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Cover for The Kings and Queens of Roam

The Kings and Queens of Roam

A Novel

Daniel Wallace


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Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (5/6/2013)
Hardcover, Large Print (8/1/2013)


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 is a big-hearted tale of family and the ties that bind.

Praise For The Kings and Queens of Roam: A Novel

“Darkly funny and wildly inventive . . . There’s a wealth of enchantment here.”
— The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Masterful . . . [A] complex and gratifying yarn . . . If ‘Life is about making worlds,’ as one of his characters says . . . Wallace is truly alive in having made this one.”
— Indy Week

“Do 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.”
— Richmond County Daily Journal

“From the first line of Daniel Wallace’s new novel The Kings and Queens of Roam, it’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.”
— Asheville Citizen-Times

“Wallace has imagined yet another extraordinary fantasy world filled with odd and colorful souls—both living and dead, tragic and comic.”
— Birmingham News

“Wallace 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.”
— Jackson Free Press

“A fabled book much like Wallace's debut novel, Big Fish.”
— Memphis Flyer

“Wallace 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—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.”
— Alabama Public Radio

“A tall-tale jaunt . . . A whimsical, tender tale about friendship, trust and the price of second chances.”
— BookPage

“Wallace’s eerie fairy tale for grown-ups is a melancholy yet enchanting pastiche of love, loss, redemption, and revenge.”
— Booklist (starred review)

“An imaginative, sentimental modern-day tall tale . . . Wallace’s far-fetched, rollicking yarn, written in the vein of Manly Wade Wellman and Fred Chappell, consistently engages the reader.”
— Publishers Weekly

“A fanciful story layered in symbolism and ripe with lyrical language.”
— Kirkus Reviews

“Daniel 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.”
— Jill McCorkle, author of Life After Life

“Full of adventure, ghosts, steam-punk industrialists, silk-traders, wild dogs, and mysterious lumberjacks, Daniel Wallace’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’s sentences as I did to wipe away tears at his characters’ 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.”
— Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief

“There 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.”
— Ron Rash, author of Nothing Gold Can Stay

“Reading 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.”
— Wesley Stace, author of Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer

Gallery Books, 9781476703985, 304pp.

Publication Date: July 8, 2014

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 on Broadway in 2013. 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. Visit his website at