Hounded is Kevin Hearne’s first book in the Iron Druid Chronicles, which now have eight full novels and multiple novellas in print. I’m clearly late to the party, but that suits me just fine. This way I can binge a few books in a row instead of waiting impatiently for the next installment.
Atticus O’Sullivan (not his real name, but a 21st century equivalent) is an ass whooping magical druid who just happens to be 2100 years old. But lest you think Atticus might be wrinkled and ugly, no, he’s a rad dude looking about 21, which is a good age since he loves his Irish whiskey.
Hearne gives Atticus a sardonic and witty take on the world. He’s not heavily caught up in the ancient attitudes about life, women, or his own importance. Atticus is also aware of today’s issues, even though he chooses to deal with them differently than most folks. For example, Atticus’ magic comes from the earth, so Atticus rides his bike everywhere. It’s a perfect fit for a guy trying to ensure the source of his power is still around in another 500 years. And Hearne makes a sideways statement about global warming.
The story centers around a powerful sword that Atticus possesses and another druid wants to take from him. In the past Atticus has stayed one step ahead, but he’s tired of running. He likes his life and his town. So, he decides the time has come for a confrontation. As you might expect, it’s not a simple fight. Mythical beings of all types join in the fray, without regard to pantheon. Hearne keeps the pace moving a good clip, and never veers off into unnecessary plot lines.
My husband and I listened to this on a road trip, and we both had plenty of laughs. The audiobook is read by Luke Daniels, who does a great job with voices and the myriad mythically-related pronunciations. I especially loved his voice for Oberon, the Irish wolfhound Atticus trains to talk.
I’ll certainly continue reading Kevin Hearne’s books, since I like Atticus and his crew of humans and creatures. In fact, on a cold and rainy day like today, there’s nothing I’d like more than heading to Tempe in my imagination.