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Hunted: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book Six
 
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Hunted: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book Six [Format Kindle]

Kevin Hearne
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)

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Descriptions du produit

Extrait

Chapter 1

It’s odd how when you feel safe you can’t think of that thing it was you kept meaning to do, but when you’re running for your life you suddenly remember the entire list of things you never got around to doing.

I always wanted to get blindly drunk with a mustachioed man, take him back to his place, do a few extra shots just this side of severe liver damage, and then shave off half his mustache when he passed out. I would then install surveillance equipment before I left so that I could properly appreciate his reaction (and his hangover) when he woke up. And of course I would surveil him from a black windowless van parked somewhere along his street. There would be a wisecracking computer science graduate from MIT in the van with me who almost but not quite went all the way once with a mousy physics major who dumped him because he didn’t accelerate her particles.

I can’t remember when I thought that one up and added it to my list. It was probably after I saw True Lies. It was never particularly high up on my list, for obvious reasons, but the memory came back to me, fully fantasized in Technicolor, once I was running for my life in Romania. Our minds are mysteries.

Somewhere behind me, the Morrigan was fighting off two goddesses of the hunt. Artemis and Diana had decided that I needed killing, and the Morrigan had pledged to protect me from such violent death. Oberon ran on my left and Granuaile on my right; all around me, the forest quaked silently with the pandemonium of Faunus, disrupting Druidic tethers to Tír na nÓg. I could not shift away to safety. All I could do was run and curse the ancient Greco–­Romans.

Unlike the Irish and the Norse—and many other cultures—the Greco–­Romans did not imagine their gods as eternally youthful but vulnerable to violent death. Oh, they had nectar and ambrosia to keep their skin wrinkle-free and their bodies in prime shape, changing their blood to ichor, and that was similar to the magical food and drink available to other pantheons, but that wasn’t the end of it. They could regenerate completely, which essentially gifted them with true immortality, so that even if you shredded them like machaca and ate them with guacamole and warm tortillas, they’d just re-spawn in a brand-new body on Olympus and keep coming after you—hence the reason why Prometheus never died, in spite of having his liver eaten every day by a vulture who oddly never sought variety in his diet.

That didn’t mean a fella couldn’t beat them. Aside from the fact that they can be slain by other immortals, the Olympians have to exist in time like everyone else. I’d tossed Bacchus onto an island of slow time in Tír na nÓg, and the Olympians took it personally—so personally that they’d rather kill me than get Bacchus back.

I didn’t think for a moment I could do the same to the huntresses. They were far more adept in combat, for one thing, and they’d be watching each other’s back while doing their best to shoot me in mine.

“Where are we going?” Granuaile asked.

“Roughly north for now. Situation’s fluid.”

<I may have left some fluid back there when I saw those arrows coming,> Oberon said. The Morrigan had taken both arrows in her shield and told us to run.

“I almost did too, Oberon,” Granuaile said. She could hear his voice now that she was a full Druid. “I should have been ducking or tackling Atticus or almost anything else, but instead I was just trying my damnedest not to pee.”

“We’ll have to take a potty break later,” I said. “Distance is key right now.”

“And I’m guessing stealth isn’t? This is going to be an easy trail to follow the way we’re moving through the forest.”

“We’ll get crafty when we have the space to do so.”

The Morrigan’s raspy voice entered my head. It wasn’t my favorite habit of hers, but it was convenient at the moment. Her tone was exultant.

Here is a battle worthy of remembrance! How I wish there were witnesses and a bard like Amergin to put it down in song!

Morrigan—

Listen, Siodhachan. I can keep them from pursuing you for some while. But they will hunt again soon enough.

They will? What about you?

I am better than they. But not immortal. My end is near; I have seen it. But what an end it will be!

I slowed down and looked back. Granuaile and Oberon paused too. You’re going to die?

Don’t stop running, you fool! Run and listen and do not sleep. You know how to stave off the need to sleep, don’t you?

Yes. Prevent the buildup of adenosine in the brain and—

Enough with the modern words. You know. Now you must either find one of the Old Ways to Tír na nÓg—one that isn’t guarded—or make your way to the forest of Herne the Hunter.

The forest of Herne? You mean Windsor Forest? That’s a hell of a run across Europe.

You can always die instead, the Morrigan pointed out.

No thanks. But Windsor is not much of a wilderness anymore. It’s more like a groomed park. People drink tea there. They might even play croquet. That’s not a forest.

