Hounded (Iron Druid Chronicles Series #1)

Hounded (Iron Druid Chronicles Series #1)

by Kevin Hearne

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Overview

BONUS: This special eBook edition includes two bonus short stories set in the world of the Iron Druid Chronicles: "Clan Rathskeller," and the eBook exclusive "Kaibab Unbound."

HOUNDED

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old—when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345522535
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/03/2011
Series: Iron Druid Chronicles Series , #1
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 18,497
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Kevin Hearne is a native of Arizona and really appreciates whoever invented air-conditioning. He graduated from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff and now teaches high school English. When he’s not grading essays or writing novels, he tends to his basil plants and paints landscapes with his daughter. He has been known to obsess over fonts, frolic unreservedly with dogs, and stop whatever he’s doing in the rare event of rain to commune with the precipitation. He enjoys hiking, the guilty pleasure of comic books, and living with his wife and daughter in a wee, snug cottage.


From the Paperback edition.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
 
There are many perks to living for twenty-one centuries, and foremost among them is bearing witness to the rare birth of genius. It invariably goes like this: Someone shrugs off the weight of his cultural traditions, ignores the baleful stares of authority, and does something his countrymen think to be completely batshit insane. Of those, Galileo was my personal favorite. Van Gogh comes in second, but he really was batshit insane.
 
Thank the Goddess I don’t look like a guy who met Galileo—or who saw Shakespeare’s plays when they first debuted or rode with the hordes of Genghis Khan. When people ask how old I am, I just tell them twenty-one, and if they assume I mean years instead of decades or centuries, then that can’t be my fault, can it? I still get carded, in fact, which any senior citizen will tell you is immensely flattering.
 
The young-Irish-lad façade does not stand me in good stead when I’m trying to appear scholarly at my place of business—I run an occult bookshop with an apothecary’s counter squeezed in the corner—but it has one outstanding advantage. When I go to the grocery store, for example, and people see my curly red hair, fair skin, and long goatee, they suspect that I play soccer and drink lots of Guinness. If I’m going sleeveless and they see the tattoos all up and down my right arm, they assume I’m in a rock band and smoke lots of weed. It never enters their mind for a moment that I could be an ancient Druid—and that’s the main reason why I like this look. If I grew a white beard and got myself a pointy hat, oozed dignity and sagacity and glowed with beatitude, people might start to get the wrong—or the right—idea.
 
Sometimes I forget what I look like and I do something out of character, such as sing shepherd tunes in Aramaic while I’m waiting in line at Starbucks, but the nice bit about living in urban America is that people tend to either ignore eccentrics or move to the suburbs to escape them.
That never would have happened in the old days. People who were different back then got burned at the stake or stoned to death. There is still a downside to being different today, of course, which is why I put so much effort into blending in, but the downside is usually just harassment and discrimination, and that is a vast improvement over dying for the common man’s entertainment.
 
Living in the modern world contains quite a few vast improvements like that. Most old souls I know think the attraction of modernity rests on clever ideas like indoor plumbing and sunglasses. But for me, the true attraction of America is that it’s practically godless. When I was younger and dodging the Romans, I could hardly walk a mile in Europe without stepping on a stone sacred to some god or other. But out here in Arizona, all I have to worry about is the occasional encounter with Coyote, and I actually rather like him. (He’s nothing like Thor, for one thing, and that right there means we’re going to get along fine. The local college kids would describe Thor as a “major asshat” if they ever had the misfortune to meet him.)
 
Even better than the low god density in Arizona is the near total absence of faeries. I don’t mean those cute winged creatures that Disney calls “fairies”; I mean the Fae, the Sidhe, the actual descendants of the Tuatha Dé Danann, born in Tír na nÓg, the land of eternal youth, each one of them as likely to gut you as hug you. They don’t dig me all that much, so I try to settle in places they can’t reach very easily. They have all sorts of gateways to earth in the Old World, but in the New World they need oak, ash, and thorn to make the journey, and those trees don’t grow together too often in Arizona. I have found a couple of likely places, like the White Mountains near the border with New Mexico and a riparian area near Tucson, but those are both over a hundred miles away from my well-paved neighborhood near the university in Tempe. I figured the chances of the Fae entering the world there and then crossing a treeless desert to look for a rogue Druid were extremely small, so when I found this place in the late nineties, I decided to stay until the locals grew suspicious.
 
