from head to toe, asking for help, and promptly passing out.
Morgan’s been a thorn in Harry’s side for too many years to count, but Harry being Harry, can’t turn him away, no matter how much he wants nothing better than to close the door on Morgan and pretend like he isn’t even there.
But Harry is Harry, and no matter who knocks on his door, if they’re in trouble, Harry does what he can to help.
Morgan’s being framed. He knows that, down to his core. Morgan has been the Senior Council’s executioner for over 30 years, and is completely loyal to the Wardens and the Senior Council. There’s no way he’d ever willingly murder a member of the Senior Council. But, besides the fact that he’s found, standing over the body with knife in his hand, there is mounting evidence against him. And this bugs Harry. And when something like this bugs Harry, there’s only one thing he can do: find out who did it and find the traitor. But time is against him.
Morgan has managed a spell to keep any of the Wardens from finding him, but a bounty has been placed on his head, and other ‘creatures’ are coming out of the woodwork to find him, making things even harder for Harry. On top of them all, a naagloshii, a very bad shapeshifter with very, very rotten vibes, is also after Morgan. Suddenly, staying alive has become just as important as finding the traitor.
And things get from bad to worse. Harry is attacked again and again. Shagnasty (aka Harry’s name given to naagloshii) somehow has managed to kidnap Thomas, Harry’s White Court vampire brother, and wants to trade Thomas for Morgan. A vampire from the White Court is partly behind the frame-up. Someone is seriously messing with wizards’ heads. And Harry’s sure that there is a group of wizards against the White Council. He’s naming them the “Black Council”, for lack of a better name. How to prove it is the major question.
Suddenly, friends are dying, going missing, and Harry can only do what he does best. Investigate and fight back. The question is: Will he win this time?
**Huge Spoiler Time!!** If you debated going on past the first spoiler alert, you definitely don’t want to read what’s next.
Hell, I knew just as certainly as Harry did, that Morgan had to have been framed. What we don’t know, until close to the end of the book, was that a wizard messed with a lot of young wizards’ heads, including Anastasia Luccio’s. Now that she’s in a younger body, her mind was just as easily manipulated, and that makes it all worse. Without her knowledge, she was the one forced to kill the member of the senior council, and didn’t even realize she did it, even after Morgan found her, took the knife from her and got her out of there before anyone saw. Plus, she was manipulated into getting even closer to Harry, which seriously hurts (emotionally) them both.
By the end of page 515, I was crying. Why? Because Morgan dies. Now, why am I crying, knowing how much of a pain in the ass he was to Harry? Because he had his reasons, and it’s the way he dies that touched me. He dies after saving Harry’s life, after telling him about finding Anastasia in that room, holding the bloody knife. But Morgan was a constant. He was always there, riding Harry’s butt and breathing down his neck. You always expect to see him in some fashion, and to know now that he won’t be popping up anymore really does hurt.
Anastasia, after all of this, shows up to talk to Harry. Obviously, she now knows all that’s been going on. While she does care for Harry, she’d never had gotten involved with him. She’d been manipulated. And that hurts both of them. So now she comes to say she’s sorry, and while Harry understands why she’s saying goodbye, it still hurts.
By the end of page 543, I was balling. Yes, Harry has Thomas back, but Thomas isn’t the Thomas we knew. Shagnasty did a really bad number on him, and really screwed up what Thomas had going. While he may still be Harry’s brother, he’s no longer the brother we knew, the brother Harry knew, and that hurts even more than losing Morgan.
Meanwhile, closer to the beginning of the book, when Harry’s first attacked by Shagnasty, Kirby, one werewolf friend, is killed, and another, Andi, comes close to losing her life.
How much can one person (well, character) take before cracking? So, by the end of the last chapter, I’m weeping, sobbing really, because as much as all of this hurts him, he’s finding a way to move on, to move past all of the loss and hurt he’s suffered. And that alone, makes him a truly amazing person.
Mix all of this with a mystery, with action, with suspense that grips you by the throat… another fabulous book in the series, and I’m anxiously waiting for his next Dresen novel. Jim, you are one hell of an author!!!