Published 2009 418 pages
Summary (from book jacket)
Harry Dresden, PI and practitioner of magic, has done his best to keep his nose clean where the White Council of Wizards is concerned. Even so, his past misdeeds haven’t looked good to the council’s Wardens – and they take their responsibility to enforce the Laws of Magic very seriously. But this has placed him in a bit of a predicament. Morgan, formerly his chief persecutor among the Wardens, has been wrongly accused of treason. There’s only one punishment for that crime so he’s n the run, wants his name cleared, and needs someone with a knack for backing the underdog. Someone like Harry Dresden.
Dresden faces a daunting task. He must clear the less-than-agreeable Morgan's name while simultaneously hiding him from the Wardens and the supernatural bounty hunters sent to find him, discover the identity of the true turncoat and, of course, avoid accusations of treachery of his own. A single mistake may mean that heads - quite literally - will roll.
And one of them might be his.
Turn Coat is the eleventh book in The Dresden Files, Jim Butcher’s popular urban fantasy series about the adventures of Chicago’s only professional wizard for hire. If you haven’t read most of the previous books in this series don’t be tempted to start here – the complex and long running story arc that lazily threads its way through all of these books will be lost on you. These books are best read in order, even if you have watched the prematurely aborted TV show and are aware of the characters and background to the stories.
Like all the books in this series, Turn Coat is narrated in first person by Harry Dresden, a wizard who is too honest (not to mention way too nice) for his own good. Turn Coat sees Harry race through another supernatural mystery, alternatively using his detective skills and his magical ability to find the answer to the question of who framed Morgan for treason and murder.
Morgan has been a regular character in The Dresden Files since book one and he has always been ready to think the worst of Harry, just waiting for him to finally slip-up enough so that Morgan would be justified in terminating our hero’s membership to the White Council with extreme prejudice. A lesser man than Harry would have enjoyed seeing his old enemy fighting to prove his innocence, and certainly the irony of the situation is not lost on Harry, but he decides to shield Morgan from the Council and takes it upon himself to investigate Morgan’s supposed crime. Soon it becomes clear that there are larger forces at work, with clues that point back to the still unknown Black Council and hints that the Council itself might have been compromised by a traitor.
Throw in a skin-walker of Native American myth (fans of Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series won’t find an similarities between coyote-shifting walker Mercy and this evil immortal shapeshifter) combine it with a whole posse of white court vampires and you have the ingredients for an exciting supernatural smack-down – even without the added bonus of giant hairy magical spiders…
Turn Coat is another exciting instalment of The Dresden Files and while it has everything that fans of this series have come to expect from this author there isn’t anything particularly new here. As much as I love The Dresden files and enjoyed this book, the overall story arc is still suffering from a serious lack of momentum.
The long-running Black Council plot has been hinted at for several books now but still hasn’t really taken off. To keep with the plane metaphor I would say that Turn Coat has seen the plotline taxi to the runway and the pilot appears to have us pointing in the right direction but when he’s going to give some gas to the engines is anyone’s guess. Still the journey is just as much part of the trip as the arrival at the destination, and judging by Turn Coat the author still has plenty of diverting antics to keep us entertained - even if I can’t help but ask, “Are we there yet?”
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