It was a great decision for more than a decade. I set up a new identity, leased some shop space, hung out a sign that said THIRD EYE BOOKS AND HERBS (an allusion to Vedic and Buddhist beliefs, because I thought a Celtic name would bring up a red flag to those searching for me), and bought a small house within easy biking distance.
 
I sold crystals and Tarot cards to college kids who wanted to shock their Protestant parents, scores of ridiculous tomes with “spells” in them for lovey-dovey Wiccans, and some herbal remedies for people looking to make an end run around the doctor’s office. I even stocked extensive works on Druid magic, all of them based on Victorian revivals, all of them utter rubbish, and all vastly entertaining to me whenever I sold any of them. Maybe once a month I had a serious magical customer looking for a genuine grimoire, stuff you don’t mess with or even know about until you’re fairly accomplished. I did much more of my rare book business via the Internet—another vast improvement of modern times.
 
But when I set up my identity and my place of business, I did not realize how easy it would be for someone else to find me by doing a public-records search on the Internet. The idea that any of the Old Ones would even try it never occurred to me—I thought they’d try to scry me or use other methods of divination, but never the Internet—so I was not as careful in choosing my name as I should have been. I should have called myself John Smith or something utterly sad and plain like that, but my pride would not let me wear a Christian name. So I used O’Sullivan, the Anglicized version of my real surname, and for everyday usage I employed the decidedly Greek name of Atticus. A supposedly twenty-one-year-old O’Sullivan who owned an occult bookstore and sold extremely rare books he had no business knowing about was enough information for the Fae to find me, though.
 
On a Friday three weeks before Samhain, they jumped me in front of my shop when I walked outside to take a lunch break. A sword swished below my knees without so much as a “Have at thee!” and the arm swinging it pulled its owner off balance when I jumped over it. I crunched a quick left elbow into his face as he tried to recover, and that was one faery down, four to go.
 
Thank the Gods Below for paranoia. I classified it as a survival skill rather than a neurotic condition; it was a keen knife’s edge, sharpened for centuries against the grindstone of People Who Want to Kill Me. It was what made me wear an amulet of cold iron around my neck, and cloak my shop not only with iron bars, but also with magical wards designed to keep out the Fae and other undesirables. It was what made me train in unarmed combat and test my speed against vampires, and what had saved me countless times from thugs like these.
 
Perhaps thug is too heavy a word for them; it connotes an abundance of muscle tissue and a profound want of intellect. These lads didn’t look as if they had ever hit the gym or heard of anabolic steroids. They were lean, ropy types who had chosen to disguise themselves as cross-country runners, bare-chested and wearing nothing but maroon shorts and expensive running shoes. To any passerby it would look as if they were trying to beat me up with brooms, but that was just a glamour they had cast on their weapons. The pointy parts were in the twigs, so if I was unable to see through their illusions, I would have been fatally surprised when the nice broom stabbed my vitals. Since I could see through faerie glamours, I noticed that two of my remaining four assailants carried spears, and one of them was circling around to my right. Underneath their human guises, they looked like the typical faery—that is, no wings, scantily clad, and kind of man-pretty like Orlando Bloom’s Legolas, the sort of people you see in salon product advertisements. The ones with spears stabbed at me simultaneously from the sides, but I slapped the tips away with either wrist so that they thrust past me to the front and back. Then I lunged inside the guard of the one to the right and clotheslined him with a forearm to his throat. Tough to breathe through a crushed windpipe. Two down now; but they were quick and deft, and their dark eyes held no gleam of mercy.
 

