Friday 28 March 2014

#CBR6 Book 26: "Turn Coat" by Jim Butcher

Page count. 545 pages
Audio book length: 14 hrs 37 mins
Rating: 4 stars

This is the eleventh book in the Dresden Files. You don't want to start with this one, there's far too much in the book building on stuff already established. I'd recommend anyone new to the books to start with book 4. The first three were a complete slog to get through for me. The audio book versions, read by James Marsters, are all highly recommended. 

Harry Dresden is extremely surprised when Morgan, the wizard whose probably shown the most animosity towards Harry in the past, shows up at his doorstep and asks for his help. Morgan has been accused of murdering one of the wizards on the senior council. He was found over the murder victim with the murder weapon in his hand, and there was six million dollars wired into his account just before the murder was committed. He knows no one would suspect him of asking Harry for aid, and he also knows that Harry may be the only one who can help him track down the real murderer.

Harry is hesitant to help Morgan at first, after all, the man has tried to kill him several times. He realises that for Morgan to have been framed, there must be a traitor high up in the ranks of the White Council and that's going to have farther reaching consequences than just Morgan being executed for a crime he didn't commit. Of course, by sheltering Morgan from the White Council, Harry is risking his own life, and that of Molly, his apprentice.

The idea that there are a number of supernatural entities and wizards who have set themselves up as an opposing force to the White Council has been slowly building over the course of several of the previous books in the series. Harry has taken to calling them the Black Council. With Morgan being framed for murder, it's clear that the Black Council have people infiltrating the higher ranks of the White Council and it's becoming harder and harder to know who to trust.

As well as trying to keep Morgan hidden from the White Council while he's attempting to clear his name, Harry also has to fight a scary Native American Skinwalker who has arrived in Chicago. When aided by his werewolf friends, the fight with the malevolent shapeshifter takes a terrible toll and later in the book, the creature captures Thomas. Harry has to ally with Lara Wraith to try to get him back.

I like that Butcher gave Morgan a bit more nuance, without changing him too much from the rigid and suspicious man we've met in earlier books. Always one for following the rules, even at great cost to himself, Morgan's outlook is pretty much the direct opposite of Harry's in many ways. It's also made clear to Harry, over the course of the book, how some of his actions the last few years and events in the previous few books might have been interpreted by others. He suffers losses in this book, some not as easily brushed off as others. Things are changing in Harry's world, becoming less black and white and a whole lot more complicated. I hope not all of the changes are permanent, that would make me very sad indeed.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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