Tom Doyle is a very creative author and his blending of historical fiction and urban fantasy is a really nice combination. American Craftsmen is an exciting blend of two genres that kept me interested and excited for more.
The idea of magic having existed throughout history, just never openly exposed is a well used plotline, but Doyle is able to explain it in a new, interesting way that does not feel stale or repetitive.
In American Craftsmen we are shown a picture of the United States and how the pilgrims and other immigrants carried their magical talents into the new world and how they became incorporated into the governance and defense of the nation. The gritty, sometimes dark aspects of how these elite, talented operatives are employed and the truly catastrophic consequences they can unleash makes for fast-paced, compelling storylines.
Two families have been at war with each other, essentially since the founding of the United States. Their histories are replete with competition for influence and outright warfare as one family, the Morton’s, has dealt with family members who have embraced the dark, evil side of magic.
Dale Morton is a real hero both in terms of his willingness to risk his own life to save others as well as his commitment to serving his nation. When a difficult mission goes badly for him and he is cursed, a whole series of events are set in motion that will see him and his family line destroyed unless he can find a solution.
For Michael Endicott, life is about light and dark, good and evil. As the rising scion of the Endicott family, his powers and family connections ensure that his career will be meteorically bright. The on-going feud between his family and the Mortons prejudices Michael to a great degree. When inconsistencies in his assignment force him to look at things from a different perspective, Michael ends up bereft of the moral compass that has been his guide.
American Craftsmen is a lot of fun to read. The combination of magic, historical family enmity and outright evil makes for a great storyline. I really liked the moral challenges that some of the characters were forced to confront as the lines between what they had been told and the truth grew blurry. This is a great story.