Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles
Publication Information: New York: Ballantine Books, 2011 (Del Rey mass market ed.)
Library of Congress Classification: PS3608.E263
Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Druids and druidism–Fiction
Think of a world where all the pantheons of all the world’s deities are real. Add to this mix vampires, werewolves and witches–and Druids. Atticus O’Sullivan (his current alias; real name: Siodhachan Ó Suileabháin) is the protagonist. He looks 21 and has the libido of a 21-year-old, but he’s really 2,100 years old. He’s also the last of the Druids, so he tries to keep a low profile in the world, which usually doesn’t work. Long ago, he made a deal with The Morrigan, the Celtic goddess of war, and she has allowed him to live on in the world. Each week, he takes a cup of immortal tea that keeps him 21.
Atticus owns an occult shop where he sells books and different types of tea for different types of ailments. He also possesses the magical sword Fragarach. Atticus’ power comes from the earth, so he always tries to fight with his bare feet planted on the ground. The Celtic tattoos covering his right arm can also be used by him to channel energy from the earth. With his dog Oberon, with whom he’s able to telepathically communicate, Atticus lives in Tempe, Arizona. He chose the New World and the desert because there are no Old World deities in the area.
In the first book, Hounded, Atticus finds that his old enemy Aenghus Óg, the Celtic god of love, has discovered where he’s living. For centuries, Atticus has been on the run from this god, who wants to kill him and take Fragarach. Only recently has Aenghus Óg started causing trouble that alarms The Morrigan. Something is amiss, and she knows that Aenghus Óg is in the middle of it. And thus does Atticus get involved in battle, accompanied by werewolves.
In Hexed, the aftermath of Aenghus Óg’s defeat and the problems he created, are being addressed by Atticus. He ends up teamed with Coyote, the Native American trickster god, to destroy a fallen angel. Meanwhile, his vampire lawyer works on a non-aggression treaty with a coven of Polish witches after a few of them joined Aenghus Óg’s side in the last book. (Atticus does not like or trust witches.) A group of Bacchants from Vegas come to town, bringing destruction in their wake. These followers of the Roman god Bacchus start orgies that always end with the followers killing and even eating the initiates; Atticus and his friends therefore move against them. (Note: in this universe, the Roman and Greek pantheons are completely separate. Atticus taunts Bacchus by telling him he’s a pale imitation of Dionysus, which infuriates the Roman god.) Then there’s the new cult of witches who move into town; this group had ties to the Nazis. Atticus had battled them before during World War II. It’s also inconvenient that the local police believe Atticus is responsible for a few murders, so the Druid has to tread lightly.
In Hammered, Atticus has acquired an apprentice, but he doesn’t know just how long he’ll be able to stay in Tempe. His vampire lawyer and one of his werewolf associates from the law firm want Thor, the Norse god of thunder, dead. Seems that the Asgardian really is an asshole; those who can stand him describe him as “a douche bag.” He is the friend of no mortal, and has even pulled many nasty tricks on some deities. Joined by entities from other pantheons, Atticus leads the group to Asgard to make war with Thor. The resulting battle does real damage that forces Atticus to pull up roots and flee Tempe.
I liked these books. Some of the funniest dialog goes on between Atticus and Oberon as they communicate mentally. Also, Atticus likes to not only take off his shoes for battle but also takes off his clothes at times. (Lying on his right side on the ground, the earth’s power flows faster into him via his tattoos.) Watching Atticus negotiate the modern world as well not offending the deities with whom he comes into contact with is fun.
If seeing the Virgin Mary administer to today’s poor and downtrodden, and Jesus appearing as a Black man and having a drink with Atticus in a local Tempe bar doesn’t offend, then these books are for you.