The Chronicle of Heloise & Grimple, by Sean Gibson
The Chronicle of Heloise & Grimple is a very particular kind of novel.
Specifically, it’s the kind of novel that looks perfectly innocent and adorable sitting there on the shelf, staring up at you with those huge, adoring eyes, until you actually bring it home—at which time it begins eating objects you would have thought entirely incapable of being eaten (not just inedible, mind you, but literally incapable of being eaten), fetching things like boots or garden hoses that you’re reasonably certain have never belonged to you, and engaging in other, similar antics that you really shouldn’t laugh at but you just can’t help yourself because where the hell did it find an unopened gallon of peanut butter and how did it even manage to pick the thing up, let alone carry it back home?
Oh, wait. No, that’s our dog. We got confused for a minute because they’re both so funny, but we’ve got it straightened back out now. (While there are certain aspects of the two, meaning the book and the dog, that might cause you, at least at first blush, to mistake the one for the other, there is a simple yet definitive way to distinguish them, which is that we would never give our dog a 5-star review.)
Don’t judge. You don’t live with him.
Look, never mind. Forget about the dog. Here’s what it is. Imagine that JRR Tolkien and George RR Martin decided to get together and write the Dungeons & Dragons adventure to end all Dungeons & Dragons adventures, painstakingly researching every D&D module ever created and rigorously formulating an intricate plot that will guide three to four intrepid heroes (over the course of a single weekend of dice, ale, and unmitigated what-happens-in-the-dungeon-stays-in-the-dungeon debauchery) through an epic journey that will finally tie the entire D&D universe together into one great and perfect Theory of Everything… only to remember at the last possible moment that JRR Tolkien is dead and that Wizards of the Coast never signed off on the project anyway, making the entire undertaking null and void.
So the studio that already paid for the movie rights (scrambling to salvage whatever it can) ditches the big-name director and the A-list actors and the magnificent sets that all would have cost a fortune, tosses JRR Tolkien’s ghost out on his ear (easier said than done, by the way, but they call Hollywood “the place where the magic happens” for a reason), replaces George RR Martin with Sean Gibson, substitutes a local coffee shop for the tavern scenes, a Walmart for the Castle of Majestic Solitude, and a couple of unidentifiable backlot costumes for the entire CGI department.
Then, in a stroke of genius (brought on by the sheer panic of realizing what he’s up against), Sean Gibson rewrites the entire script overnight, re-pitches it to the studio as a musical farce the next morning, shoots it over the span of a single week (filming the requisite medieval-esque “scene setting” footage by sneaking the entire crew onto the set of The Outpost after dark), and ends up with a cult classic comedy blockbuster that nobody saw coming.
You know, that kind of novel.
From the publisher:
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?”
(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.)
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