All who are true creatures will help where they can. As to the hounds, when they hunt—do not run.
The Hounds of the Morrigan is a fantasy novel from 1985, written by Pat O'Shea. It's big, it's whimsical, and it contains more references to Irish Mythology than you can shake a stick at. The very plot itself revolves around the Celtic Goddess of War trying to absorb an ancient demon into her soul so that she becomes unstoppable.Pidge—Patrick, in full, but everyone calls him Pidge—is an ordinary-if-bookish ten-year-old boy living in the Irish countryside with his little sister, father, and aunt. One day, while biking through the city, he stumbles upon an old book shop and finds an ancient tome. On one page is a drawing of a horrible serpent, the very image of which itself fills him with dread. Meanwhile, one of his neighbors rents out his spare greenhouse to a pair of beautiful but sinister women who ride around on motorcycles, who claim to be artists. The two are indeed related: That night, Dagda, the God of all that is good, tells him that the book contains the serpent Olc-Glas, a horrible beast imprisoned there long ago. The two old women are Macha and Bodbh, and are part of the Morrigan—the Goddess of War and Discord and Death herself. They are out looking for the serpent themselves, because, if they add his poison to theirs... Well.Olc-Glas is too powerful to be dissolved by anything but the Morrigan herself. But there is a way: Long ago, the great hero Cuchulain spilled a drop of her blood onto a pebble. If they can find that pebble, with its single drop of blood, they can use it to destroy Olc-Glas. But if The Morrigan finds it first, not only will she stop them from destroying the serpent, she'll get him for herself.The Dagda chooses Pidge and his little sister Brigit to find it, on the grounds that they are brave enough, and clever enough, and alone true enough to do what is right instead of trying to use the serpent's power for themselves. But the Morrigan and her sisters have sent their dastardly hunting hounds after the two siblings, as they brave the world of Celtic myth in search of the stone. Luckily, all creatures good and light are looking out for Pidge and Brigit. But is it enough to keep the hounds away until they can find the pebble and destroy the serpent?Despite its great (almost 700 pages!) size, the book is told in a lyrical fairy-tale style generally geared at children (and anyone who loves a good yarn). It contains Nightmare Fuel and Sweet Dreams Fuel in equal measure, though it remains firmly on the "idealistic" scale of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism.This book contains examples of:
Action Girl: Brigit may only be 5, but she has the heart of a spirited adventurer.
Flower Motifs: Daisies are a recurring theme, because they are the flowers of Angus Og, the God of Love.
Food Porn: In writing, as the world of the spirits is so full of tasty treats you'll want to jump in and take a bite yourself. We have specially-seasoned scrambled eggs, sausages abound, wonderful fruits, and even the Swapping Sweets, which are both yummy and useful.
For the Evulz: All three Morrigan sisters. However, they feed off corpses, so causing as much havoc still does serve them.
Kick the Dog: The main Morrigan shows just how nasty she is when she finds a pair of decades-old friends talking quietly by the fire, and causes a horrible argument leading to a teary breakdown between them just because she enjoys sowing discord.
Oireland: Gets a bit Disney-Oirish in places, begorrah and bejabers.
One-Winged Angel: Subverted. The Morrigan sisters' last action is to turn into an immense, vile, three-headed giant crow... but the fight is already done, and it's only to scream their rage at the children before leaving.
Only Known by Their Nickname: Macha and Bodhb are typically only referred to by their in-story aliases, Melodie Moonlight and Breda Fairfoul.
Sorting Algorithm Of Threatening Geography: Two children living in modern Galway are drawn into the other Ireland of myth and legend. As their quest progresses, the mythological landscape is at first funny, absurd, Disney-Oirish, even, with hints of something deeper beneath. It gradually becomes darker, bleaker, more sinister, as the life-or-death nature of their quest asserts itself, and the final showdown with the forces of Not-Good takes place in a Mordor-like bleak and barren place. It's like going from a leprachaun Hobbiton to a Mordor ruled by the Morrigan.
Talking Animal: Most animals in the other world talk. Even the insects!
Victory Guided Amnesia: Although the Dagda takes away Pidge and Brigit's memories, he favors them after. Cooroo comes back as their friend, though he can no longer talk to them, and Dagda sends them rainbows just for them.
Weirdness Censor: The Seargent attempts to maintain his for quite a while, blaming poteen, before he finally realizes there's nothing he can do.