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A Curious Matter of Men with Wings

 by F. Rutledge Hammes

THE WALPOLE BROTHERS take their little sister, Dew, out on a johnboat to pirate the waterways for beer and loose change. Dew falls overboard and appears to drown, until two men with gigantic wings swoop down and carry her body away into the sky. The news of her disappearance hits the family hard, driving the mother to fashion wings so she can fly after the men who took her daughter. The Walpole boys set off in search of their little sister and discover love and the truth behind the centuries-old tale of the “Flying Men,” as well as numerous other mysteries native to the South Carolina Sea Islands.

F. Rutledge Hammes

About the Author

As the oldest in a family of ten, stories of family come naturally to F. Rutledge Hammes. His grandparents moved out to the Sea Islands early in their marriage and made friends in the Gullah community, and he grew up enamored by all the stories and folklore he was told as a child. He has long believed that magic is at the heart of Charleston, SC, and so magic must be at the heart of the Charleston novel. Rutledge earned his MFA in fiction from Old Dominion University. He is presently Director of the Creative Writing program at the Charleston County School of the Arts, the most awarded middle- and high-school writing program in the nation, and is the 2019 South Carolina Arts Commission Prose Fellow.


A Curious Matter of Men with Wings is where magic comes to life in a bold story that celebrates the Gullah world of the South Carolina Sea Islands. With lyrical prose, the novel takes us into a hidden realm where life is still enchanted, and storytelling abounds.

Sue Monk Kidd, New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings

Atmospheric, penetrating and imaginative . . . with a story layered in mythology, fairy tales, and Gullah folklore, Hammes enchants. As the mystery of the Flying People unfolds, two cultures come together and show us what we can be at our very best.

Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis and The Bookshop at the Water’s End

In this beautifully written debut novel, master storyteller F. Rutledge Hammes weaves an enchanting tale that’s part fable, part folklore, and all magic.

—Cassandra King, author of The Sunday Wife

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