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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Turn Coat by Jim Butcher

Turn Coat by Jim Butcher
Publisher: ROC, New American Library, Penguin Group
Pages: 432

From the Cover: The new novel in the hit New York Times bestselling Dresden Files series.

The Warden Morgan has been accused of treason against the Wizards of the White Council and there's only one, final punishment for that crime. He's on the run, wants his name cleared, and needs someone with a knack for backing the underdog. Someone like Harry Dresden...

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 someone like Harry.

The eleventh book in the Dresden's File Series.

(From Jim Butcher's webstie @ http://www.jim-butcher.com - thought everyone would like to see how Harry Dresden would describe himself and the add he has in the phone book.)

HARRY DRESDEN — WIZARD

Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations.
Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates.
No Love Potions, Endless Purses, Parties or Other Entertainment

The Dresden Files are set in a "alternate" Chicago where magic is real, but only a few actually believe in it; it's a first-person tale told by an irascible wizard named Harry Dresden, who regularly gives the magical establishment indigestion — and the police, the same. Take Sam Spade, your Average Joe Underdog Action Star, and toss in some spellcraft, and you get Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. Heck of a guy.


As the story opens, Harry Dresden, Chicago's wizard extraordinaire and sometime warden, is having an odd day. Nothing seems to be going right. Suddenly there's a pounding at his door. The White Council's Chief Executioner, Morgan is pounding and swaying at his door. Morgan who has been trying to remove his head for years. Morgan who doesn't know how to break one of magics rules. He staggers against Harry's door, wounded and bleeding, begging Harry, 'Help me, the wardens are after me' as he falls, slipping into unconsciousness and into Harry's arms.

'Hells Bells', what the blooding hell's going on? Morgan has wardens after him? How can this be possible? Harry doesn't know what to do, but he does know one thing, Morgan would never break a magical law, especially not the murder the White Council is claiming he committed. He's an innocent, and Harry must help him. He cannot watch another innocent be hunted and killed. It hits too close to home and what Morgan has tried to do to him for years.

First, he must control Morgan's blood loss, Butters is the only answer. Butters, morgue MD and friend, will have Morgan fixed up, but at what cost. As Harry provides shelter and aid to a now enemy of the White Council, it could cost him and his friends their heads. Mouse, Harry's Foo dog is set to keep watch over Morgan as is Molly, Harry's assistant and apprentice. Without knowing what else to do, Harry contacts Thomas, his half vampire half brother of the White Court. Since the recent war with the Red Court Vampires, the allegiance between the White Council and the White Court Vampires has been tenuous. (White Court Vampire have silver white eyes when thirsty, but they don't live off on blood, but emotions and sex - sex with a White Court Vampire can kill, or at least be addicting, inducing someone to become a thrall. Red Court Vampire are exactly as their name implies - blood drinkers and they don't play with their food, they kill it.)

As Harry starts to investigate, he realizes a strangeness in the air, something is just not right. Harry slips into his Second Sight to see the world at it truly is and to his amazement and horror, he discovers a hideous skinwalker, a naagloshii (an magical creature who has refused to leave life and has gained strength over the centuries),is hot on his trail. Wizards don't take this particular skill on second sight lightly. They don't stare for too long into each others eyes; it can bring a soul gaze that opens the viewers eyes to what is buried deep within the wizard's or person's soul, and sometimes, it isn't pretty, sometimes the evil corrupts from the inside out.

The evilness of the skinwalker makes Harry physically ill and he heads for the only safe place he knows, the Wolves. Will and Georgia as well as Will's young pack of wolves were shown how to morph by a misguide lycan witch, and have become one of Harry's strongest allies. As Harry recovers, the young wolves start patrolling, trying to pin down down the location of the skinwalker. Kirby and Andi, part of Will's pack are savagely attacked, killing Kirby and severely injuring Andi. Now Harry has more blood on his hands. Karin Murphy shows up to lend what help she can, but since the last fiasco with Harry, she's all but lost her rank with the Chicago Police Department as head of the SI, demoted to investigator.

