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Extended Audio Sample Champion of the World Audiobook, by Chad Dundas Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Chad Dundas Narrator: Kevin Kenerly Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2016 ISBN: 9781504724920
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A brilliant novel about life—and sport—at the cusp of the modern age.”

    Philipp Meyer, New York Times bestselling author

  • “A riveting novel about hardheaded men, tough women, and even tougher times in Prohibition America…[with] page-turning momentum and thrilling set pieces.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “A well written, engaging tale that reads like a beautiful grappling match between experienced and well-trained athletes…Keeps the reader entranced and curious throughout.”


  • “For its unique content, vivid storytelling, and noteworthy attention to detail, we award Champion of the World five out of five suplexes.”

    Pro Wrestling Illustrated

  • “Great storytelling and dynamic characters… [Dundas] writes exciting action sequences. But his real gift is in making 1920s America and the people who populate it come vibrantly alive.”

    Fort Worth Star-Telegram

  • “Kevin Kenerly narrates Dundas’ stunning debut novel superbly, bringing to life a story that engages the listener from its opening moments to its conclusion…His performance complements Dundas’ 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. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • “Dundas puts together a tightly woven piece of storytelling punctuated by some intriguing close-ups of wrestling when it was taken seriously.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Rambunctious, page-turning…Dundas draws evocatively on the rich history of boxing in fiction and film…but layers the familiar archetypes with the fascinating history of ‘scientific wrestling.’”


  • A BookRiot Pick for July 2016
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A 2016 Boston Globe Best Books of the Year Selection
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About the Author

Chad Dundas earned his MFA from the University of Montana, and his short fiction has appeared in the Beloit Fiction Journal, Sycamore Review, Sou’wester, and Thuglit. Since 2001 he has worked as a sportswriter for national outlets including ESPN, NBC Sports, Sporting News, Bleacher Report, and the Associated Press, as well as for local and regional newspapers. A fourth-generation Montanan, he lives with his family in Missoula.

About the Narrator

Kevin Kenerly is an AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator and earned a BA at Olivet College. A longtime member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, he has acted in fifteen seasons, playing dozens of roles.