In modern America, two soldiers will fight their way through the magical legacies of Poe and Hawthorne to destroy an undying evil—if they don’t kill each other first.
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US Army Captain Dale Morton is a magician soldier—a “craftsman.” After a black-ops mission gone wrong, Dale is cursed by a Persian sorcerer and haunted by his good and evil ancestors. Major Michael Endicott, a Puritan craftsman, finds gruesome evidence that the evil Mortons, formerly led by the twins Roderick and Madeline, have returned, and that Dale might be one of them.
Dale uncovers treason in the Pentagon’s highest covert ranks. He hunts for his enemies before they can murder him and Scherie, a new friend who knows nothing of his magic.
Endicott pursues Dale, divided between his duty to capture a rogue soldier and his desire to protect Dale from his would-be assassins. They will discover that the demonic horrors that have corrupted American magic are not bound by family or even death itself.
Library Journal Review of American Craftsmen
“Doyle, a graduate of the Clarion Writing Workshop and author of critically acclaimed short stories, breaks into the popular mainstream with this first novel, a multigenre blend incorporating elements of supernatural fantasy, military fiction, spy thriller, and alternate history. The titular “craftsmen” are not carpenters or watchmakers but elite military practitioners of a more secretive and dangerous craft: sorcery. The world they inhabit is similar to our own, complete with brushfire wars in the Middle East, a bureaucratic Washington, DC, and a U.S. heartland full of small-town motels well stocked with Gideon Bibles. But in Doyle’s version, military operations sometimes involve the use of mind blasting and matter-manipulating magic spells, as well as grenades and guns, bureaucracies that can hold secrets of truly devilish darkness, and the Bibles, like many other things, are not quite what they seem. VERDICT Other authors have blended soldiering and sorcery, but few have brought Doyle’s well-crafted prose style, carefully paced plotting, and depth of characterization to the trope. The gradual revelation of the intricate “secret history” behind the spell-wielding soldiers and the long-simmering family feuds intertwined with that history add intrigue and depth to the slam-bang action of the opening chapters. This series launch will appeal to fans of fantasy and military fiction.”
Advance Reader Reaction to American Craftsmen
“An exhilarating mix of magic, military action, American history (the fun kind), and a Jason Bourne-like race to stop the real bad guys.” Jack Campbell, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Fleet Beyond the Frontier: Guardian and The Lost Stars: Perilous Shield.
Tom Doyle’s American Craftsmen is a fast-moving and intriguing novel that incorporates features of combat fantasy, special-operations, alternative history, block ops, and even a touch of romance into a seamless action tapestry offering a far richer read than most action adventures without sacrificing either action or speed. L.E. Modesitt, author of The Saga of Recluce series.
“Tom Doyle blends an intricately re-envisioned history of America with literary references, some bold, some sly, in this genre-bending thriller. It’s a feat of craftsmanship to be celebrated!” Jacqueline Carey, author of the Kushiel series.
“Tom Doyle’s American Craftsmen is an exciting cross between dark urban fantasy and special ops thrillers. I thoroughly enjoyed it.” Eric Flint, author of the 1632 series.
“American Craftsmen is a good adventure story; the characters held my attention and I liked the way real history merged with fantasy.” Larry Niven, author of the Ringworld series.
“Tom Doyle has taken every Sci-Fi Channel and Coast to Coast radio show concept and incorporated them into a very entertaining novel. At first I was startled to encounter so many themes, then I was drawn to admire the skills he used to weave them together, and then I just sat back and enjoyed the show. I also learned the truth about how Stonewall Jackson was killed. Great fun.” Jerry Pournelle, author of the Janissaries series.
“American Craftsmen is a cool, original take on old school magic.” Larry Correia, author of The Monster Hunter Series
“Tom Doyle is an American Brother Grimm. He slyly infuses American Craftsmen with US literary allusions and history to give us a fully-realized, thoroughly New World paranormality. It’s almost as if Edgar Alan Poe and Philip K Dick teamed up to write a military action-thriller.” Nicole Galland, author of I, Iago and contributor to The Mongoliad.
“AMERICAN CRAFTSMEN is a seamless blend of military SF and urban fantasy that had me riveted from the get-go. Like so many hidden corners of America, Tom Doyle’s imagination is a strange and marvelous place!” Jeri Smith-Ready, award-winning author of Wicked Game and Shade.
“Like some mutant blend of FRINGE and Tom Clancy, Doyle’s AMERICAN CRAFTSMEN rides the urban fantasy wave in a whole new direction. Dark sorcery meets black-ops. Highly recommended.” David J. Williams, author of The Mirrored Heavens and The Burning Skies.
“The story is poised at the junction of at least two genres–military thrillers and urban fantasy. The Clancy-esque tone of this novel is a fresh approach to the usual save-the-world dynamic of urban fantasy. Conceptually, it’s a brilliant combination and Tom Doyle manages to preserve the essential nature of both genres while combining them. Military thriller aficionados will enjoy the weapon geekery, fantasy lovers will appreciate his unique take on magic, and American history buffs should be impressed with the way he’s explained historical events. Overall, AMERICAN CRAFTSMEN is politically sophisticated while still being a hot-blooded, quintessentially American, story.” Stephanie Dray, author of Lily of the Nile and, as Stephanie Draven, of Midnight Medusa and Wild, Tethered, Bound.
“Tom Doyle has created a uniquely American fantasy novel, knitting together literary skeins from horror to humor, from magic realism to military fiction. Doyle’s intricate plot invites readers to visit familiar literary friends (particularly Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne, in deft tips of the hat to America’s deepest storytelling roots), while studying entirely new characters in wholly imagined settings. From his secret history of the Pentagon to his elaborate depiction of ghostly power in the world around us, Doyle orchestrates a gritty, believable novel, one that becomes more complex as each intricate plot twist arrives at its apparent, satisfying conclusion. Doyle’s themes of loyalty, honor, and obligation resonate through every page. Plus, his craftsmen employ some kick-ass magic tricks! This novel will appeal to readers of Neil Gaiman’s AMERICAN GODS, along with anyone who enjoys energetic fantasy tales of heroism and horror, mundane and magic.” Mindy Klasky, author of The Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft and How Not to Make a Wish.
American Craftsmen is a book filled with mages–the “craftsmen” of the title–but at the center of them all is the archmage and word-sorcerer, Tom Doyle. He gives us a novel that is part taut thriller, part military fantasy, and part retrospective Columbiad reimagined through conflicts between covens and kabbalah. The bloody path that the characters blaze across the countryside with machine guns and magic unfolds as both a journey to America’s past and a subtle rumination upon its possible future. It revisits American myths that come to life in a world where the darkest stories of Hawthorne are revealed to be gruesome family histories and the greatest terrors of Poe reside in congenitally dangerous bloodlines, rather than bloody deeds. The take-away? American Craftsman is not just a page turner: it is a book infused and haunted by other books, and wonderfully so. Charles E. Gannon, author of Fire with Fire.