As the story becomes more involved, Harry starts to question the wisdom of the White Council, even starts the question the Captain of the Wardens, Anastasia Luccio who has recently been occupying quite a bit of Harry's free time....and why has Ana suddenly become so fond of Harry? When Harry makes a trip through the Never-Never (the fey land of in between where fey live and strike or capture those who enter and whom the White Council currently has a truce with) to Edinburgh, Scotland....he discovers even stranger happenings going on.....Could the 'Black Council'(those trying to over throw the White Council) have an active agent on the White Council? How are the White Court Vampires involved? How can the naagloshii be defeated?

Turn Coat by Jim Butcher is the eleventh book in the Dresden Series. The name states what the story is going to be about, a turn coat or traitor in the ranks of the White Council. If you haven't read the series to date, this is not the place to start. This is a series best read in order, many twists and turns in the plot create the need to start at the beginning. Some of the early books could be read as a stand alone, but the later books are missing too much information to be satisfying to the reader. Harry Dresden has been hunted his whole life by Morgan. It was only through the good graces of Ebenezer, Harry's mentor and teacher, that he was allowed to live after killing his evil foster-father. Harry's mother and father are both dead, at the hands of vampires and magic. Now, Morgan has come to Harry for help because he knows Harry is the only one who has a chance to save him. Harry is a romantic hero, not that there's a lot of romance involved in this book. He's a romantic hero by his actions, his sense of right and wrong, the way he stands up for his beliefs against all odds. He will put his life on the line time and time again, but will never ask another for the same. He cherishes those around him, even the tiny fey - faeries to who Harry has been a hero and leader - Toot is one of my favorite characters. Despite his minuscule size, he's always there. Harry's heroine is hard to place in this novel, Ana Luccio, Molly Carpenter, Laura Raith, or even Karin Murphy could be seen in this role, all for different reasons. Ana Luccio's mind and soul were ripped from her body and she has taken up residence in the body of her murderer, her only place for refuge, and Harry's current lover. Molly is in the same boat that Harry found himself in as a teenager, without Harry's kindness as mentor and teacher, she would've lost her head to Morgan's blade. She also the daughter of Michael Carpenter, one time avenging angel that is Harry's long-time ally. Laura Raith is Harry's half brother's sister, and unchallenged, but also impostor, head of the White Court. She feeds off of emotion, and she would like nothing better than to eat Harry whole. She could easily kill Harry or enthrall him, but values their uneasy truce more at this time. Karin Murphy has soul gazed with Harry, and Harry has seen her true inner soul, that of a fierce warrior for the weak, but being smudged by the evil around her. She is Harry's guiding light in his darkest hours, one of his closest friends and allies. I've explain more than I had intended, and I hope I'm not spoiling the books. I love the Dresden Files. Harry is so lonely; he wants and needs to be a white knight. Harry wants to be a part of a family; I think this is why Michael Carpenter's family has played such a significant role in the stories to date. Everytime he gets close to his desire, something goes wrong and it slips through his fingers as he watches in desperation. Jim Butcher is one of the best urban fantasy writers out there. I would have liked to seen a more involved love interest in this book, to explore the relationship between Harry and Ana, but it was a doomed romance. Morgan's and Ana's story would have been nice to explore as well, when Morgan was her apprentice many years ago. There is the romantic feel to the story that I enjoyed, like most gumshoe mysteries, that Noir quality that seems to be missing from more recent mysteries. For more information about Jim Butcher's Dresden Files or his Codex Alera Series, visit his website. From his website, all of his books can be accessed as well as a free short he has available online. He also has a blog and a writing forum that readers can participate that are accessible from his website. All his novels are worthy reads that I highly recommend.

Since there isn't a book trailer, here's a peek at the now defunct series trailer. Why did SciFi cancel it?

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