When the magical inhabitants of Chicago begin dying under mysterious circumstances, Harry Dresden, wizard and warden of the White Council, uncovers links that may prove the deaths are in fact murders and not the suicides under which they are disguised. At the same time, a shadowy figure is masquerading as a warden to make the magical community believe Harry may be the culprit. Harry will have to join forces with an old flame, his strangely reluctant brother, a fellow warden Carlos Ramirez, and some old enemies to clear his name and stop the violence.
This latest volume in The Dresden Files features a large group of returning supporting characters from Jim Butcher’s Dresden universe. We see Molly, the young warlock Harry took as his apprentice in Proven Guilty to save her life, struggle within the confines of her training and desire to prove herself as a magic wielder and adult. We see Karrin Murphy, who was chastised and demoted within the Chicago P.D. for assisting Harry but still determined to fight supernatural forces at his side.
There is a very humorous scene where Johnny Marcone, the mafia boss of Chicago, attempts to “handle” Harry when Dresden pays a visit to one of Marcone’s establishments. There is also a later scene between Dresden and Harry that I believe sets up nicely some foreshadowing to the events revealed in the trailer for the upcoming release of Peace Talks, due out in July.
Harry, by this point in the series, has grown and evolved from where he began in the first book, Storm Front. He is less impulsive, more likely to plan, and more willing to accept help from others, even those reluctant to offer help. The amount of aid he is able to command proves crucial in the pivotal scene where he returns to the stronghold of the White Court vampires and faces not only the current enemies, but also the larger force behind the conspiracy, in an epic battle that involves vampires of multiple factions, ghouls, wizards, mercenaries, and a trip into the Nevernever.
This latest book by author Jim Butcher is a multi-level story that not only contains an absorbing mystery for Dresden to solve, but also details major events happening around the larger universe, with political, ethical, and military implications for the wizarding society that lies unseen by most of humanity. The sense of foreboding that Butcher gives the reader builds an almost irresistible suspense for the next works in the series.
I give this book five stars, and can’t wait to get my hands on the next novel soon.