A New York Times Bestseller and Goodreads Choice Awards Finalist!
Legendary storyteller Stephen King goes into the deepest well of his imagination in this spellbinding novel about a seventeen-year-old boy who inherits the keys to a parallel world where good and evil are at war, and the stakes could not be higher—for that world or ours.
Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was seven, and grief drove his dad to drink. Charlie learned how to take care of himself—and his dad. When Charlie is seventeen, he meets a dog named Radar and her aging master, Howard Bowditch, a recluse in a big house at the top of a big hill, with a locked shed in the backyard. Sometimes strange sounds emerge from it.
Charlie starts doing jobs for Mr. Bowditch and loses his heart to Radar. Then, when Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie a cassette tape telling a story no one would believe. What Bowditch knows, and has kept secret all his long life, is that inside the shed is a portal to another world.
King’s storytelling in Fairy Tale soars. This is a magnificent and terrifying tale in which good is pitted against overwhelming evil, and a heroic boy—and his dog—must lead the battle.
Early in the Pandemic, King asked himself: “What could you write that would make you happy?”
“As if my imagination had been waiting for the question to be asked, I saw a vast deserted city—deserted but alive. I saw the empty streets, the haunted buildings, a gargoyle head lying overturned in the street. I saw smashed statues (of what I didn’t know, but I eventually found out). I saw a huge, sprawling palace with glass towers so high their tips pierced the clouds. Those images released the story I wanted to tell.”
Praise for Fairy Tale
Praise for Fairy Tale
“Stephen King has all the daring, enchantment and even romance of a classic bedtime story, but King's signature unsettling style will keep you sitting up straight and wide-eyed rather than drifting off to dreamland.”
“You’ll be grateful that there are 600-plus pages of it to remind you several times over how much fun that kind of reading experience is... Good, evil, a kingdom to save, monsters to slay—these are the stuff that page-turners are made from."
—Laura Miller, Slate
“A page-turner driven by memorably strange encounters and well-rendered, often thrilling action.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“An enthralling, adventurous read that will, like any genuine fairy tale, scare you half to death and lift up your heart… A splendid work of world-building.”
—Colette Bancroft, The Tampa Bay Tribune
“Once upon a time, Stephen King dared to write a novel called ‘Fairy Tale’ and totally lived up to that simple but lofty title… The book bursts with creativity… A profound story of good vs. evil that’s timeless and timely… life-affirming… After turning that last page, you’ll feel a little stronger in spirit, yearn for another story and, dare we say, maybe even live happily ever after.”
—Brian Truitt, USA Today
“Lovely… captures the creeping suspense of childhood classics.”
— The Chicago Tribune
“If writing this beautiful, exciting, touching fairy tale did the trick for him, then imagine what it will do for you as a reader.”
—Emily Burnham, Bangor Daily News
“Ambitious, pure, and powerful… One of King's grandest narrative statements, and another must-read book from a master.”
—Matthew Jackson, Syfy Wire