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Publisher's Summary

In this stunning historical fiction debut set in the world of wrestling in the early 1920s, a husband and wife are set adrift in a place where everyone has something to hide and not even the fights can be taken at face value.

Late summer, 1921. Disgraced former lightweight champion Pepper Van Dean has spent the past two years on the carnival circuit performing the dangerous "hangman's drop" and taking on all comers in nightly challenge bouts. But when he and his cardsharp wife, Moira, are marooned in the wilds of Oregon, Pepper accepts an offer to return to the world of wrestling as a trainer for Garfield Taft, a down-and-out African American heavyweight contender in search of a comeback and a shot at the world title.

At the training camp in rural Montana, Pepper and Moira soon realize that nothing is what it seems: not Taft, not the upcoming match, not even the training facility itself. With nowhere to go and no options left, Pepper and Moira must carefully navigate a world of gangsters, bootlegging, and fixed competitions in the hope that they can carve out a viable future.

A story of second chances and a sport at the cusp of major change, Champion of the World is a wonderful historical debut from an outstanding new talent in fiction.

©2016 Chad Dundas (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Kevin Kenerly narrates Dundas's stunning debut novel superbly, bringing to life a story that engages the listener from its opening moments to its conclusion.... Whether Kenerly is describing the pace of a match or focusing on more personal moments, his performance complements Dundas's memorable narrative and dialogue. While many listeners will relish the vivid training scenes, others will enjoy exploring the seedy underworld of professional wrestling, reveling in Kenerly's performance." (AudioFile)  

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful story that keeps you on your toes

What a great story. Just when I thought I knew what was going on another twist. The story of pepper and his wife and how their lives are entangled with gangster, promoters, and others is great even if you're not into wrestling.I look forward to more books by this author.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent book!

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I even got that bittersweet feeling as I neared the end, knowing the story would soon be over.
You don't need to be a wrestling connoisseur or sports fan to enjoy this book. Highly recommend!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Entertaining historical fiction!

This book is well written and enjoyable for any audience. I expected to enjoy it based on a love of the martial arts, and an appreciation for the art of wrestling.
Within the first chapter however I realized this is much more then a story filled with well described wrestling matches. The story is engrossing, and the gritty underworld connection of the world of bootlegging and mob related fixing is extremely enjoyable and keeps you guessing!
This will be an engaging read/listen for all audiences and I personally am looking forward to a sequel, get on it old man Dundas!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great book

I fully enjoyed this book! I'm not a wrestling fan at all but enjoyed the history of it. The characters were so believable I felt I knew them!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Rich prose and gripping storytelling

Vivid description and compelling characters fuel this gritty tale. One finds oneself rooting for Pepper Van Dean and the Jack Johnson-inspired wrestler Garfield Taft. References to historical figures like Martin "Farmer" Burns and Frank Gotch and carefully researched references to food of the day, Prohibition and carnival culture anchor its fascinating historical flavor. Chad Dundas takes advantage of his career covering mixed martial arts as a journalist to offer lucid and realistic play-by-play of the wrestling and fighting scenes, which I really appreciated. Along with some surprising twists and turns, the characters are fleshed out in flashbacks that are paced well, offering just enough information to keep the story moving. Excellent, excellent read. I would have preferred print but the reader does a fairly excellent job establishing a voice for most characters- some lines just would have sounded different in my head. I finished it in about a week.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Awesome study of the mind of an athlete!

Great story! Really gets into the mind of an elite athlete. Knowing wrestling is not required.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A wonderful story

It is a great story of a particular catch wrestler during the Prohibition era. It touches on immigration and race as well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Champion if the books!

Chad Dundas is the greatest American author the world has ever know. He got there by cheating and he stayed there by cheating even harder. Seriously though, this is a wildly entertaining book. The character development is masterful, you will find yourself attached the characters as they grow throughout the novel. As good a read as it is a listen.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Tb
  • 01-02-18

loved it

the author does a really good job of telling the story from a large number of well developed and specific characters. I've always been a fan of his use of hard-boiled Hardscrabble language and he deploys it here to really great effect. the twists and turns are strong you get clenched up in a few places you really don't know what's going to happen and it's exciting. it more stops than ends and while that can be seen as a bit of a drawback I kind of want a sequel