When Donald Morgan is accused of murder, wizard PI Harry Dresden must find the real killer and uncover the traitor within the White Council of Wizards. Harry Dresden is Chicago's only publicly-advertised wizard, and he certainly didn't expect to find a wounded Donald Morgan at his doorstep asking for protection. Harry soon learns that someone has killed LaFortier, a member of the Senior Council--and since Morgan was found standing above LaFortier's body with a knife in his hand, Morgan is the obvious suspect.
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The trouble is, Dresden knows perfectly well that Morgan is the last person to break the Laws of Magic, and the newly-disgraced Warden is loyal to a fault. So Dresden starts to collect information on this case, going to the White Council's headquarters at Edinburgh to collect LaFortier's murder scene file and enlisting the help of Lara Raith and Karrin Murphy.
Unfortunately, Dresden isn't the only one who is interested in Morgan's location. A skinwalker--not a human practitioner of Dine legend, but the things that gave such practitioners their power--has followed Morgan to Chicago, and before Dresden can do aught about it, one of his werewolf friends is dead, another is in the hospital--and Thomas Raith, Dresden's half-brother, has been kidnapped.
Dresden soon untangles the mess of who is following him and who has a stake in this business, and sets up a meeting on an island in Lake Michigan, bringing several members of the White Council to the island, as well as Lara Raith's people and the skinwalker. An epic battle ensues, but in truth, it is just a distraction--because Harry Dresden has hired a PI of his own, who, along with Mouse, is watching the Ways in Chicago for anyone who shouldn't be crossing through the Nevernever at this place and time.
Armed with photographs of a wizard who shouldn't be there, Dresden and his dog Mouse appear at Morgan's trial to show that Wizard Peabody is guilty of setting Morgan up. Peabody attacks the White Council with a mist-wraith and a bunch of powdered Mordite, and many wizards die, but Morgan and Dresden are able to pursue Peabody and kill the traitor before he can escape. Unfortunately, both Morgan and Peabody are killed.
Although the traitor is no longer a threat, the ending is bittersweet. Thomas is returned, but his Hunger is far stronger now as a result of torture inflicted by the skinwalker, and Dresden's brief relationship with Warden Luccio comes to a close, as she learns of Peabody's mental manipulations and decides that although she and Dresden will surely remain friends, she is not interested in pursuing a romantic relationship that might well have been initiated through subtle mental control and black magic.
Best part of story, including ending:
It takes an interesting look at Dresden's relationship to Morgan and to his brother, and shows some of the political morass that is life-as-usual for the White Council of Wizards, while introducing Demonreach more thoroughly and showing how Dresden reacts to losing good friends.
Best scene in story:
Harry comes back to the apartment and finds Molly, Warden Luccio, and Wizard Morgan being restrained by Mouse, who has been shot as a result of their fighting. (This is the third time Morgan and Molly have tried to attack each other and been stopped by Mouse.) The utter ridiculousness of the situation and Dresden's reaction to it, as well as Mouse's deliberately exaggerated acting when the bullet is removed from his injured leg, is hilarious. (And Dresden's reaction when he comes through the apartment door is priceless. "Hell's bells! What is wrong with you people?!")
Opinion about the main character:
Harry Dresden is funny, quick on his feet, determined, and brave. He has a serious dislike of authority but is willing to go to any lengths to protect his friends or people he believes to be innocent.