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American Craftsmen

(American Craftsmen #1)

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  361 ratings  ·  80 reviews
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.

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
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by Tor Books (first published May 1st 2014)
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Average rating 3.53  · 
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May 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: meh, arc, blog, untumbled-turds
At the ripe old age of 36, the fact that I have purchased more books than I can read in this lifetime has begun to nag at me. There was a time when I would have persevered through anything I picked up because a younger me would have thought, "Oh, but I have all the time in the world to read all the books. Onward!" And like a dung beetle, I would have continued to tumble that turd to the finish line. But the older, wiser me is determined not to let the time suck that was The Age of Ra happen agai ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
Beautifully quirky and unique from all the books I've read. I am enamored with stories that embed magic-use and systems into the culture, and the concept of being a 'craftsman' being part of one's heritage is really interesting. I liked how this book is also multicultural in that it doesn't just look at magic from one ethnic perspective. It explores the uniqueness of magic based on the culture of the people who practice it. One of the aspects of a story that most appeals to me is how well it sti ...more
Jan 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, rc2017n-e, bingo16
Never read a military fantasy, specially one set in the present day. The premise is really interesting: some of the oldest families that founded (?) the US were and are magic users and set up secret dynasties that serve the government. That are two rival families, the Mortons and Endicotts. Think of Gryffindor and Slytherin, but with soldiers, guns, secret ops and the like serving the British government.

I really liked the House here. It's the mansion where the Morton family lives, and it's actua
Beth Cato
Sep 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, urban, 2015
This is a gritty urban fantasy that reminded me of other excellent books like Chuck Wendig's Blackbirds and Zer0es (though with less profanity). The world-building is really intriguing: old American families carry not only prestigious name but "craft," distinct types of magic. Two of those families are vital to American security in the modern military, though they are also intense rivals. Dale Morton's family is notorious for its "Left Hand Morton" branch that turned to dark magic centuries ago; ...more
Ryan Lawler
Apr 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Do not let the cover or synopsis put you off, American Craftsmen by Tom Doyle hits big where it counts. Cool magic, interesting political games, and great action scenes, American Craftsmen is like a cross between Alvin Maker and 24.
originally posted at:

There are two elements that I find very cool to read about. Magic and soldiers. This is exactly what the synopsis of American Craftsmen offers. I have been searching for these types of books and luckily I came across this one. Though don't let the synopsis of the story take you in too much as this is only the tip of the iceberg of the story that Tom Doyle touches. The best thing is, American Craftsmen is only Tom Doyle's debut into th
Fantasy Literature
May 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 th
Laura Montgomery
May 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
I can easily see this as a movie. Doyle uses an interesting device to cut quickly between some scenes, just like a movie does, to show us the actions of bit players, villains, heroes and heroine. It gives the narrative real drive, and I had a hard time putting the book down once it got going.

Dale Morton is a craftsman, a member of one of the craft families with a covenant with the military. When his last mission ends in a disaster, complete with a curse, he seeks to find the person behind what h
Apr 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
a very interesting world and a fun ride. I hope this grows into a series. Both prequel and sequels would be welcome to flesh this out. glad I was along for the ride.
Megan Baxter
Sep 05, 2017 rated it liked it
This is an interesting concept, and the execution is, well, it's not great. It's not execrable, either. It's the kind of book that you don't mind reading, but really wish that it was about 30% better, and then it could get an enthusiastic recommendation as a good pulp read. I like good pulpy fun, but those books really have to embrace that aspect of themselves. This comes so close to being rollicking, but not quite, and at times, it tries a little too hard to be serious, and it's not that either ...more
Mar 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I found this to be thoroughly entertaining. This is everything I had hoped the execrable Control Point by Myke Cole would be. Wizards, warlocks, witches and weathermen working as black ops in the military, plenty of action and a cool Secret History angle utilizing magic. All of these magic-users are called "craftsmen" in Doyle's world, hence the title.

In the novel Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella (which was turned into the excellent fantasy movie Field of Dreams), Kinsella seamlessly incorporated J
Apr 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Mon avis en Français

My English review

I did not know anything about Tom Doyle or his novels, and it’s true that I usually avoid books that are more or less connected with the army, but the synopsis immediately intrigued me when I read it. I was therefore curious to see how the story would be. I must say that in the end I really had a good time with the novel.

Dale Morton went through many hardships in his life, and his last mission proved to be a total failure. Being cursed and hoping to leave the
May 21, 2014 rated it it was ok

Really, I'd give this one two and a half, if I could.

This is one of those books, and you run into them a whole lot in SF and fantasy, where the author has done an excellent job with building a world and a magical system - enough to make them absorbing and intriguing in their own right - and then....not lived up to them when it came time for character and plot.

