The last time I checked, Kevin Hearne's fourth book in The Iron Druid Chronicles, Tricked, was eleventh on the New York Times Mass Market Paperback Bestseller list, and twelfth on Publishers' Weekly's list. And, deservedly so. Hearne's stories of the Druid Atticus and his wolfhound, Oberon, combine Celtic mythology with other myths around the world in stories of good and evil. However, when the gods and the fate of the world are involved, sometimes it's hard to tell the good and evil apart.
Hearne thrusts Atticus into danger on the first page, and never lets up. Atticus is facing death at the hands of five thundergods. And, the Morrigan, the Celtic Chooser of the Slain had a vision of his death. So, along with Coyote, the Navajo trickster, Atticus sets up his own death. Maybe the gods would let him alone if they thought he was dead. Maybe so, but now he owes Coyote. And, Coyote has a job near Tuba City, Arizona, in the southwestern portion of the Navajo Nation. Coyote SAID he wants to take care of his people, putting money into renewable energy and building infrastructure on the rez so it's all owned and operated by the tribe, so he needs Atticus to find gold on the reservation. But, what he doesn't say, was what he really needs Atticus to do.
Atticus was hiding from the gods, bringing with him his apprentice, Granuaile, and, of course, Oberon. When Coyote introduces the building crew, Atticus is surprised that the team includes Frank, a hataalii, a powerful shaman. Then he learns what Coyote really wants, the destruction of two skinwalkers. And, the building project will attract those skinwalkers, determined to protect their territory. Despite facing a power he knows little about, Atticus owes Coyote, and there's no backing down.
One again, Hearne has introduced readers to a different culture and myth, that of the Navajo. He makes it so easy to learn about it, following along with Atticus as Frank explains the history of skinwalkers. But, Hearne doesn't let up on Atticus. From the moment he faces his death, he continues to face danger. Atticus and Oberon and Granuaile are threatened by vampires. And, when Atticus refuses to help Hel, the Norse goddess of death who wants his help destroying the world, she sends her creatures after him, including the hound of Hel.
Atticus and Oberon, with the addition of Granuaile, are wonderful characters who face danger with that gallows humor common to everyone who faces danger on a daily basis. The puns! The conversations between Atticus and Oberon are filled with pun challenges and humor.
Looking for the best of urban fantasy? You can't do better than Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid Chronicles. And, Tricked, set in Arizona, is the best in the series yet.
Note: Kevin Hearne will be appearing for Authors @ The Teague on Saturday, May 19th at 2 p.m.
Kevin Hearne's website is www.kevinhearne.com
Tricked by Kevin Herne. Del Rey. 2012. ISBN 9780345533623 (paperback), 352p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I bought a copy of the book.