The Dresden Files, Book 8
by Jim Butcher
Published 2006 by ROC
Things just never get easy for Harry Dresden. The White Council who always had it out for him has recently mad Harry a Warden for the White Council (basically the police force for the wizarding community). You'd think with this promotion Harry Dresden, wizard/private investigator, would be more accepted. But at the beginning of this book, Proven Guilty, a trial is being held for a young man that has used magic to influence the mind of a human, this not only breaks one of the 7 laws of magic but also uses black magic which can bring harm the user. As with most trials conducted by the White Council the youth is found guilty,declared a warlock and sentenced quickly. There is only one sentence for breaking the laws; DEATH.
The White Council held this trial in Chicago to make sure Harry saw the outcome. Harry remarks how blood does not stain the gray cloaks of the wardens as he is forced to watch the beheading of the warlock.
With this impression made Harry and the rest of the council depart. Most go off to continue the war with the Red Court Vampires, others go off to continue their duties. Harry in the meantime is contacted by The Gatekeeper, a higher up Council member that through some mysterious method of sending a message from the future asks Harry to investigate some black magic going on in Chicago.
Before I go too much further I would like to talk about the Dresden Files series in general. I've said before that Jim Butcher has created one of the best series of myth / magic / and mayhem with this series. One of the things that makes these books so good is they always start out with some big event grab you and you have no choice but to hang on and enjoy the ride. Proven Guilty is no exception. Without giving too much of a spoiler hereI will point out that the beginning and the end of this book is perfectly bookended and not only comes full circle but hits with some great life lessons. In fact I love the way Jim Butcher through Harry Dresden turns the Parable of the Talents from they Holy Bible into the catch phrase of Stan Lee's Spider-Man, "With great power comes great responsibility."
Back to the story...the black magic Harry has to track down seems to be occurring at "Splatter-Con" a convention held in Downtown Chicago celebrating the art of horror movies. Creatures from the movies are coming to life and attacking the patrons of "Splatter-Con." One of the many talents of Jim Butcher is to be able to write some wit and humor into these stories, in fact Harry Dresden wouldn't be worth reading about if it weren't for the quality of "wise-assness." During some of the magical battle scenes with some of the more popular creatures, Harry Dresden quotes the movies with some great tact and fun reactions.
The creatures creating the monsters are known as fetches, they are from the "Nevernever" and they feed off fear. The fetches have come for the daughter of Michael Carpenter, Michael is a Knight of the Cross...yes THE CROSS...and is God's swordsman (one of 2 left). It seems that Michaels daughter, Molly,has some magic abilities and the fetches abduct her. Now it is up to Harry to rescue her.
With a rescue party that features, Karrin Murphy of Chicago PD, Harry's half-brother/ White Court vampire, Thomas and Molly's mother, Charity, Harry follows the fetches into Arctis Tor, the castle of the Winter Queen and fights off the fetches, the faerie and fae of Winter's court, the Erlking and many more to come to an exciting climax which then forces Harry to bring Molly in to a trial with the White Council.
For some great action, thrills, chases and everything that makes a great read the Dresden Files is the perfect series, and Proven Guilty fits into the series offering even better action, thrills, chases and everything mythical and magical.