Back Roads Kingdom: Book One of the Back Roads Cycle

Christian O'Neill

Penny Lazarus has spent her entire life wishing she could escape from the real world. Through it all, she had exactly one friend - her sister, Dana - and now Dana's dead, drowned in the distant Pacific under mysterious circumstances. But she left something behind, meant only for her sister's eyes: a surreal teen-road-trip screenplay, BACK ROADS TO VEGAS. Penny sets out into the wilds of West Virginia to make her sister's movie...and winds up taking an unplanned detour, straight off I-64 and into a madcap alternate America.

Here, in the hidden country known as the Back Roads, every individual's deepest desire emerges as a powerful supernatural ability. In Penny's case, that means she's a Veil, capable of turning herself invisible, intangible, ghost-like. Stranger yet, this is a place Dana somehow knew about. That bizarro screenplay? A veiled code, Penny soon realizes, embedded with clues leading deeper into the unknown. The only problem is that nearly everything in the Back Country is trying to kill her and/or drag her soul away to netherworldly depths.

Like the man-eating mosquitoes. And the gangs of slave-trading cyborg bikers, and the soul-devouring tree haunted by its long-dead victims, and the snake-handling zealot who's mesmerized his flock into following him to the depths of Hell. Also, Death himself, who turns out to be kind of a jerk in real life.

She's got help, too, for whatever it's worth: a fierce mountain-woman werewolf and a guitar-slinging thief who slowly but surely ensnares Penny's heart, entirely against her better instincts.

What she hoped to find was the truth behind her sister's fate. But what awaits her at the end of the road is something even bigger - the dark secret of her own world-shattering destiny.

BACK ROADS KINGDOM is the first volume in a thrilling new American fantasy saga that weaves together Appalachian folktales, urban legends and paranormal lore into a dark and bizarrely comic coal punk epic.
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About the author

Christian O'Neill is a writer/director/other living in New York City with his wife Leah, a librarian who is also the Empress of Desserts, she says, because of something called "Swarm," and his 5-year old son Asher, who knows one karate move and uses it often, regardless of what mood he's in. He studied ancient history at Providence College in the hopes of becoming actual Indiana Jones, and then went on to earn master's degrees in Theater Education from Emerson College and Directing from Brooklyn College. He now knows more about theater than Indiana Jones did. He works by day as a social worker in the NYC foster care system, because he saw Les Miserables when he was 14 and it stuck with him. BACK ROADS KINGDOM, his first novel, is the culmination of decades of telling people that he would someday write a novel. For so, so much more information, please visit

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Additional Information

Christian O'Neill
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Published on
Mar 8, 2015
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Fiction / Fantasy / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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