Customer Reviews

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Hounded (Iron Druid Chronicles Series #1) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 556 reviews.
2PointySticks More than 1 year ago
Other reviewers have given good synopses, so I'll skip that bit and go straight to the subjectivity: this book was FANTASTIC. Fast-paced, laugh-out-loud funny, well plotted and peopled with interesting characters. Our hero, Atticus, is not perfect, which only makes him more likeable. Hearne knows his mythology and builds a rich world around it. There are some secondary characters I'd like to know a lot more about, but with two more books coming and the promise of more, that will probably come in time. The author has set himself up with a lot of material to work into future stories, and I for one can't wait!
xNightQueenx More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a great fun urban fanstasy novel. It reminded a great deal of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, in a good way. I also though that using Irish mythology was a refreshing change from the typical vampire/werewolf centered stories (though both appear in the book they are not the focus). I read through all three books in the series in a few days and I look forward to the fourth comming out in the spring.
terilhack More than 1 year ago
I love Hounded. No seriously it is fantastic. Inside this book is a progressing storyline that leave you never a dull minute, is a masterpiece. There is enough fabulous snark that you could stir it with a stick, and moody plotting characters that pop in and out of the story all of the time. Poor Atticus (no wealthy kick arse really) just wants some down time after two thousand years to sit back, brew at his tea shop, sell at his bookshop and hunt with his wolfhound. Is that too much for a guy to ask for, it might be when you are packing a hot sword lifted from a bygone war. Hounded will keep you reading and enthralled in its characters. I am so happy that a book per month with be released so there is no year wait between books. Want a great new fresh read that packs a punch, then get Hounded and you wont be left unsatisfied.
ReadingVixen67 More than 1 year ago
Excellent beginning to a cool series. Nice take on Celtic mythology, with lots of humor, and quite a bit of action. Celtic gods and witches figure prominently throughout the book, as well as werewolves and a very distinguished vampire. I laughed quite frequently at Oberon, Atticus' dog (Atticus is the main character in the series); Oberon was my favorite character. Read the series: Hounded, Hexed, and Hammered. You'll enjoy it!
Jennifer-K-Jovus More than 1 year ago
Kevin Hearne's brilliance shines in his debut publication, Hounded, an epic novel that encompasses modern day life with Norse and Irish mythology. His humor is unlike anything I have read and I found myself wishing I could be friends with Atticus. I enjoyed that while reading this book I learned about Druid magic (Which I wouldn't mind wielding). I also appreciated the dictionary Hearne provided at the beginning of the book so that I could understand the Irish pronunciation better. Oberon the loveable Irish Wolfhound gained my loyalty and affection with his one track poodle obsessed mind and smart alec humor. Hearne has written the voice of a dog so perfectly I ended up staring at my own Labrador Retriever trying to read her thoughts. Alas, it did not happen, but I did have sudden and serious craving for sausages. Atticus O'Sullivan embraces all aspects of shifters that I love while maintaining self preservation and honor. He is clever and made me laugh-out-loud several times throughout the book. He interacts with the other characters of the book very well and brings out the cantankerous side of his werewolf buddy. The dialogue is smooth and believable. The assortment of diverse characters leaves many possibilities for future novels. Would I read this book again? Absolutely, I will also be getting it in Audiobook too. I know that my husband will appreciate this book - especially being written from a mans point of view. (Swords, fighting and a faithful dog - a guys guy will enjoy this book) The suspense was so intense that I carried this book with me everywhere I went just in case I got an extra minute to read. When I finished it, I immediately wanted to read it again. Hounded has catapulted itself to be my new favorite book. I would recommend Hounded to anyone that enjoys paranormal and urban fantasy series.
seonaidJB More than 1 year ago
My granddaughter recommend this series to me. I find it to be highly entertaining, educational & very funny. I liked it so much that I ordered the rest of the series and all the short storis before I had finished the first book. Can't wait to read what he writes next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The writing is strong and well-paced.The main character, Atticus, is funny and witty.
DebbyJ More than 1 year ago
Hounded was a fun fast paced read. Would recommend to anyone who likes fantasy.
