Proven Guilty (Dresden Files #8)
By: Jim Butcher
The following book summary and all of the book summaries featured here contain spoilers. To read a content based review that does not include spoilers check out my Series Review of the Dresden Files.
Proven Guilty Plot Summary
Warden Harry Dresden witnesses the execution of a teenage warlock. On his way out Harry speaks with his old mentor, Ebenezar McCoy. Ebenezar says the war with the Red Court vampires isn't going well. The vampires trespassed in fairy a while back and the White Council doesn't understand why the Fairy Courts haven't attacked the vampires. Eboneezer unofficially asks Harry to find out what's going on and passes on a letter from the Gatekeeper. The letter says there have been several instances of black magic in Chicago. Ebenezar offers to go to lunch, but Harry can't put aside his hurt feelings about all the lies Ebenezar told him before.
While driving to his next destination, Harry is attacked in a vicious hit and run. He relays the "accident"/attack details to Karrin Murphy and brings her up to speed on the execution, supposed black magic, and his concern that Thomas (his vampire brother) has started feeding again.
When Murphy leaves, Harry calls Fix (the current Summer Knight) and sets up a meeting for the following day.
He starts to use little Chicago (a model built for magical purposes) to locate the black magic, but is stopped by a phone call from Molly Carpenter asking him to bail her out of jail.
A car tails him to the police station where Mouse (Harry's dog) greats Molly (who is not in jail and has grown up a great deal - tattoos, piercings, and Gothic clothing) with a warning grow. Molly confesses that her boyfriend (Nelson) was arrested for assault, but claims innocence. Harry pays the bail and questions Nelson. The circumstances of the attack suggest the potential presence of a supernatural predator.
At the Carpenter's house, Harry runs into Michael (who is on his way out) and witnesses a fight between Molly and Charity (Mrs. Carpenter). Michael explains that Molly was arrested earlier that year and given community service. Charity tried to limit Molly's friends and Molly dropped out of school, and left home. Michael asks Harry to keep an eye on the family and talk to Molly about making peace with her mother.
Harry and Molly go to the Horror Film convention where the attack took place. They part ways. After looking at the crime scene with his sight, Harry feels certain he's located the black magic. He senses the same magic in the hallway and the lights go out. Harry and Rawlins follow the screams to a room where the Reaper is attacking people. Harry throws the Reaper into a wall and all that's left is a pile of ectoplasm. Ambulances rush the wounded to the hospital (one of which is a friend of Molly's). Harry brings Murphy up to speed and they briefly discuss the possibility of having a romantic relationship someday. The following morning, Murphy picks up Harry and they go to see the three surviving victims. Through the use of his sight Harry determines that the psychic damage done to two of the victims was severe, while the third victim (Molly's pregnant friend Rosie) showed very different damage. Talking with Rosie confirmed that she had gone off drugs two weeks earlier and was showing no signs of withdrawal. Harry determines that Phobophages are likely responsible for the attacks as they assume various forms and feed on fear.
Murphy drops Harry off close to home and he runs into Thomas who is apparently moving out.
Harry then hurries to his meeting with Fix. The summer Lady (Lily) accompanies Fix and after a lot of reading between the lines and a visit from the Winter Lady, Harry discovers that the fairy courts can't go to war against the Red Court because the Winter Queen (Mab) is up in arms against the Summer Court and Summer can't risk making itself vulnerable to Winter by mounting an attack elsewhere.
Back at the horror convention, Harry and Murphy talk to a famous horror film producer, Darby Crane, who seems creepy. Harry then gets Molly out of an illegal interrogation and makes sure that her mother (Charity) and legal council are on the way.
Harry and Murphy head up to a hotel room. On the way, Murphy tells Harry that a romantic relationship wouldn't work between them and that he couldn't be what she needs and wants.
In the room, Harry sets up a spell to warn him when the phobophages arrive and another to redirect them towards their summoner. Murphy goes to check out the location of the first attack. Molly interrupts Harry's preparations asking to use his restroom to clean up before her mom comes. Harry lets her with some strong encouragement to make up with her mother. Bob and Lasciel's Shadow both tell Harry that Molly has a thing for him. Harry casts the warning spell.
Charity shows up looking for Molly while she's in the shower and after some violent unpleasantness towards Harry, they both leave.
When the warning spell goes off Harry is able to redirect all but one of the phobophages at the summoner. Harry then hurries to intercept the remaining phobophage and kills it, but not before it kills several bystanders. The mayhem from the attack leaves many conference attenders and police personnel with friendly fire injuries. Murphy's attention is temporarily consumed as she becomes the officer in charge.
Harry, Rawlins, and Mouse head out to find whatever remains of the summoner, but are attacked in the parking garage by Darby Crane who hits Mouse with a car. Harry and Rawlins are taken captive and held in an abandoned garage while Darby sells Harry on eBay to the highest bidding bad guy. With the assistance of Lasciel's shadow, Harry and Rawlins are able to break free of the garage and continue their fight outside, where they are joined by Thomas and Mouse. Harry realizes Thomas was the one following him and discovers that Darby is Thomas' White Court vampire cousin named Madrigal Raith. Madrigal is not directly involved with the attacks. Harry believes Madrigal is suppose to take the fall so that the real culprit can remain unknown. Then they're all attacked by a giant phobophage. Harry, Thomas, Rawlins and Mouse get away with difficulty while Madrigal runs for safety at his first opportunity. Harry and Thomas drop an injured Rawlins off at the hospital and then go to find the summoner before the spell fades. The trail leads to the Carpenter's house and the phobophages have clearly been there.