It will suffice. Herne is there. He will defend it. And he will bring friends. And, Siodhachan, remember that Gaia loves us more than she loves the Olympians. They have given her nothing in all their long lives. Even now they traumatize her with pandemonium. I am unbinding their chariots; they will be afoot for some while until their smith gods can make them anew. Take advantage and give yourself as much of a lead as possible.

Something didn’t compute. Morrigan, if you saw this coming, why didn’t you warn me?

You were with your woman.

My woman? If I tried to call Granuaile that, I would promptly lose some teeth. She’s not mine. You can’t possess anyone.

I have learned that lesson very well.

Fine, then what does that have to do with this ridiculous fight with the Olympians? We could have avoided it all.

No. It was always going to come. Delaying would do no good.

Are you kidding? That’s what living is. Delaying death. Let’s get you some Prozac.

Hush. I have for you what modern people call a lovely parting gift.

I shuddered to think what the Morrigan considered lovely, so I simply said, A parting gift?

In Tír na nÓg there is a Time Island with the following address. A vision appeared in my head of a short stone obelisk etched with Ogham script. Do you see it?

Yes, but—

Record it well in your memory. Circle the island. On the side facing upstream, look closely at the tree line and you will see someone there you might wish to retrieve. If you do, ask Goibhniu for help.

Morrigan. Why?

Because I am trapped and this is the only way out. And because you have chosen, and you have chosen well. I cannot fault her.

I lost a step or two as the import of her words sank in. Granuaile shot a worried glance at me and I shook my head once, reassuring her that nothing was wrong. But . . . Morrigan, you never said anything.

Would it have mattered? Would you have ever chosen me?

I don’t know. But I didn’t get a chance.

Every day was a chance, Siodhachan. Two thousand years of days. If you were interested, you had ample opportunity to express it. I understand. I frighten you. I frighten everyone, and that is a fact I cannot escape, however I may wish otherwise.

Well . . . yeah. You’re fighting off two Olympians right now and having this conversation. That’s frightening.

They came prepared. Their fabrics are synthetic. I cannot bind them. And they are very skilled, trying to wound my right side and affect my magic.

Morrigan, just get out of there. You saved me and we have a lead now.

No. This is the choice I have made. It is only recently I have tried to change in earnest—I mean since you slew Aenghus Óg—and discovered that somehow change has become impossible for me. I cannot make friends. I cannot be gentle except under the most extraordinary circumstances. My nature will not allow it. All I can do is terrify, seduce, and choose the slain. Is that not strange? Long ago I was merely a Druid like you and could do whatever I wished. But once I became a goddess, certain expectations came with the power. Call them chains, rather. I didn’t notice them until I tried to break free. My nature now is no longer my own to do with as I please. I can be only what my people want me to be.

I’m sorry. I didn’t know.

I tell you so that you may grow wiser. It is a hidden law of godhood, and woe unto she who finds it. I have been trying to deny its reality, but it has asserted itself too often to be anything but the truth. Yet I have some comfort now.

You do?

Here is my victory, Siodhachan: I am permitted to do battle, and I do not need a reason. Still, I usually have one, and that reason can be whatever I wish. So today I do not fight for glory or honor or bloodlust or vengeance. I fight for . . . something else.

I understand. But say it anyway. For the win.

Love.

Morrigan, I—

I felt as if something popped softly in my head, like the release of tension when a taut cord is cut. Or a binding. There was a sudden emptiness, and an overwhelming sense of vertigo caused me to stumble over a root and execute a graceless face plant.

Morrigan? The silence in my head pointed to only one conclusion. Our mental bond had been like the soft electric hum of kitchen appliances or computers that you never notice until they stop. During a rather painful ritual that had regenerated an ear I’d lost to a demon, she’d slipped in the binding that allowed her to speak to me telepathically. It was gone now.

“Atticus, what happened?” Granuaile helped me to my feet and gasped when she saw my face. “Are you hurt? Why are you crying?”

She let go of my arm and then had to grab it again when I swayed on my feet, still a bit dizzy. “The Morrigan is dead,” I said.

Chapter 2

“Think you can carry your staff in your mouth as a horse?” I asked, to forestall any questions about what happened. I rubbed away my tears with the heel of my palm. Granuaile understood and didn’t press the issue, though her voice sounded hollowed out by shock.

“I suppose I could.”

“Good. Leave your clothes here.” I began to strip and tried to clear my head of its dizziness by taking several deep breaths. “We really need to make time. We’ll hoof it and recharge from the earth as we go.”

Granuaile peeled off her shirt. “The Morrigan said the Old Ways would be collapsed or guarded,” she said, recalling what the goddess had said to us before we took off running. “Are we going to fight our way through and use one of those?”

