The Firebug of Balrog County

by David Oppegaard

Released September 2015

9780738745435 trade paperback
CAD 13.95|USD 11.99

9780738746548 eBook
EUR 7.99|GBP 6.49|USD 9.99

5.25 in x 8 in
312 pages

A firebug has woken inside my heart

Dark times have fallen on remote Balrog County, and Mack Druneswald, a high school senior with a love of 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.


“Take one angry 18-year-old, sprinkle with zingy narrative, and add a match.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Spectacular—and satisfying.”—St. Paul Pioneer Press

“This darkly comic coming-of-age story with tremendously likable characters also packs a serious emotional punch.”—StarTribune

“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

“Beautifully written and full of honest characters…This book is a winner.”

“In this biting coming-of-age novel . . . Oppegaard doesn’t offer an easy solution to Mack’s problems, instead opting for a realistic and sensitive resolution that leaves on a hopeful note.”—Booklist

“A great read.”—School Library Connection

David Oppegaard is the author of the Bram Stoker nominated The Suicide Collectors, And the Hills Opened Up, The Ragged Mountains, and Wormwood, Nevada. He holds a degree in English Literature from St. Olaf College and an MFA in Writing from Hamline University. David teaches fiction at Hamline University and the Loft Literary Center. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, and can be found online at