In Besieged, Kevin Hearne has collected nine short stories that take place at different times in his popular IRON DRUID CHRONICLES saga. On his website, Hearne labels Besieged as book #8.5 in the series while GoodReads amusingly lists it as #4.1, #4.2, #4.6, #4.7, #8.1, and #8.6. I’d recommend reading Besieged after Staked (novel #8) or, better yet, use it as a companion collection as you read through the series. That way you could read each of the stories in Besieged in their proper timeline…
But it doesn’t matter that much. In fact, probably even a newcomer to the series would be fine to start here. The stories you’ll find in Besieged are:
- “The Eye of Horus” ̶ Takes place between Tricked and Two Ravens and One Crow. After a hard day of training, Granuaile asks Atticus to tell her about the old days, so he relates this Indiana Jones-style story about how he saved some scrolls from the Library of Alexandria before it burned.
- “Goddess at the Crossroads” ̶ Takes place between Tricked and Two Ravens and One Crow. Atticus tells a star-struck Granuaile how he met William Shakespeare and influenced the writing of “Macbeth.” The best part of this story is listening to a drunken Shakespeare insult and curse some brigands. Kevin Hearne has so much fun with this.
- “The Demon Barker of Wheat Street” ̶ Takes place six years after Tricked and two weeks after Two Ravens and One Crow. This is an expanded and re-vamped version of this little horror story which I previously reviewed. It’s nice to have Luke Daniels narrating this one, so it’s now my preferred version. I really like this one for its carnival creepiness.
- “Gold Dust Druid” ̶ Takes place after “The Demon Barker of Wheat Street.” During the gold rush, a summoned demon gets loose in San Francisco and Atticus has to stop it. As Atticus tells this story to Granuaile and Oberon (his canine sidekick), it’s funny that Oberon keeps threatening to give the story one star and also complains about unfair one-star reviews of books on review sites.
- “The Bogeyman of Boora Bog” ̶ Takes place after Staked and before The Purloined Poodle. In this gruesome story, narrated by Owen, we finally hear Atticus’s origin story and learn how he became his Owen’s apprentice. We learn a lot about both druids.
- “Cuddle Dungeon” ̶ Takes place after Staked. In this raunchy adults-only story, Perun the Slavic Thunder god cluelessly accompanies Flidais to a BDSM playground. You absolutely must hear Luke Daniels narrate this. It is absolutely hilarious.
- “Blood Pudding” ̶ Takes place after Staked and The Purloined Poodle. Granuaile is spending time with the Polish witches when the vampires come looking for her. She kicks ass, of course.
- “Haunted Devils” ̶ Takes place after Staked and The Purloined Poodle. Owen and his young apprentices work with Atticus and Oberon to save Tasmanian Devils from a genetic mutation that is putting the species at risk of extinction.
- “The End of Idylls” ̶ Takes place after Staked and The Purloined Poodle. The Morrigan warns Atticus that Ragnarok is imminent. This prompts Atticus to tell Oberon about the wolverine, the animal that Atticus was bonded to the longest before Oberon. I liked wolverine and hope we’ll get some more stories about him in the future. This last story sets up the next and final (!) IDC novel, Scourged, which is scheduled for release in April 2018.
Most readers who have this book on their radar are already fans of the IDC series, so there’s not much more that I need to say other than these are fun well-crafted stories that flesh out Atticus’ history and world. You’ll definitely want to read them.
For the few (if any) people who are reading this review (probably only my editor, actually) who haven’t started this series, I can assure you that it’s great fun and that the audiobooks, produced by Penguin Random House Audio, are exceptional. Luke Daniels is the perfect narrator for this series and I especially love his portrayals of Oberon and Perun. If you are an audio reader, you must try these and, if you’re not an audio reader, this series could be the one that converts you. Besieged is 8.75 hours long in audio format.