“I think we’ll be running all the way to England. Or to France, anyway, then we’ll swim the channel.”

“We’re seriously running there from Romania?”

“That’s right.”

“We can’t take a train or boost a car or something?”

“No. You heard what the Morrigan said. The only way she saw us survive is running the whole way.”

“That doesn’t make sense.”

“When it comes to our survival, I don’t want to bet against the Morrigan’s visions. She tends—I mean, tended to be accurate on matters of life and death.”

“I’m not trying to argue the truth of what she said. I just want to understand why it’s true.”

I shrugged. “I don’t know the answer yet. We’ll find out as we go. My guess is that we’ll have to figure out everything on the run.”

Once divested of our clothing, with our weapons lying on the ground in front of us, we shifted to our hooved forms—a stag and a chestnut mare—and picked up our weapons in our mouths.

<Heh! You guys better hope we don’t run into a thick patch where the trees grow really close together,> Oberon said.

I didn’t have a reply for that, but Granuaile must have, because Oberon followed that up with an outraged <What? Seriously? Do I have to?> She obviously said he did, for he continued, <We need to get you some saddlebags or something.> He picked up one of Granuaile’s thigh holsters, where she kept three leaf-bladed throwing knives. <You know how ridiculous we look, right? I know a horse whisperer, and I’m totally going to give him a call about you.>

The one-sided banter continued as we began to run, and I was grateful for it. Someone I had thought of as eternal had abruptly ended, and it rocked me. I couldn’t have summoned a single playful riposte to Oberon’s comments. There was simply too much else for me to deal with, not least of which was figuring out how we would continue to survive.

Once out of the foothills of the Apuseni Mountains, we were able to pour on the speed, skirting along the edge of a small plateau and then, descending out of the wilderness, running across flat cultivated lands. We bore northwest to avoid crossing more hills and slowing down. We kept to the vineyards and alfalfa and cereal crops and avoided the villages. We swam across two rivers and crossed into Hungary by running south of Oradea as the sun set. Through Oberon, I relayed to Granuaile what the Morrigan had said—the bits about getting to Herne’s forest, anyway.

Her question to me: <What route shall we take to get there?>

Our best chance was in simple speed, unless we could somehow find an Old Way to Tír na nÓg that wasn’t monitored. I had no doubt that those would all be watched. The people behind planning this wanted to make sure they got us, and they wouldn’t be able to if we could get to Tír na nÓg and then shift to another plane entirely. The Romans had done the same thing to the ancient Druids when they tried to wipe us out with the help of vampires and the Roman goddess Minerva. Step one had been to burn all the sacred groves on the continent, which were the only tethers to Tír na nÓg at the time; step two was to guard all the Old Ways; and step three was to use Minerva’s aid to see through our camouflage. I’d managed to escape them by running north beyond the boundaries of the Roman Empire. I would not be surprised to learn that Minerva had advised Pan, Faunus, and the huntresses how to hunt us now.

But I had never tried to run across Europe before. I’d hiked it once and stayed in youth hostels and put little patches on my backpack because I thought it was a funny disguise, but I took my time doing that, and climbing up mountains was an experience to be savored. I rather thought dealing with mountains now would do nothing but slow us down, and, besides, I didn’t want to telegraph our intended destination. To get to the Strait of Dover directly, we could simply run north of west and hit it. But that route would present us not only with several mountain ranges but plenty of well-paved cities like Budapest and Vienna. We needed misdirection and the ability to keep in touch with the earth at all times. That’s why I took a sharp turn north at the Hungarian border: Once we crossed the Carpathians, we could stick to flattish land or, at the worst, low rolling hills all the way to France. While we moved northwest through Poland and Germany, we’d keep them thinking we were headed for Sweden via Denmark. To get the best possible route, however, avoiding the majority of villages while also minimizing our exposure to survivalists in the woods awaiting the apocalypse, I would need to consult elementals along the way. Using my Latin headspace, I reached out to the Carpathian elemental, who was dominant across several human political borders that were meaningless to Gaia.

//Druids run / Need guidance / Avoid people and cities if possible//

After some back and forth with Carpathia, we settled on a route that would take us north through rural areas of Hungary and Slovakia until we reached the proper Carpathian Mountains.

With a plan in place and an hour of trail behind us, I had time to feel, and much of that feeling leaked out of my eyes as I ran. I had spent nearly my entire life worshipping the Morrigan, and, in recent years, more than that. She was the darkness for me, an unexpectedly beautiful harbinger of doom and pain who forced me to struggle, who pushed me to improve myself. She was a necessary balance to Brighid, not something merely to be feared but to be treasured. As Brighid brought light and craft and poetry to our lives, the Morrigan brought an edge, a tangible sharpness to my existence by sharing hers with me.

