The Fantasy Novel That Would Make The Perfect Streaming Series

By Jonathan Klotz | Updated

Kings of the Wyld by Nicolas Eames

While Hollywood is busy rebooting and remaking the same franchises, including a new Harry Potter series that promises to be closer to the books, there’s a whole world of new fantasy books out there waiting to be noticed. For anyone bored of the same plot about a “young chosen one stumbles through the world and ultimately vanishes the Big Bad Evil Guy,” we present something completely different. Kings of the Wyld by Nicolas Eames is what happens when old-school rock and roll meets a fantasy world.

Kings of the Wyld is rock and roll meets sword and sorcery, and it’s the best fantasy book you’ve never read.

Published in 2017, Kings of the Wyld is the first book in a series called The Band, and amazingly, it was Nicolas Eames’s debut novel. Nominated for multiple awards, including Goodreads’ Best Fantasy Book of 2017, the story of a band of grizzled mercenaries coming back together for a personal mission is a breath of fresh air in the standard swords and sorcery genre.

In a world where mercenary bands are treated like rock stars, Saga is the equivalent of the Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin since they’ve all been retired for years at the start of Kings of the Wyld. Clay “Slowhand” Cooper, now living a quiet life as a town watchman, gets wrapped back up in the world of beasts and legends when his best friend, “Golden” Gabe, Saga’s leader and the equivalent of a band’s frontman, shows up for one last mission. Gabe’s daughter, Rose, and her band are trapped in a city about to be attacked by a horde of monsters, and Saga needs to save her.

Stuffed full of rock references, Kings of the Wyld is Ready Player One for the Ozzfest demographic.

Kings of the Wyld then gets the band back together, with Clay and Gabe finding their old mage, Moog (essentially the keyboardist), and then Saga’s rogue, Matrrick (the drummer equivalent), who is surprisingly now the King of Agria. Older and heavier, everyone is shocked to learn Matrrick is a good king, but he’s banned from leaving the castle by his wife, scared he’ll father an heir without her. Saga’s solution? Fake his death.

Kings of the Wyld

Not only is the heroic ensemble at the heart of Kings of the Wyld a group of memorable characters, but there’s no chosen one, a not-quite world-ending threat (the Heartwyld Horde is dangerous, but like, Voldemort or anything), and enough rock and roll references that it can feel like Ready Player One for the Ozzfest crowd. That’s completely intentional, and Nicolas Eames even pointed out all the references in a hilarious Reddit post.

Kings of the Wyld is even filled with iconic moments that would look absolutely amazing in a streaming series with even half the budget of Game of Thrones or Rings of Power. When Saga sets sail in a skyship fleeing the city, it’s easy to picture it accompanied by Pink Floyd’s Learning to Fly, especially since, again, Nicolas Eames has embraced his inspiration, and there’s an official Spotify playlist for the novel.

Saga even comes across gatherings of mercenary bands similar to a rock festival, and if you don’t think that would look and sound amazing on screen, remember how excited Game of Thrones fans were for the Kingsmoot. Now, make it bigger. And louder.

The sequel to Kings of the Wyld, Bloody Rose, is closer to grunge and manages to go bigger, louder, and darker than the first book.

When Kings of the Wyld turns out to be a hit, there’s a sequel series ready to go: Bloody Rose. Set years after the first book, the sequel follows Rose’s band of mercenaries in a story that somehow manages to outdo the original in every way. Just as rock and roll gave way to the grunge era, Saga’s replacement, Fable, is filled with darker, more complicated characters, but that doesn’t make it any less raucous.

A third novel is in the works and is expected to be released next year. In 2019, Nicolas Eames revealed on X (then Twitter) that he had sold the television and film rights to The Band series to an undisclosed buyer. Since then, there’s been no news, but we remain hopeful that Amazon will one day realize the real money isn’t with Lord of the Rings or The Wheel of Time but Kings of the Wyld.