Denver author Nick Arvin's latest novel, "Mad Boy," is set during the War of 1812.

Courtesy of Europe Editions

The War of 1812 is known to most people for the British burning down the White House and as the inspiration for the "Star-Spangled Banner," but not much else. Now, it's the setting for Denver author Nick Arvin's latest novel, "Mad Boy."

Arvin talked to Colorado Matters about choosing this little-known period in American history for his new book. Just a few pages into "Mad Boy," a cow falls through a roof and kills the mother of the titular boy, 10-year-old Henry Phipps. His mother's dying wish launches him on an insane quest through 19th century America and into the war.