by Tom Doyle
Tor, $24.99, 320pp
Published May 2014
Tom Doyle’s debut novel presents us with a blend of military adventure and fantasy set in an alternate history world where magic, or “craft,” has been responsible for the success of the United States since the craftsman who helped General Washington during the Revolution onto present day.
We follow US Army Captain Dale Morton who has been cursed by a Persian sorcerer during a black-ops mission gone wrong. Discovering a conspiracy at the Pentagon led by the evil side of his family, Dale hunts his relatives, aided by Scherie Rezvani, a Persian woman who is more than she initially appears to be. Dale, in turn, is hunted by Major Michael Endicott, a Puritan craftsman, who believes Dale is part of the conspiracy. Changing allegiances, murder, increasing tension, and fast-paced action sweeps us to a thrilling climax.
This was a very enjoyable read blending military action with magic in a very believable way. The characters are interesting, the alternate world is well-developed and the action is fast-paced with something unexpected in almost every chapter. A wonderful debut novel, I am pleased to see that the second American Craftsmen book is due later this year. Recommended ~~ Stephanie L Bannon