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Mad Boy: Book summary and reviews of Mad Boy by Nick Arvin

Mad Boy

by Nick Arvin

Mad Boy by Nick Arvin X
Mad Boy by Nick Arvin
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Book Summary

Mad Boy is a rollicking, picaresque novel about family and perseverance set during America's "forgotten war" of 1812.

Young Henry Phipps is on a quest to realize his dying mother's last wish: to be buried at sea, surrounded by her family. Not an easy task considering Henry's ne'er-do-well father is in debtor's prison and his comically earnest older brother is busy fighting the red coats on the battlefields of Maryland. But Henry's stubborn determination knows no bounds. As he dodges the cannon fire of clashing armies and picks among the ruins of a burning capital he meets looters, British defectors, renegade slaves, a pregnant maiden in distress, and scoundrels of all types. Mad Boy is at once an antic adventure and a thoroughly convincing work of historical fiction that recreates a young nation's first truly international conflict and a key moment in the history of the emancipation of African-American slaves.

Entertaining, atmospheric, and touching, Mad Boy will transport readers with its cast of vivid characters, its masterful storytelling, and its poignant tale of a young man burdened by an outsized undertaking.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A wartime coming-of-age story filled with nonstop action and genuine pathos." - Kirkus

"The colorful characters make this account of the War of 1812 a rollicking page-turner." - Publishers Weekly

"Arvin's unusual tale brings warmth to the otherwise horrific drama of wartime." - Booklist

"This brilliant musket blast of a novel–in which the lucky reader will encounter falling cows, repurposed pickle barrels, fascinating schemes and fabulous schemers–is alive with humor, heat and heart. Mad Boy is a tremendous accomplishment. Nick Arvin is the real thing." - Laird Hunt, author of Neverhome

"Humane and brutal but never false, Nick Arvin delivers an illuminating critique of American history and myth." - Mario Acevedo, author of The Nymphos of Rocky Flats

"Arvin masters his epic story of devastation, conflict, love, and family loyalty, all without a splinter of sentimentality. Mad Boy is a feat of magic." - Erika Krouse, author of Contenders and Come Up and See Me Sometime

This information about Mad Boy was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Nick Arvin

Nick Arvin's first novel, Articles of War, was named one of the best books of the year by Esquire, Detroit Free Press, Rocky Mountain News, and The Independent. It won the Rosenthal Foundation Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Boyd Award, and was selected for the One Book, One Denver reading program. His second novel, The Reconstructionist, was described as "thrilling and soulful" by David Wroblewski and was selected by Amazon as a Best Book of the Month. Arvin's fiction has appeared in The New Yorker and numerous other periodicals. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop. He lives in Denver.

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