Dark times have fallen on remote Balrog County, and Mack Druneswald, a high school senior with a love of clandestine arson, is doing his best to deal. While his family is haunted by his mother’s recent death, Mack spends his nights roaming the countryside, looking for something new to burn. When he encounters Katrina, a college girl with her own baggage, Mack sets out on a path of pyromania the likes of which sleepy Balrog County has never seen before.
A darkly comic tour-de-force, The Firebug of Balrog County is about legend, small towns, and the fire that binds.
The Firebug of Balrog County is a finalist for a 2016 Minnesota Book Award!
Check out the MPR Feature on The Firebug of Balrog County
Praise for The Firebug of Balrog County
“David Oppegaard’s The Firebug of Balrog County kept me up all night. I liked Mack, the firebug, so much, I wanted to save him myself. I wanted to climb in the story and call the cops.”
—Geoff Herbach, author of Stupid Fast
“The Firebug of Balrog County burns hot and fast, gazing into the heart of a tragic moment and the odd ways in which we confront it. Mack is a marvelous narrator, full of humor and self-awareness and insight despite his many flaws. He inhabits the weirdly insular world we all did as teenagers, and even if we didn’t all turn arsonist, there’s plenty to identify with.” -San Francisco Book Review
“Oppegaard creates a believable portrayal of the different ways that loss affects a family, with small decisions building into far-reaching consequences…A well-realized setting and Oppegaard’s resistance to tidily resolving the story’s conflicts both contribute to the novel’s solid sense of realism.” -Publishers Weekly
“The main character is a wholly likable, though tortured malefactor, and readers will root for the success and escape of the firebug as much as they hope for Mack’s family life to improve.”-School Library Journal
“Oppegaard’s book is beautifully written and full of honest characters, but probably its finest virtue is giving an authentic and powerful voice to a young man in pain.” -VOYA Magazine
“Drinking, F-bombs, and humor abound, but so does a genuine sense of mourning and growth” -Kirkus Reviews