Revue de presse

Praise for Hunted
 
Hunted is the best by far! . . . Storytelling doesn’t get much better than this, folks. The author has caught lightning (pun intended) in a bottle and he keeps doing it again, and again. If you haven’t caught on to the joy that is the Iron Druid Chronicles, you should remedy that, post-haste.”—My Bookish Ways
 
Hunted is everything you’ve come to expect from an Iron Druid book, and then some.  I give Hunted [a] five out of five.”—Roqoo Depot
 
“A fun, action packed book that delivers some great sequences, and some superb narrative with some great humour.”—The Founding Fields
 
Hunted is filled with everything I love about the series. Snark runs rampant, action is non-stop, the world building is phenomenal, and the characters are ones that you would love to sit down and have a drink with.”—Mad Hatter Reads
 
Hunted is an adrenaline-filled read with tons of action, fantastic mythology and some real twists. The epilogue has me itching to get my hands on the next in the series.”—Vampire Book Club


Praise for Kevin Hearne

“An exciting mix of comedy, action, and mythology . . . [Atticus] is one of the best main characters currently present in the urban fantasy genre.”—Fantasy Book Critic, on Tricked
 
“Superb . . . eminently readable . . . plenty of quips and zap-pow-bang fighting.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review), on Hounded

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1872 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 325 pages
  • Editeur : Del Rey; Édition : Reprint (25 juin 2013)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00AUSCOIS
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°40.100 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Goodie 7 août 2013
Par Sophie
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
The series keeps getting better and better! The 6th volume of the IRC has its load of fun, intricate politics and interesting characters. Don't worry, Granuaile and Atticus haven't gotten boring as a couple either.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Toujours aussi haletant 27 décembre 2013
Par fenchurch
Format:Poche|Achat vérifié
Atticus, Oberon et Granuaile tentent de survivre à de nouvelles aventures trépidantes. Kevin Hearne réussit à tenir le rythme, les personnages évoluent également, c'est un plaisir renouvelé que de lire leurs pérégrinations...
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Amazon.com: 4.6 étoiles sur 5  439 commentaires
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A poor continuation of a potentially interesting series 20 avril 2014
Par Seth Kunin - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
While the first book was certainly original and interesting, as the series has developed it has declined. Much of the basic narrative structure is identical, and there is little to draw one further into his world making. In particular his main character is too powerful, and as such makes the concept of gods relatively meaningless except when he needs an ear repaired. I would like to see a more complex and interesting way of relating to the gods, rather than in effect killing one each book. While it nice to have a powerful woman in fantasy books like these, I can't see what is added except adolescent sexual tension, which in a man said to be over 2000 years old is rather embarrassing. It would have been more interesting if she brought significant differences to the table. After this volume I am unlikely to re on.
6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 What happened? 25 octobre 2013
Par Rae - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
The first four books of this series were great. I couldn't put them down!

The fifth one was okay. It felt a little bit recipe-ish to me and I felt it ended on a weird note. I turned the last page expecting the story to go on and instead was left feeling confused and stood up by the ending of the book. It was as if I had been having a great conversation with someone and then they suddenly turned and walked away... in the middle of a sentence with no explanation, good-bye, or closure what so ever.

I was weary to pick up this book and continue reading, and I was right to be. I made it through two chapters before I found myself bored and uninterested. I can't explain why I no longer feel that initial thrill these tales inspired in me, but the spark is gone. The humor and sarcastic, snarky wit of the main character seems to have fizzled out altogether. I'm just not sure what happened here...
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 My least favorite of the series. 10 décembre 2013
Par Thomas R. Manning - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Kevin Hearne is a fantastic author, and his Iron Druid Chronicles are easily just as fun to read as Jim Butcher's Dresden Files.

But I have to admit that I was really disappointed in Hunted. I think my main issue with it was my lack of care for certain characters. Kevin has created some wonderful and complex villians for this series, but I just didn't care for the two primary antagonists in this book. Likewise, we are given an alternate POV during a number of chapters and I had no connection to them. I literally muttered to myself "when do I get back to Atticus???"

The book isn't bad. If it was my rating would be lower. Atticus and Oberon are still a joy to read, and the second half of the book really begins to pick up intensity, but as soon as it hits a high stride and becomes enjoyable, the book ends. The ending came completely unexpected and when I was finished it didn't leave me yearning for the next book; it made me say "WTF?"

