The third book in the Iron Druid Chronicles series, published July 2011.
Thor, the Norse god of thunder, is worse than a blowhard and a bully - he's ruined countless lives and killed scores of innocents. After centuries, Viking vampire Leif Helgarson is ready to get his vengeance, and he's asked his friend Atticus O'Sullivan, the last of the Druids, to help take down this Norse nightmare.
One survival strategy has worked for Atticus for more than two thousand years: stay away from the guy with the lightning bolts. But things are heating up in Atticus's home base of Tempe, Arizona. There's a vampire turf war brewing, and Russian demon hunters who call themselves the Hammers of God are running rampant. Despite multiple warnings and portents of dire consequences, Atticus and Leif journey to the Norse plain of Asgard, where they team up with a werewolf, a sorcerer, and an army of frost giants for an epic showdown against vicious Valkyries, angry gods, and the hammer-wielding Thunder Thug himself.
Wow, I just finished this book, and WOW! Kevin Hearne is very evil to finish the book like this, and I have no idea how long I’ll have to wait for the next book to find out what happens next. I though I had many more pages to read, and suddenly the book has ended, and there are those horrible “extra’s” to fill the book up.
This third book in the series continues where the previous one ended. Atticus has promised to fetch one of one of Idunn’s Golden Apples from Asgard, as payment of the witch Laksha’s help with the Bacchants. He knows another route, so he doesn’t have to cross the Bifrost Bridge.
As a druid, he can easily shift planes, and he tricks the giant squirrel Ratatosk to take him up to Asgard. Unfortunately, the Norse seers called the Norns know of his arriving (of course!) and they await him to kill Atticus, killing the squirrel instead, and leaving Atticus no choice but to kill the hags.
Of course things are not going smoothly once he is in Asgard, but he does manage to steal one of the apples, but almost back to the World Tree, he is attacked by Odin himself, on his magnificent eight-legged horse Sleipnir and the twelve Valkyries on flying horses. Shape-shifting crumbles the tracking spell on Odin’s spear, so it falls harmless in the snow beside Atticus, who then hurls it back at Odin, killing his horse. And as Odin falls in the snow, and the Valkyries run to his side to help him, Atticus can escape Asgard in the nick of time. He sneakily left notes in Bacchus’ name, hoping to buy some time for himself, to settle his affairs and move with Oberon, his great dog and his apprentice Granuaile to another country to hide. Killing gods makes him way to visible for all the other pantheons and magic users.
And as his next step will be taking Leif up to Asgard, so he can finally fight Thor, after a thousand years, he is not sure he will come back from that adventure. Even Jesus himself warns him of what is to come. That killing Thor will be a very bad thing for the world to happen. But Atticus gave his word to his friend, and he cannot go back on it. So, against al warnings and misgivings, Atticus, Leif, Gunnar and some other people bent on revenge against Thor and the evil things he has done to them, set out for Asgard. The fact that the Norns are no more, should give them a slight advantage. And if they can get the frost giants on their side, and even better one.
This third, and even better, book in the series was very fast paced and action filled. But it is also filled with lots of humor. I loved the reference to Star Trek for instance, and why it never became a religion. Atticus can quote both Shakespeare and the Lolcatz, and often has a funny remark or thought. Of all the secondary characters, I still love Oberon best.
In the previous book, the Virgin Mary appeared, to bless Atticus’ arrows when he went battling a fallen angel. In this book, Jesus himself appears, to drink that beer with Atticus, and warn him from his path. Also performing some small miracles while here. And he helps Atticus out of a great danger, when the Hammers of God and that overzealous Rabbi have found him, and are doing their best to kill him, never mind the hundreds of witnesses around. If you are very religious I do hope you are not offended by the perhaps flippant use of Jesus in this book.
The Morrigan has a small part in this book as well, also warning Atticus from killing Thor, and of the Valkyries, of which some are kind of her friends. After all, they choose the death for Walhalla, the same as she does in her panteon.
I loved this book, and I have gotten very fond of Atticus and his carefree attitude. He tries so hard, but some things are just inevitable if he wants to keep on living himself. He explains some great things to Granuaile about being a Druid, and we learn the history of Leif and Gunnar and some other nice “people” and their hatred for Thor.
If you like some urban fantasy, and your mythology twisted around, where everyone you ever read about is real, you will love this series. Lots of gods and goddesses and creatures, good and evil, lots and lots of humor, male bonding and fighting, no romance though, although there is some sex mentioned (not for Atticus this time).
But the ending of the book, o that ending. It will haunt me for a while, not knowing what is to come.