Mad Boy -- set in the War of 1812 -- is a rollicking adventure that often veers into the surreal. Ten-year-old Henry Phipps’ mother has died, and he aims to fulfill her wish to be buried at sea, surrounded by family. He is also determined to scrape up the funds to free his father from debtor’s prison and to find out whether his brother Franklin has truly been shot for desertion from the American army. There are crazy characters aplenty, exciting battle scenes and wild humor that will have you excitedly turning pages to find out all it all ends.— From Mark B.
WINNER Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction 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.