Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles
by Kevin Hearne
Review by Harriet Klausner
Del Rey Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345522474
Date: 19 April 2011 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
The last Druid, Atticus O'Sullivan has lived for twenty-one centuries though he looks like he is in his early twenties as the new 2100 is 21. He currently resides in Tempe, Arizona, where he runs and owns an herbal book store, plays soccer and drinks Guinness; few would know he once befriended Galileo centuries ago although he sometimes lapses into singing Aramaic lyrics at Starbucks. Over the millennium he has made several nasty enemies, but his staying below the radar for the most part has kept him alive.
One particular powerful deadly adversary is the Celtic God Aenghus Og, who has a festering centuries old grudge. Vowing to kill the Druid who stole his magical sword, impatient in spite of all the time in the universe, Og has been waiting for O'Sullivan to surface from whatever human hovel he hides in. Although he has failed before to murder his prey in his previous findings of the cockroach, he succeeds again in locating his sworn enemy. Og sends a horde to kill O'Sullivan and the Druid's Irish wolfhound companion, Oberon, and bring back his sword so he can celebrate his victory.
The key to this great Grand Canyon fantasy is Kevin Hearne is not afraid to show he was having a good time writing the thriller rather than concealing his fun behind a fašade of intellectual babble; while also insuring Hounded would entertain sub-genre fans. The story line is loaded with action as the audience anticipates a Tombstone-type showdown between the Druid and the God. The support cast is a who's who of urban fantasy although Mr. Hearne uses a fascinating logical base to make the mythos seem genuine.
O'Sullivan is a terrific lead protagonist who is as much a rogue as he is a hero. With twenty centuries to rectify mistakes, he is more than just a survivor as he is excellent at staying alive even when a God sends an evil horde to kill him and anyone in his circle. His faithful sidekick is sort of like Jerry Lee the title character in the movie K-9. Og is a bit more stereotypical as a tyrant God with a grudge against the thief he considers less than a rodent who has embarrassingly defiled him by the theft and then living. Readers will enjoy his latest attempt to exterminate the Druid mouse who salutes him with the middle finger as he has done for over two millennia.