book-review_-turn-coat-the-dresden-files-11Jim Butcher

When it comes to the magical ruling body known as the White Council, Harry keeps his nose clean and his head down. For years, the Council has held a death mark over Harry’s head. He’s still thought of as a black sheep by some and as a sacrificial lamb by others. But none regard him with more suspicion and disdain than Morgan, a veteran Warden with a grudge against anyone who bends the rules. Like Harry. So when Morgan turns up asking for help, Harry isn’t exactly eager to leap into action. Morgan has been accused of treason against the White Council, and there’s only one final punishment for that crime. He’s on the run, he wants his name cleared, and he needs someone with a knack for backing the underdog. Like Harry. Now Harry must uncover a traitor within the Council, keep a less than agreeable Morgan under wraps, and avoid coming under scrutiny himself. And a single mistake may cost someone his head. Like Harry…

The eleventh entry in the ongoing Dresden Files series, and this time around we have a focus on Dresen’s former probation officer and resident hardass Warden Morgan is framed for the murder of a Senior Council member. Things start getting convoluted when a Native American shape shifter and the White Court of vampires get involved with the conspiracy mystery, resulting in Dresden’s brother Thomas being kidnapped for ransom purposes, a showdown between Dresden and several other wizards and the shapeshifter and head of the vampire clan, Morgan’s eventual trial where it’s revealed in a twist worthy of a Matlock episode that it was the Council’s glorified secretarial clerk that was behind the murder by way of magical ink (of course), then another showdown in the Nevernever, where Morgan saves the day but is mortally wounded and dies. Then Luccio breaks things off with Dresen, while his former mentor Ebenezar decides to form a secret group to oppose the rising of a super-secret Black Council from within their midst.

Well, now. This was kind of bittersweet. Since the beginning of the series, Warren Morgan has been a thorn in Dresden’s side, being the guy readers loved to hate. He wasn’t really a villain, but boy was he a legalistic prick with little wiggle room outside of the Wizard’s law. Over time, Morgan had grown a begrudging respect for Dresden, but here is where he more or less redeems himself and ultimately sacrifices himself in the process. Overall, this was a rather darker entry into the series, and one that signifies massive changes in the life of our long-suffering wizard detective.