This book is not like others I have reviewed - a fictional wrestling story from the early 20th century. It is a tough, gritty tale but sometimes sweet at the same time. Here is my review of "Champion of the World."
"Champion of the World" by Chad Dundas
July 12, 2016
Wrestling, fiction, historical, romance
5 of 5 stars (outstanding)
Pepper Van Dean is a wrestler from the early 20th century who lost his title when he had a broken leg and never got a chance to regain it. To keep himself and his wife Moira financially afloat, he joins the circus as a vaudeville act but gets booted from that gig as well, being left behind when the circus packed up after a performance. How Pepper and Moira then get their lives back together while training a talented but troubled black wrestler named Garfield Taft makes up the premise of a great novel by Chad Dundas.
The atmosphere of early 20th century America and all the issues of the times such as Prohibition, race relations and even homosexuality are explored in the story so no controversial topic goes unnoticed. The three main characters (Pepper, Moira and Taft) are all complex and yet well developed so that the reader will feel a connection with all three of them.
The wrestling scenes in the book have an authentic feel and the reader will feel the pain of the wrestlers as well as the sharpness as fixed matches and calls of corruption were not uncommon at that time in the sport. Dundas shows his knowledge of the sport from that era and writes it in a very easy to read manner that one will be books and spend a long time before putting this books down, as was the case for me. An outstanding debut novel that will resonate with the reader even if he or she knows nothing about sports or wrestling.
I wish to thank G.P. Putnam's Sons for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.