I remember being skeptical when I picked up “Hounded”. I didn’t remain that way for too long. Hearne gets major kudos for doing something that most of the urban fantasy genre misses- he takes a powerful character, inserts reasonable limits to that power, and then throws something strong enough at the character to cause actual danger and a sense of tension. And then there is an Irish Wolfhound that would very much like to be Genghis Khan. Instead of being horrifyingly corny it was almost…endearing. Atticus, the owner of said Wolfhound also retains werewolves and an ancient vampire as his legal counsel. The usual urban fantasy tropes have been jiggled around a bit and the new arrangement keeps them interesting to an avid reader of the genre.
“Hounded” is rotten with gods. The Morrigan has a sketchy deal with our protagonist, who happens to have stolen a sword that Aenghus Og is determined to get back. Atticus, a very old druid with the Old World powers that station grant him, makes a fitting opponent for divine familial squabbling and territorial disputes. He is not as overpowered as the back of the book makes him sound- druids are limited to their contact with the earth so to use the bulk of his powers he needs to hunt down patches of earth in this modern world and press skin against it. Not as easy as it may sound when the bad guys rarely think to attack someplace convenient like the city park.
There is a wonderfully skewed bit of divine politicking that makes the whole book tick, and I found myself turning pages with delighted haste, determined to find out what happens next.