The phobophages carried Molly off, and messed up the Carpenter's son (Daniel) a bit, but the rest of the family was unharmed. The Carpenter family retreats to the church where Harry examines both Nelson and Daniel with his sight. Nelson had the same psychic damage as Molly's friend (Rosie). With this new information Harry realizes that Molly is a young practitioner and responsible for the damage to both her friends. He suspects her intentions were to force them to abandon their drug use in order to protect them, but that her use of forbidden magic allowed another to use her as a sort of beacon for the phobophages to come into our world. He also realizes that the phobophages are a very powerful kind used by Queen Mab as assassins. They took Molly back to Fairy in order to feed on her. She likely has less then one day to live. Harry also realizes that Charity had magical talent once and her desire for Molly to give up her magic was what really came between them.
Charity, Harry, and Thomas hurry to Harry's house so that Harry can attempt to trace where Molly was taken through to the Nevernever. After a failed attempt, some prompting from Murphy shows Harry how to find the location of the doorway to the Nevernever.
Lily and Fix meet Harry, Charity, Murphy and Thomas and, after more technical fairy negotiations, they agree to help Charity get Molly back. Before they part company, Fix and Lily inform Harry that there is a battle currently going on between the white council and the red court. It's going badly for the council. Lilly sends a butterfly full of Summer power with them and opens a way to Mabs fortress in the heart of Winter. The fortress has been under fierce attack (involving hell fire), but the attackers and defenders are no where to be seen. The only foes around are phobophages. Murphy and Thomas hold the enemy while Harry and Charity race to the top of the fortress to get Molly.
They find her being fed upon by the giant phobophage Harry encountered before. They are able to defeat the thing after Harry realizes that Lily made Summer power accessible to him and utilizes it. In the process he hits Winter's wellspring with Summer infused power causing all Winter's forces to rush from wherever they were to attack Harry at the fortress. Harry speaks briefly with the imprisoned Winter Knight (Lloyd Slate) and his imprisoned godmother before hurrying back towards Lily and safety.
Safely in our world, Harry confronts Lily, believing it was always her intention to use him as a means to relocate Winter's forces. Lily owns up to hoping this would be the case and tells them that time has been altered while they were away and a whole day has passed. She then has to leave quickly so that she can get Summer aid to the White Council.
Back at the church, Thomas and Murphy leave quickly. Harry explains to Molly the severity of what she's done in breaking the forth law of magic. He soul gazes her to determine how much the black magic has affected her and determines that she has not stained herself past the point of no return. He then gives her the option of turning herself into the council, saying that if she does he will stand in her defense and request to be given the responsibility of her training - if the council refuses his request, she will be executed. Molly decides to turn herself in. After explaining the situation and Molly's decision to Charity, Harry informs the White Council. Harry also asks Father Forthill to get a message to Michael.
Harry's car is back up and running before the trial.
At the trial Harry finds out that the Reds attacked a training camp for young wardens and virtually all of Harry's supporters on the White Council went to their defense. The only council members present are the Merlin and the Gatekeeper. The Merlin gets to casts everyone else's vote by default.
Lily and Fix present metals of honor to Morgan ( the white council's best fighter) and Harry in acknowledgment of their separate contributions to the recent battle. Harry makes a solid case for Molly, but the Merlin casts his vote against Molly and sentences her to death. Harry insists that the Gatekeeper vote, although his one vote can not outweigh all the votes the Merlin holds. The Gatekeeper requests time to ponder, and after a few minutes breaks the circle surrounding the gathering to let in several missing council members, wardens, warden trainees, and Michael. Apparently Michael had just saved the survivors from the training camp. When the new additions cast their votes - Molly is declared Harry's apprentice and placed under the Doom of Damocles (basically one strike and you're executed).
On he way back to the Carpenters Harry and Michael discuss the presence of Lasciel's shadow in his head. After dropping off Michael, Harry takes Molly back to his place where he explains what will be expected of her as an apprentice and tries to impress upon her the seriousness of what they are doing. Molly expresses romantic interest in Harry, but he makes it clear to her that they will never be having a relationship of that sort. He takes her back to the Carpenters and tells her that she's moving back in and going back to high school.
Murphy gets demoted. Ebenezar visits and Harry confides his belief that there is a black council out there manipulating things. Ebenezar agrees with this but advises caution and tells Harry not to forget that he still doesn't know who attacked him in that car. Harry asks Ebenezar out to dinner as a sign of his forgiveness for past wrongs/hurts and Ebenezar accepts gladly.
Dresden Files (Series Review)
Dresden Files (Series Review)
- Book 1: Storm Front (Book Review)
- Book 2: Fool Moon (Book Review)
- Book 3: Grave Peril (Book Review)
- Book 4: Summer Knight (Book Review)
- Book 5: Death Masks (Book Review)
- Book 6: Blood Rites
- Book 7: Dead Beat
- Graphic Novel 7.5: War Cry (Plot Blurb)
- Book 8: Proven Guilty (Plot Summary)
- Book 9: White Night (Plot Summary)
- Book 10: Small Favor
- Book 11: Turn Coat
- Book 12: Changes
- Book 12.5: Side Jobs
- Book 13: Ghost Story
- Novella 13.5: Bombshells (Excerpt)
- Book 14: Cold Days (Book Review) (Plot Summary)
- Book 15: Skin Game (Book Review) (Plot Summary) (Chapters 1 - 5)
- Book 16: Peace Talks (What we know!)
- Book 17: Untitled
- Book 18: Untitled
- Book 19: Untitled
- Book 20: Untitled
- Book 21ish: Stars and Stones
- Book 22ish: Hell's Bells
- Book 23ish: Empty Night