Hunted: Iron Druid Chronicles
(Includes Two Ravens and One Crow novella)
Published 2013 400 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
For a two-thousand-year-old Druid, Atticus O’Sullivan is a pretty fast runner. Good thing, because he’s being chased by not one but two goddesses of the hunt – Artemis and Diana – for messing with one of their own. Dodging their slings and arrows, Atticus, Granuaile, and his wolfhound Oberon are making a mad dash across modern-day Europe to seek help from a friend of the Tuatha Dé Danann. His usual magical option of shifting planes is blocked, so instead of playing hide-and-seek, the game plan is… run like hell.
Crashing the pantheon marathon is the Norse god Loki. Killing Atticus is the only loose end he needs to tie up before unleashing Ragnarok – AKA the Apocalypse. Atticus and Granuaile have to outfox the Olympians and contain the god of mischief if they want to go on living – and still have a world to live in.
Hunted is the sixth full-length novel in the Iron Druid Chronicles urban fantasy series by Kevin Hearne. For the uninitiated, the best way to describe the Iron Druid Chronicles is as a full on action-packed, yet fun, urban fantasy with an awesome mythology mash-up. This is a world where Odin rubs shoulders with Zeus, Jesus might be standing on your street corner and the Morrigan (Chooser of the Slain) may take an unfortunate interest in your life, or death. Highly original and great fun to read, this series has been on my “must-buy” list since I first discovered Hounded. It has a long, long, running story arc so if you’re new to Kevin’s Hearne’s amazing IDC fantasy world you’ll want to read these books in order rather than starting here.
So what does Hunted offer the initiated IDC fan? Pretty much everything a reader could wish for. The plotline takes another interesting twist as the druids Atticus and Granuaile, along with wolfhound Oberon, race across Europe looking for an open portal to the Tuatha Dé Danann plain of existence. In a direct follow on from the events of Trapped (the fifth book in the series) Atticus is still being relentlessly pursued by assorted members of the Greek and Roman pantheons, Greek and Roman mythology makes these deities all powerful on Earth but they are limited to the earthly plain, making running away to Tuatha Dé Danann a sound plan for the druids. Along the way, there are some emotional shocks, the introduction of yet more immortal villains and the discovery of a traitor amongst the Tuatha Dé Danann.
Yep, Hunted is a fast-paced thrill ride of a novel and a return to top form for the author, who has toned down the geeky pop culture references and the sausage in-jokes that became increasingly annoying in the last couple of series instalments. Okay, there are still a number of meat-product based jokes but that’s only to be expected when one of the major story characters is a dog – and unlike in previous books, they don’t seem to interrupt the storyline or distract from main event.
But wait, there’s more! Along with the Hunted story this book includes a free IDC novella – Two Ravens and One Crow. One of my criticisms of the previous instalment (Trapped) was how the plotline jumped forward 10 years and seemed to reference important events, unknown to the reader, that had happened in that intervening time. Finally the reason for this became clear. The details of Odin and Atticus’ reconciliation (okay, Odin convinces Atticus that it’s his duty to prevent Ragnarok, the Norse apocalypse, since he killed a number of the beings who were destined to do it) are covered in Two Ravens and One Crow. This novella fits into the Iron Druid Chronicles between books four and five and is vital for understanding the series continuity. Oh yeah, it’s also a great little story too, so it’s certainly worth reading – whether you want to fill in the storyline gaps or not.
All-in-all Hunted is a strong addition to the Iron Druid Chronicles. The journey across Europe from Romania to England is frantic, the various deities encountered along the way are imaginatively realised to various degrees of scary and as ever the vampires are sneaky and untrustworthy. Throw in the bonus Two Ravens and One Crow novella and reading nirvana is just about guaranteed.
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