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American Craftsmen    by Tom Doyle order for
American Craftsmen
by Tom Doyle
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's something different and exciting - American Craftsmen is a cross between urban fantasy and a Special Forces thriller. In it, Tom Doyle rewrites US history (just a little) to incorporate lineages of families with magical talents. His two heroes come from opposing families (though they both serve in the US military) while his heroine is Iranian American.

The lead in this series debut is US Army Captain Dale Morton, code name Casper. As the story opens, he's sent on a black-ops mission to take out a magus. The pagan Mortons have long worked magic for the military, from Washington's army to D-day and the present. The soldier originally intended for the mission was Major Michael Endicott, code name Sword. The Puritan Endicotts have always loathed the Mortons, especially after the Left-Hand Morton branch 'scared the shit out of everyone'.

Why the change in personnel? It was decreed by Sphinx herself (the most powerful oracle in the country) that Dale take the mission. But it went badly awry and Dale was cursed by the Persian sorceror, leaving him hovering on the edge of madeness, unfit for further duty, and susceptible to the Left-Hand voice that he has fought his entire life. He resigns from the military and returns to the Family House. But he's still on a mission, to find out who set him up, the 'mole in the craft' and destroy them.

This proves a lot harder and more complex than anticipated. Ghosts galore get in on the action, as do a young woman, Scherezade Rezvani (who only seems ordinary); Michael Endicott (tasked by his father, the General, under the orders of 'the great and powerful and mysterious Chimera', with ending Dale); and the Slav. While Dale baits the bad guys, very powerful forces go after him, people he cares about, and all the craft Families. It's quite a ride, not to be missed by fans of military fantasy, and I look forward to more of Dale, Scherie and Michael.

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