Here's hoping Shattered, book 7, will be better. I enjoy Kevin Hearne very much, but in baseball terms, Hunted was a swing and a miss.
20 internautes sur 29 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Fun. But Not His Best Work 29 juin 2013
Par Geoffrey A. Snyder - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I'm of mixed opinion on this book. I enjoyed it. I'm glad this one cleared out some of the sub-plots that have been building. And, it's not my favorite in the series.

This is a culmination of the events started in Trapped and the 4 earlier books. The story line built and built to this point and finally everything has come to a climax. That's a good thing as the story arc was getting very messy and somewhat restrictive to the point that much of the original charm of the first books was getting pushed aside. But, it wasn't such a good thing in that this one doesn't feel like a complete novel so much as the second half of book 5.

This book is pure action. It's well written, it's very fast paced and it introduces then clears out far more enemies than the other books have. This one has cleared the way for a 7th book that only has a vampire war and Ragnarok to worry about.

Oh, and the last 1k locations in the book are a separate, stand alone novella.
7 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Why Can't I Give this 6 Stars? 11 juillet 2013
Par H. C. Newton - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche|Achat vérifié
Try as I might, I can't figure out a way to get Goodreads to let me give this as many stars as it deserves -- 6. I don't think it's possible for Hearne to write a bad book, but Hunted is beyond good. Not that Hearne has ever seemed anything but self-assured and capable (sorta like Atticus), but he's really firing on all cylinders here -- from the jaw-dropping and series-changing events of Chapter 1 through all the plot, twists, character moments, quips, action, and development that follows -- Hearne delivers with verve and panache.

I don't know how to describe the storyline without plunging neck-deep into spoiler territory, so let's just say that this picks up minutes (if not seconds) from Trapped and keeps going from there. Virtually every character from the previous five novels makes an appearance (if only with a name-drop), and we get a few new characters from the pages of myth (Irish, Greek and Roman predominantly, but most of Europe is well-represented here) as well from Hearne's own imagination. Our favorite Druids face off with a couple of new opponents, try to broker a peace with Greek and Roman pantheons, prepare for Ragnarok, and try to suss out who amognst the Tuatha Dé Danann might be working to bring about their untimely demise. (clearly, our heroes don't get a lot of rest in these fast-moving 300 pages to get all that addressed)

Not that Atticus has had an easy go of it since the beginning of Hounded, but Hearne really puts the hurt on him this time around. He has two of the closest calls I can remember a first-person narrator dealing with in recent history -- and he gets both of them in one book! Though honestly, the emotional and intellectual challenges he faces are probably harder for him to deal with -- his Bear charm and tattoos can't help him with those. Naturally, he rises to the challenges and even pulls off a couple of schemes that would make his buddy Coyote proud. While remaining Atticus at his core, there are flashes of a ruthlessness and hardness that we haven't seen much of before. A good reminder that a Celtic warrior was formidable opponent (thankfully, there are things that still make him balk!)

While most of the book is told from Atticus' POV as usual, we do get a few chapters from Granuaile's POV. I appreciated seeing things from her perspective (not just the parts that Atticus couldn't relate, either) and I learned a lot more about a character I thought I knew pretty well already. I think she's just about at the point where we could get Granuaile novels with minimal use of Atticus (see the Joe Pike novels) and not feel we were missing much -- if anything, the fight scenes might be a bit more savage. There's a danger here (I think Atticus himself sees this) in her becoming too much of an eco-warrior (think Captain Planet as told by Tarantino), and I think that could make for problematic reading if it went on too long or too extreme. But until then, I'm enjoying the heck out of this warrior woman.

If you're already reading this series, you're in love with Oberon (or have no soul). If you're not reading it, you've probably not read this far -- but if you have, just know that it's worth buying the 6 books just to spend time with this most wonderful of Irish Wolfhounds. When I described Chapter 1 in words similar to my first paragraph to my wife (who's a couple books behind), she simply stopped me, "He didn't kill Oberon, did he?" I got the distinct impression that my books would be headed for the trash pile (or would be tossed on the barbeque) if I answered yes. Thankfully (on many levels), that's not the case. Even better, this is the best use of Oberon yet -- of course, he's hilarious and inappropriate as always -- but he also gets to be heroic, inspiring and even moving. I'm not kidding, my eyes got misty a couple of times just because of him.

Any book that does all that while pulling off things like citing Wheaton's Law within a few pages of quoting Dante (in the original!) needs to be celebrated. Now the wait for book 7 begins. (sigh)
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