The Kings and Queens of Roam

By Daniel Wallace
(Touchstone, Hardcover, 9781476703978, 288pp.)

Publication Date: May 7, 2013

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback, Hardcover, Compact Disc, MP3 CD

Shop Local
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.


Selected by Indie Booksellers for the May 2013 Indie Next List
“Daniel Wallace is a craftsman of the modern fairy tale and The Kings and Queens of Roam does not disappoint. The story follows the insular lives of two sisters—one blind and beautiful, the other able to see, but ugly—as they press against the edges of their small town. Orphaned, the two sisters must rely on each other to survive, but their faults begin to overshadow their virtues as they grow older. As with Big Fish and Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician, Daniel Wallace explores the nature of truth—it is not what is seen but what is believed.”
-- Adie Smith, Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson, MS


From the celebrated author of Big Fish comes an imaginative, moving novel about two sisters, their dark legacy, and the magical town that entwines them.

Helen and Rachel McCallister, who live in a town called Roam, are as different as sisters can be: Helen, older, bitter, and conniving; Rachel, beautiful, naïve—and blind. When their parents die suddenly, Rachel has to rely on Helen for everything, but Helen embraces her role in all the wrong ways, convincing Rachel that the world is a dark and dangerous place she couldn’t possibly survive on her own . . . or so Helen believes, until Rachel makes a surprising choice that turns both their worlds upside down. In this new novel, Southern literary master Daniel Wallace returns to the tradition of tall tales and folklore made memorable in his bestselling novel Big Fish. Wildly inventive and beautifully written, The Kings and Queens of Roam i s a big-hearted tale of family and the ties that bind.

About the Author

Daniel Wallace is the author of five novels. His first, Big Fish, was made into a motion picture of the same name by Tim Burton in 2003, and a musical version is coming to Broadway in 2013Wallace’s work has been translated into more than twenty-five languages and is studied in high schools and universities across the country. He is a contributing editor to Garden & Gun magazine and is the J. Ross MacDonald Distinguished Professor of English at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he teaches and directs the Creative Writing Program. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with his wife, Laura Kellison Wallace. Visit his website at

Praise For The Kings and Queens of Roam

?eoeA fanciful story layered in symbolism and ripe with lyrical language.?e

?eoeAn imaginative, sentimental modern-day tall tale . . . Wallace?e(TM)s far-fetched, rollicking yarn, written in the vein of Manly Wade Wellman and Fred Chappell, consistently engages the reader.?e

?eoeDaniel Wallace is one of our most masterful storytellers and his latest creation, The Kings and Queens of Roam, is brimming with his brilliant visions and wise observations about life. Part fairytale, part myth and legend, the city of Roam and her inhabitants--both living and dead--materialize in ways that are equal parts comedy and tragedy. At the heart of it all are two sisters: Rachel and Helen, the twists and turns of their relationship leading the reader on a journey that ultimately is a moral tale--one of grief and forgiveness and the meaning of love.?e
-Jill McCorkle, author of Life After Life

?eoeFull of adventure, ghosts, steam-punk industrialists, silk-traders, wild dogs, and mysterious lumberjacks, Daniel Wallace?e(TM)s The Kings and Queens of Roam is touched with both magic and whimsy. I paused just as often to savor the beauty of Wallace?e(TM)s sentences as I did to wipe away tears at his characters?e(TM) predicaments. An epic and modern fairy tale of sisters and friendship, The Kings and Queens of Roam is about the lies we tell, to ourselves and to each other, and how those stories go on to shape the world around us.?e
-Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief

?eoeThere is much magic in Daniel Wallace's superb new novel--curses, caves, even a haunted wood--but the most impressive magic is Wallace's understanding of the human heart's depths and vagaries. The Kings and Queens of Roam is a fairy tale for adults.?e
-Ron Rash, author of Nothing Gold Can Stay

?eoeReading?The Kings and Queens of Roam?is like living, for a few hundred pages, in another world: beautiful, epic, tragic, and ultimately redemptive. In Roam Daniel Wallace has created his own Macondo. This is his best novel yet.?e
-Wesley Stace, author of?Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer

?eoeWallace?e(TM)s eerie fairy tale for grown-ups is a melancholy yet enchanting pastiche of love, loss, redemption, and revenge.?e

?eoeMasterful . . . Wallace gives nothing short of a bravura performance in the art of storytelling. . . . Balances the primary goal of storytelling with the underlying one of providing inspiration and insight, and he achieves both aims spectacularly. . . . [A] complex and gratifying yarn.?e

"A tall-tale jaunt . . . A whimsical, tender tale about friendship, trust and the price of second chances."

?eoeWallace has returned to many of the . . . techniques of Big Fish. . . . We are in the land of the tall tale, the fable, fantasy and fairy tale?e"and not the tooth fairy kind where there is no down side, just the delivery of a silver coin in the night, but the Brothers Grimm variety, laced with darkness, anxiety, bad behavior, guilt, envy, and pain.?e

?eoeFrom the first line of Daniel Wallace?e(TM)s new novel The Kings and Queens of Roam, it?e(TM)s clear a sweeping story is about to unfold. . . . Wallace ensures that forgiveness and redemption are part of the balance in this richly imagined world.?e

?eoeDo you remember Big Fish, the wonderful novel by Daniel Wallace and the movie it inspired? They made us suspend disbelief and go into a magical world of stories and characters. Wallace has done it again in his latest novel, The Kings and Queens of Roam, which is full of the magic he uses to draw us into his worlds of imagination.?e

?eoeWallace has imagined yet another extraordinary fantasy world filled with odd and colorful souls?e"both living and dead, tragic and comic.?e

?eoeDarkly funny and wildly inventive . . . There?e(TM)s a wealth of enchantment here?e"curses, an evil sister, a miraculous spring, teetotaling ghosts, and, most importantly, the transformative magic of loss."

?eoeWallace illustrates the power words have to make worlds, both in the tragic whimsy of the world his words create and in the sad, scary world one character builds for another.?e

?eoeA fabled book much like Wallace's debut novel, Big Fish.?e

Indie Bookstore Finder
EBbooks and EReaders
Find great gifts: Signed books
Link to IndieBound

Update Profile