The Chronicle of Eloise and Grimple by Sean Gibson

A bard walks in on a dark elf dealing cards to a beholder, a mind flayer, a demon, a grouchy-looking wizard, and what is either a vampire or a really pale guy with an unfortunate widow’s peak….

The set-up for a bad joke? Nope (well, maybe that, too)—just a typical day at the office for adventuring partners Heloise, Erithea’s most beautiful, witty, talented, and occasionally prone to talking in the third-person half-elven bard, and her powerful hill giant companion, Grimple, who doesn’t look like a hill giant anymore because he made the mistake of crossing a lich and getting illusioned (yes, it’s a word…or, at least, we’re going to pretend it’s one) into something even more ridiculous. (Grimple is kind of an idiot.)

It turns out that getting adventuring work when your hill giant companion looks like a sickly gnome (despite retaining his giant strength) isn’t easy, so what’s a beautiful, witty, and talented half-elven bard to do? The answer, of course, is obvious: set off on a quest, idiotic hill giant partner in tow, to confront the lich who transformed him in the first place, and look really good doing it. Along the way, chances are good that adventures will be had, wrongs will be righted, songs will be sung, monsters will be smited, treasure will be won, and, perhaps, love will be made to burly dwarves (or, more accurately, dwarf, singular—I’m not really a party girl).

Part parody, part homage, and all woman, The Chronicle of Heloise & Grimple lampoons the greatest fantasy adventures of yore even as it upholds the very best traditions of the genre (and, I might add, looks really good doing it).

But, don’t take my word for it—here’s what people across Erithea are saying about The Chronicle of Heloise & Grimple:

“The Chronicle of Heloise & Grimple is one of the greatest sagas ever set to music by one of the, um, wait—what did you want me to say here? I can’t read your handwriting. ‘One of the most talented, beautiful and sweet’—does that say ‘sweet-canned’? Seriously? Because I’m not saying that. Wait—why don’t I get title credit, too? If it weren’t for me, you and Grimple would never have…hey! Hey! Ow! Put your dagger away, Heloise! Fine—I’ll say it! It’s great. Geez. Just read it, all right?”
–Kevil, Wizard

“Heloise is all right for an ugly elf. And she’s very good at stabbing things.”
–Tongclutcher Kilnfire, Dwarf, Master Weaponsmith of Dormenklehs

“Urk kunk grummh nuk kur grubble knuck.”
–High Chieftain Gnurk Blurglesplick of the Grandorian Orc Tribe (okay, so not all of these testimonials are complimentary, but, hey—I can’t be held accountable for what spurned lovers say about me or my work)

“That Heloise is a genius, and she has one heck of a sweet can. And, boy, can she sing.”
–Heloise the Bard

(All proceeds from the first 150 copies sold of The Chronicle of Heloise & Grimple will be donated to ProLiteracy (www.proliteracy.org), an organization that promotes adult literacy through content development, programs, and advocacy.)

Amazon | goodreads


My Review

The Chronicle of Heloise and Grimple was originally a web serial with a ‘choose your own adventure’ section at the end of each episode. These choices have been left in at the end of each chapter and I found it interesting to read the choices and then see what the readers presumably had chosen.

Sean Gibson writes hilarious comedic fantasy starring Heloise the Bard as the first person point of view main character. This short novella was written in advance of the novel The Part About the Dragon was (Mostly) True which I read and thoroughly enjoyed last year (review here), but it was good to see that Heloise was just as egotistical, lusty and self confident in this web serial as she ended up in the novel. Her companion Grimple is a hill giant who has unfortunately been enchanted to look like a sickly gnome and to have lost his voice.

Heloise is not too upset about his new quiet persona since:

“his voice sounded a little bit like a rockslide dribbling out of a vomiting frog.”

But she would prefer it if he could get back his intimidating appearance, which has its uses, so the two embark on an adventure to find the Lich who placed an enchantment on Grimple following a poker game.

The writing in this novella is sharp and witty and had me laughing on many occasions at the double entendres employed by Heloise and the crazy situations she finds herself in. As Gibson states at the end of the book via his mouthpiece, Heloise, he doesn’t tell crappy stories.

Highly recommended!


About the Author

Sean Gibson, “author” and slackonteur, is not a professional mini biography writer (if he were, this would be much more compelling). Instead, he’s a business professional by day, hangs out with his amazing wife, son, and daughter by night, and writes somewhere in between. He holds a BA in English Literature from Ohio Wesleyan University and an MBA from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, though rumors persist that he also attended mime school (he is silent on the subject). Sean is a fan of sports teams from Detroit, a distressingly large number of bands that rose to prominence in the 1980s, and writing in the third person. He currently resides in Northern Virginia, and, given how much he hates moving, and given that his house has an awesome library, is likely to remain there for some time.

Sean is the author of several stories starring Heloise the Bard, including the #1 bestseller The Part About the Dragon Was (Mostly) True (which Publishers Weekly drunkenly gave a starred review), “You Just Can’t Hide from Chriskahzaa,” and The Chronicle of Heloise & Grimple. He also wrote the Victorian-set fantasy thriller The Camelot Shadow and its prequel short, “The Strange Task Before Me.” Most recently, he contributed the short story “Chasing the Dragon” to the anthology Dragons of a Different Tail. He has also written extensively for Kirkus Reviews, and his book reviews have also appeared in Esquire.

You can follow him on Twitter at @Gibknight, but is that really how you want to spend your precious years of life?

6 thoughts on “The Chronicle of Eloise and Grimple by Sean Gibson

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