Short Fiction Friday: The Chapel Perilous

The Chapel Perilous by Kevin Hearne, The Iron Druid Chronicles #4.6

Ancient Druid Atticus O’Sullivan has had plenty of adventures during his long life, and in “The Chapel Perilous” he shares one of them with his apprentice, Granuaile. He lays out the true story of the quest for the Holy Grail, in which he was personally involved—and the events of which are quite different from the Christian tale most people know today.

While on an errand for Ogma to recover the Dagda’s Cauldron, Atticus confronts evil at a mysterious chapel, takes the first steps to becoming the Iron Druid, and learns the shocking truth about goblin fashion choices.

He was, of course, in terrible peril.

Originally published in 2013 in the Unfettered anthology edited by Shawn Speakman, now offered singly with cover art by Galen Dara.


I already had the first three books of Kevin Hearne's The Iron Druid Chronicles lying around for a time now last january I read the first book in the series, Hounded, and was pleasantly surprised. Kevin Hearne deserves all the praise he could get for this first book. It is unique, fresh and just plain awesome cool. I plan to read the other books as well but with so many books still awaiting a review I luckily found some consolation in The Chapel Perilous a short story set in The Iron Druid Chronicles, though somewhat later in the series then where I am currently. 

The story of The Chapel Perilous pick up with Atticus, Granuaile and Oberon around a campfire and Oberon asks Atticus to share one of his past stories with him. So Atticus opts to tell the story about his search for the Holy Grail. Yes, Atticus was involved in it, even if he wasn't a Knight of the Round Table or friends with either King Arthur or Lancelot, it's is their version that is made up. Anyway. Atticus was asked by his friend Ogma of the Tuatha De Danann to retrieve, well steal back, Dagda's cauldron (Now just out of curiosity I googled these two, Dagda is best known as the All-father and Ogma is one of his siblings). Atticus also explains that the Tuatha De Danann prefer to not get into harms way but have others do their business for them. It soon becomes clear that Atticus isn't the first Druid that was asked to retrieve the cauldron, when he further asks what he gets, it is gratitude. Actually gratitude upon gratitude as apparently Atticus also did a job in Egypt for Ogma. So asking for a horse and equipment Atticus sets out to retrieve the cauldron. After becoming acquainted with his horse, Apple Jack, he named himself this way because he likes apples (I forgot to mention, Druid can talk with animals). Now the events that follow are events that set the story in motion, the title of the story has the name perilous in it and this is precisely what this journey is for Atticus. He comes across Chapel where he stumbles on murdred druid and the risen dead, luckily with his trusty sword, Fragarach, the Answerer, his kick ass sword he is easy to dispel these threats, but they left him shock to a certain degree. Finally Atticus hears more about the cauldron and it is soon located, in the hand of the Fisher King, who is more than a mortal man... and this is were I leave you, the ending is for you to find out. 

I liked the whole story of The Chapel Perilous, from what I so far have read (yes that one book) the setting of the story and how Atticus and Oberon are are nicely captured. There is a certain degree of seriousness but also humor mixed in to create a very nice balance to the story. And not to be missed is the Irish references to gods and other things that are not thrown in but I think very carefully researched and placed at crucial points that create a very lively and rich atmosphere. Definitely a winner and it just reminded me that I have to pick up the second book asap.

The Chaper Perilous can, I think, also be enjoyed if you don't know anything about the rest of the story. It's a lot of fun to read!

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