Whitelightertrev More than 1 year ago
This book (and the entire series) was recommended to me by a friend. I was extremely pleased I managed to get around to reading it! It's a quick read packed with action and occasional wit. The voice of the book is definitely a male in his twenties. It's a fun perspective, but be aware if you find that demographic irritating.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mr. Hearne writes with a sense of humor that really appeals to me. The story progresses at a pleasant rate and doesn't generally get bogged down in too much detail about the how-to of a certain scene - just enough for my tastes.
Integrity_Consultants More than 1 year ago
A Fun, Magical Romp! - I absolutely loved the first installment of the Iron Druid Chronicles! This was a truly original book with outstanding character development and world-building. I jumped straight from the first into the second and bought the remaining books in the series. I can't recommend it highly enough to fans of fantasy and magic.
Pencil0 More than 1 year ago
I'm sorry to say the book sucked. In the first reading it was 4 stars than I realized that the guy was like an arragont sod who treated women like crap, the dog I liked. The story was interesting but the main character just was too agonizing. This almost read like a Jim Butcher novel but the character was incredibly lucky (Dresden is never lucky) and he had almost no morals everything horrible he did it seemed he ... didn't feel that bad about it and I find that a gaping hole in my main guy I must feel like I can route for him and I just didn't with him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book right after reading all the Dresden books I could get my hands on. To be fair to this series, it isn't Dresden, but I found so many similarities it almost seemed like fanfic in the Dresden universe. Butcher by no means has a lock on urban fantasy, nor is he the first. Hearne's concept should be able to stand alone, but it has a bit of a 'me too!' flavor to it. But that said, it is still good, a quick, light-hearted read. The main character is tough to the point of almost being omnipotent, which wears thin. The secondary characters with the exception of the dog are fairly flat and wooden. But I'm willing to suspend this because it is 1st person and Atticus may just be an arrogant guy who doesn't notice much beyond cleavage. I'll give the second book a try, and give this series a chance to hit it's stride. But if you love Dresden, make sure there's some distance between the two series before starting this one, then you can enjoy it.
Shaithis More than 1 year ago
This was one of the most enjoyable fantasy romps I've read in a long time. Fast paced, the right amount of humor and action and some great characters, especially the dog! You've got to give this a read if you enjoy the genere, and the modern setting adds to it.
Steve2 More than 1 year ago
Fabulous and fun, lot's of action...a supernatural twist mixed with Irish mythology that makes it different from all the other paranormal books out there, which tend to be indistinguishable. Loved it and already to start book 2.
NorCalT More than 1 year ago
Enter a little town in Arizona U.S.A. and peruse the mystic book and tea shop in town. Look for lite readings on Buddism, Taoism, Wiccan and have a Invigo-tea mixed up especially by the "Dude" Atticus. He's sports some cool tattos and his life is easy with his Irish wolfhound. Just don't assume this guy is another bygone of limp intellect of some college youth lest the ground literally "opens up to swallow you. " Atticas is friendly with more than the old Irish lass on the street; his vampire lawyer or his werewolf friends may serve you a"summons. " HA HA HA!
bookittyblog More than 1 year ago
Hounded was interesting but difficult to get into. I didn't know much about the plot of the book before reading it and I think that's why I was lost (I always do a mini research of the book I'm about to read). This book is mostly about Celtic Mythology and I know nothing about it. After a few chapters and some time I started to get into the book and it kept getting better. With the help of Wikipedia and the Internet I finished Hounded. I recommend this book if you are into Celtic Mythology or if you like a challenge and learn new stuff. Hounded is a really good book and has awesome characters.
TerisBook More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful read. Druids and wolfhounds and gods Oh my!
Christopher Green More than 1 year ago
This book kept me glued to my Nook! Charming relationship between a Druid and his dog playing out with a worldwide pantheon of gods and goddesses. Cannot wait for the new release!
WitchyWriter 9 months ago
