I recently finished up my third novel Educated Corpses and an author friend of mine named Tim Dedopulos gave me a quote for the back, “I’d stack Jimmy Doyle up against Marla Mason or the Iron Druid anytime.” It seemed like a good quote to me so I ran with it. I have to admit though that I wasn’t familiar with either book Tim referenced. I’ve been listening to a lot of books on Audible.com over the last year and after wrapping up Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson I decided to try one of the books mentioned.
I went with Hounded, the first Iron Druid Chronicles novel by Kevin Hearne. It sounded interesting to me and Kevin is going to be at the Phoenix Comicon this weekend, which I will be at too. So I loaded up the book and started listening to Luke Daniels perform the novel. It didn’t take me long to get into the story. We met Atticus O’Sullivan, a 2,100 year-old druid living in Tempe, AZ with his Irish Woflhound named Oberon. That ticked a lot of boxes for me right away. I love the name Atticus since I was in junior high and played Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird. I’ve wanted an Irish Wolfhound for years. Shakespeare references always earn extra points from me and I’ve been to Tempe many time. Add in my own Celtic background and I felt like the author had made a lot of choices that I would’ve made myself.
The whole thing starts with the Morrigan, the Celtic chooser of the slain, coming to warn Atticus that his old enemy, Aenghus Og had found him and hellbent to get Fragarach back. Og is the Celtic god of love and Fragarach is a magical sword called the Answerer which can cut through almost anything and can compel folks to tell the truth like Wonder Woman’s lasso. Og plans on using any means necessary to retrieve the sword so he can slay Brighid and take over as head of the Tuatha De Danann. He calls upon the Fay, Witches, other Gods and even the Phoenix and Tempe police departments to get what he wants.
Atticus is not without resources of his own. Besides his dog Oberon who he can talk to, he has his lawyers – a vampire and a werewolf with a pack to back him – as well as intimate relationships with Flidais, goddess of the hunt, a deal with Morrigan not to choose his life as well as the sword, his own earthbound magic and an iron amulet that took him 750 years to create.
What follows is a fast paced story with a lot of action and humor. Some of the humor comes for the Irish widow who is okay with Atticus killing someone because they were British or Oberon wanting to be just like Genghis Khan and having a harem of french poodles. The writing is clever and fun, includes a fair amount of pop culture tidbits and a good amount of hard to pronounce Celtic names.
Hounded is the first of nine planned novels in the Iron Druid Chronicles. Eight of them are published with the final one on the way. Hearne has also written nine short fictions that go along with the series. Some were included with the novels while others were published as their own ebook.
This was an enjoyable read. It never felt bogged down with unnecessary details. Fast paced and creates a fun new universe to learn about. I will be looking into the other books in the series. And anyone who has read and likes my Lucius Fogg Mysteries will definitely like the Iron Druid Chronicles.