The Dresden Files: Proven Guilty
Reviewed: October 22, 2008
By: Jim Butcher
Publisher: Roc Books
496 pages, $10.99
The White Council that rules all human magic users on earth finally had to
stop mistrusting Harry Dresden and trust him with the duties of a Warden. He
was, after all, one of the most successful of all their number in the conflict
they had recently entered against the Red Court vampires, and they couldn’t
do without his knowledge and abilities.
Of course, they might not have been so eager had they know that Harry’s
half-brother was a White Court vampire and that Harry himself had recently become
infected with a small piece of the of the soul of a fallen angel.
Harry himself was less than keen on his new role, especially since one of his
first duties was a witness to the execution of a untutored young magician who
had used his powers to compel the obedience of certain of his high school classmates.
Such acts destroy the victims and warp the user, and are punishable by death.
For the White Council ignorance of the law is no excuse.
Harry is assigned to investigate the occurance of acts of Black Magic in the
Chicago region, and it seems or a time that these acts are connected to a series
of disastrous manifestations taking place at a horror film convention. Imagine
fears of an audience suddenly causing some of the nastiest monsters ever screened
to walk off their screens and start doing what comes naturally.
This, however, is not the Black Magic Harry was tasked to stop. That comes from
another source altogether, being the unwitting and completely well intended
interventions of the daughter of one of Harry’s staunchest allies, Michael
Carpenter, who happens to be Knight of the Lord. It turns out that Michael’s
wife, Charity, has some surprises in her past and that she has passed them on
For Harry this presents a serious problem. Molly has essentially done just what
the young wizard at the beginning of the novel did, and could face the same
automatic fate if the Council finds out.
If only that were all that was going on, Harry might have been able to handle
it more easily, but Harry’s last name might as well be Murphy the way
his luck seems to run. Once a story begins, these novels have the breakneck
pace of an early Alistair Maclean thriller, with more plot twists and turns
that average and a time span that usually only involves a few days.
What complicates Harry’s problems and the war with the vampires still
more is that the Fairy Queen, Mab, ruler of a large portion of that otherworldly
dimension that Harry refers to as the Nevernever, seems to have gone mad and
is intent on causing maximum damage in both worlds.
Harry becomes the key player in several conflicts that weave their way into
the substance of this story, and in spite of his self-deprecating personal narrative,
the reactions of other people around indicate that he is increasingly being
seen as a Power To Be Reckoned With.
Butcher has indicated that he has a definite end point in mind for this series,
and the cliffhanger aspect of each novel is that the reader is left wondering
just what Harry is turning into and what he will ultimately become. It’s
a mystery that keeps me coming back, and I haven't been disappointed yet.