Tom Doyle blends historical fiction and urban fantasy in his AMERICAN CRAFT series. I loved his first bookAmerican Craftsmen and can’t wait to read his newest offering, The Left-Hand Way. Tom’s here today to talk about secret mages and to give away a copy of The Left-Hand Way to one commenter.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsMy AMERICAN CRAFT series is about the adventures and intrigues of modern-day magician-soldiers, or craftsmen. While their abilities are clearly supernatural, they are also things that could go largely unnoticed by non-practitioners: a favorable alteration in the local weather, a bit of edge in combat skills, a vision of a possible future. For the backstory of the craftspeople, I’ve imagined that their ancestors have been secretly intervening in world events since prehistoric times.

Thus, during the past few years, I’ve been exploring instances in which magic might have covertly altered history. For example, the bad weather at Brooklyn Heights that saved Washington’s army during the American Revolution and the good weather that allowed the D-Day invasion to go forward seem like almost miraculous coincidences.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsBut, while I’ve thought about many such events, I haven’t considered very often who in our world might have performed the intervention. That is, what historical persons best fit the profile of a secret mage? In my books, only the earliest family ancestors are based on real people; the rest are inspired by literature or simply made up.

Of course, unlike the majority of characters in my books, secret mages wouldn’t only have been soldiers or spies. They might have been politicians, artists, authors, scientists, members of religious orders, or peasants.

So, I’d like to see your candidates from the past or present for secret mage. Why does that person fit the bill? Did uncanny things happen around them, or did they seem to pull of the impossible? But I’m also interested in what you’d do if you were such a mage — where and when would you want to be, and what would you want to do there? (It’d be as if you were Doctor Who with magic, only you wouldn’t have to be so careful with the temporal continuum.)

Readers, comment below for a chance to win a copy of The Left-Hand Way. (US or Canadian addresses, as usual.)


  • John Hulet

    JOHN HULET is a member of the Utah Army National Guard. John’s experiences have often left a great void that has been filled by countless hours spent between the pages of a book lost in the words and images of the authors he admires. During a 12 month tour of Iraq, he spent well over $1000 on books and found sanity in the process. John lives in Utah and works slavishly to prepare soldiers to serve their country with the honor and distinction that Sturm Brightblade or Arithon s’Ffalenn would be proud of. John retired from FanLit in March 2015 after being with us for nearly 8 years. We still hear from him every once in a while.

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