Atticus is an Iron Druid and probably the last of his kind in this fantasy novel set in contemporary America. Hounded is the first of Kevin Hearne’s book in this series featuring Atticus, his Irish Wolfhound Oberon and a selection of deities and other supernatural characters.
The author works on the premise that all deities and supernatural creatures are real – Greek gods, Celtic gods, Christian saints, faeries, mythical personifications of death, vampires and werewolves, etc. Atticus himself is over two thousand years’ old and is in hiding from a Celtic god who he has offended. He spends his time running a shop filled with magic and non-magic items, hiding his sword which others want, communicating with various supernatural creatures and cutting the lawn of his elderly next door neighbour. He can also talk telepathically to his dog who has his own interests and obsessions.
Into this reasonably settled life bursts a number of messengers to warn Atticus that an old enemy is on his trail to recover the sword. He has some allies among the supernatural creatures but some enemies among the gods. He needs to find help but he also finds himself having to dodge the police who think that he might be able to help with their enquiries.
Atticus is a great creation. For a change he is an old supernatural creature who doesn’t behave like the 20 year old he resembles. He is a man who quite likes living dangerously but is aware of risks. He knows a lot and has seen a lot in his past. He also has a biting satire and a unique view on his situation – the book is narrated in the first person.
This is a short book but a really enjoyable read. The author manages to mix the various spiritual worlds and mythologies together very well and, in my opinion, with due respect. The book is well plotted and full of action. For the first book in a fantasy series it doesn’t dump too much information at once. The narrator is witty and amusing and I enjoyed spending time in Atticus’ company although my heart is saved for Oberon.