Friday, August 17, 2018

Friday Freebie: Mad Boy by Nick Arvin

Congratulations to B. J. Nooth, winner of last week’s Friday Freebie: Northland by Porter Fox.

This week’s giveaway is for one of the very best of the 2018 novels I’ve read so far: Mad Boy by Nick Arvin. Picture a Dickens waif wandering across the Maryland battlefields of the War of 1812 (the one that oh so often gets lost in the shuffle of our nation’s major conflicts). Arvin paints a vivid battle scene (just as he did in Articles of War), and manages to balance the bloodshed with the buoyant spirits that bounce its young protagonist across the pages, dodging the musket-fire. This week, one lucky reader will win a new paperback copy of the novel. Keep scrolling for more information on the book and how to enter the contest.

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.

If you’d like a chance at winning Mad Boy, simply email your name and mailing address to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line. Please include your mailing address in the body of the e-mail. One entry per person, please. Despite its name, the Friday Freebie remains open to entries until midnight on Aug. 23, at which time I’ll draw the winning name. I’ll announce the lucky reader on Aug. 24. If you’d like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week newsletter, simply add the words “Sign me up for the newsletter” in the body of your email. Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning? Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter. Once you’ve done any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying “I’ve shared” and I’ll put your name in the hat twice.

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