I’ve been seeking out books that are either urban fantasy or based on Celtic mythology, and this series seemed like a good marriage of those two things! A writer friend of mine really enjoyed these books, so I was eager to dive in. There are some interesting ways that Hearne deals with gods in this series. When they show up they tend to come across as larger than life, sort of stereotypical characters whose motivations can’t be known/understood by mere mortals and all that. There isn’t a lot of exploration of them as complex characters, but given that they’re all pretty much just secondary characters in the plot, it’s understandable. They follow the same pattern as the gods in American Gods, where they get their power or lack thereof from the belief/faith of humans. The main character, Atticus, is a really old druid, living in modern day Arizona. I like that Atticus gets angry whenever anyone harms the Earth—that seems pretty on brand for a druid. And I like his relationship with his dog, Oberon. Honestly any scene that has the dog in it ends up being an enjoyable scene. Where Atticus sometimes fell short for me was his tendency to be a…for lack of a better term, “babe magnet” when it came to goddesses that visited him. Why are they all so magically attracted to him? Add to that his tendency to talk to himself about baseball in an attempt to distract from his sexual attraction to various female characters and…well. It was kind of alienating for me, honestly. I don’t really have to fight with myself to treat people as people, not sex objects. Still, it’s rare enough to see a story that calls on Celtic mythology, and this one is a fast-paced, action-packed, quick read that was ultimately enjoyable. I’m reading the second one now, and not entirely sure if I’m going to stick it out for the entire series yet. I’d say anyone who enjoys action-y, kickass, monster-of-the-week type books, with magic and mythology and a male protagonist, would likely enjoy these books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Along+with+re-linking+us+to+our+richest+mythologies+%28with+a+modern+twist%29+this+is+a+great+romp+through+the+Southwest+desert+climes+with+a+Druid%2C+no+less.+Never+lacking+action+and+witty+reparte+with+an+affable+but+capable+Irish+wolfhound%2C+we+are+regaled+by+heroes%2C+goddesses+and+even+the+odd+demons.+A+great+getaway+book+that+leaves+you+smiling.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Exciting%2C+funny%2C+sexy+and+imaginative.+
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very entertaining
kayceel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a fun 'manly' twist on the paranormal/supernatural genre. Atticus is a two-thousand year-old druid living in Tempe, AZ, as it has few gods and fey living nearby. When he is warned that his centuries old nemesis is on his way, Atticus uses all his powers, and friends, to defend himself.Atticus is calm and controlled, as I guess you could expect from a guy who's lived two-thousand years and could expect to see two thousand more: patience he's learned. He's also dryly funny, and has amusing friends and acquaintances, which I'd like to read more about. I'm a sucker for books set in our world, but that involve magics and 'monsters' that hide themselves from us regular human beings, and this definitely fits the bill. Atticus owns a new-age type shop and his druidic, earthy ways fit right in there. His problem - a fey god that wants to kill Atticus and take back the magical sword Atticus 'stole' centuries before - is resolved with lots of blood, magical spells and twists, and was a lot of fun. His dog, Oberon, who can speak only to Atticus, was a delightful bit of humor.What I found really interesting was the differences between this (and another urban fantasy with a male main character story, Jim Butcher's Dresden Files) and stories with a woman as the main character are the love interest factors. Most of the female main character urban fantasies establish a possible love interest (or triangle...sigh) almost immediately. Not so here: Atticus does sleep with a goddess off camera, but there's no indication of a relationship there, unlike in the stories that feature women (however, he does wear an amulet to protect him from feminine wiles, to which he's supposedly *very* susceptible). Is it a difference between male and female authors? The intended audience? A belief that women want to read about falling in love while men want to read about blood and gore and a bad-ass that bones hot goddesses? Hmmm...Overall, an entertaining, fun read. Recommended.
yarmando on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A 2100-year-old druid in Tempe, AZ, has a stand-off with Irish gods.Why I picked it up: Amazon has been recommending the series, so when I saw it with the new audiobooks, I thought I'd give it a listen.Why I finished it: This is much better than the other "Dresden Files" knock-offs. I'm pretty ignorant of Irish mythology (I've tried, but the Gaelic drives me nuts), but Hearne seems to use it well, and Daniels does a great job reading it. Also, I love me some bad witches.I'd give it to: The usual Butcher fans, but I think fans of "American Gods" or Charles deLint mike like this too. And movie producers--Atticus gets naked a lot, so...you know...I'd like to see that.