The alternate magical history, with wizard families interwoven into the great conflicts? Really cool. The actual plot....not so much. It
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
American Craftsmen, Tom Doyle 's debut novel, is about occult operatives, known as "Craftsmen," and it's terrific work. Out from Tor Books in May as the first part of a three book deal, it's very, very good. I wish they'd toned down the Baen-ishness of the cover, which will no doubt put some folks off, because this fantasy/government conspiracy thriller has a lot of interesting stuff about powerful occult families woven through American history. Starting in the middle east in a classic op gone h ...more
Samuel Lubell
Apr 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This is modern military fantasy with a twist - all the things Hawthorne and Poe etc wrote were true, some names were changed, and a group of old Craft families in America have been helping fight its wars since the founding. While the plot is interesting and does eventually tie into the history, I found the historical background much more interesting than the characters. I am glad that Doyle chose not to follow the easy path of making all the middle eastern characters villains - one is actually t ...more
Patrick Hurley
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Military thriller meets American Gothic meets Magic, with shades of and Poe and Hawthorne thrown in the mix? Sign me up for another tour, please! Also, the author Tom Doyle is one hell of a cool guy to have a beer with.
Elizabeth Fisher
Excellent speculative fiction with real characters. Lots of military aspects, but fortunately it didn't go super heavy into that stuff - just enough to make it real. So, yes, macho men, but also women who aren't totally secondary.
Mar 28, 2017 rated it did not like it
I was really looking forward to a good adult urban fantasy novel with a male read. I steadfastly made it a quarter into the novel when I finally gave up. If at 25% in I do not understand what in the world is going on, it's time to cut my losses. I'm all about withholding information from the reader for him/her to discover it as they progress on the plot. But when you refuse to explain the basic foundation of said plot (which in this case is a hell of a lot backstory, as well as military and fami ...more
Oct 09, 2019 added it
No rating on this one as I didn’t finish the book. I set it aside at about 30% of the way through. I was excited about the premise of the book and it started out well but didn’t maintain the strong start. There were a lot of ideas I liked, from the concept of families using abilities called craft to how they are used in the military. For me the execution just fell short. The writing felt a bit unpolished and was a bit of a distraction for me, though part of that is likely just preference. There’ ...more
Patrick St-Denis
Apr 29, 2015 rated it liked it
A few months ago, I first heard of Tom Doyle's American Craftsmen when SFF readers were bitching about the fact that the upcoming novel appeared to be a rip-off of Myke Cole's excellent Shadow Ops series. Being a Myke Cole fan, I must admit that I was intrigued by the cover blurb and wanted to give the book a shot. If only to see if indeed it was a rip-off or not.

I'm glad to report that Doyle's American Craftsmen is an original story and it has absolutely nothing to do with Myke Cole's series. O
Oct 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is good stuff. I don't think I've ever read a military fantasy. Milscifi, sure, but fantasy?

Dale Morton is a modern day military Craftsperson, a pagan magician in service to a secret branch of the US military. During the Revolutionary War, George Washington forged a treaty with America's magical families, sparing their lives from witch hunts in exchange for service to the new nation. Morton is descended from a long line of magical soldiers, but some of his ancestors served the Left-Hand Pat
John (JP)
When things go bump in the night these are the men and women who fight back. They are soldiers trained in ordinary fighting skills and gifted magical fighting skills. They have been in the service of this country since before its founding. They represent and are powered by many religious traditions from Native American to Persian roots and Christianity. By the time of this story the relationship between the craft and mundane military is formalized with offices and divisions in the Pentagon which ...more
Mar 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: urban
You can see that the author is new to this game and the book seems to create polarizing opinions. Yet I for one enjoyed it.

Some people have mentioned the circumstances of the plot almost appearing as coincidences and somewhat disjointed at times, but I chalk that up to the use of "oracles" in the book. I agree that it could be done better, but I'll hold judgement until the second book.

Until then, it was a nice quick read on a 6 hr plane+layover
Shannon Everyday
Apr 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Good action story with a nice addition of magic (or craft). I like the history built up for the families in the book. I liked the main characters a lot, and enjoyed many of the background characters. I would like to see further stories in this world. For informational purposes, I was one of the winners of a free copy of this book through GoodReads.
Apr 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the best debut, best series starter I've read in a couple years. The mix of military, magic, terrorism, war, politics and personalities (character!!) is very, very good. Then the author throws in a fabulous twist.
Best of all? At the end of this story I'm already impatient for the next book. Now, Please!
May 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read. Really fun and patriotic.
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
One of the more original entries into the Urban Fantasy genre (and/or military fantasy ?) Tom Doyle has created an intriguing world, that I can't wait to dip into again with a sequel.
Aug 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Not bad, I wanted to like it more than I did, but the writing style didn't mesh that well with me. There was a lot of historical name-dropping, and I got the impression I was supposed to be more impressed with the magical rewrite of American history but...I didn't find it very accessible or engaging. The character development felt thin as well, though I liked the premise of two rival craftsmen from rival families, working under the same colonel for the good of America, though they both wanted to ...more

So I almost didn't read this.
I'm glad I did.

I will say there were times where I was very confused, and I felt like I missed things, and since I was only listening while at work, it was very easy for me to feel like I zoned out.

But actually, this was good. A refreshing urban fantasy.

At first I was very NOT keen on the Christian warrior aspect and really worried that this book would turn into a "non christians are bad!" but this book didn't go there. So this touched on many re
Michelle Sonnier
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book very much and was ridiculously pleased to find a military oriented urban fantasy that doesn't treat women only as damsels in distress or sex object wallpaper. The women are well-drawn individuals who have agency. My only issue is that some of the transitions in scenes were weak or missing. Sometimes I would think, "oh wait, when did he walk into this room?" But those missteps were minor and infrequent. It was easy enough to catch back up. Quite forgivable considering the stro ...more
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Tom Doyle is the author of Border Crosser and the AMERICAN CRAFT trilogy. He writes science fiction and fantasy in Washington, DC. He has won the WSFA Small Press Award.

Other books in the series

American Craftsmen (3 books)
  • The Left-Hand Way (American Craftsmen #2)
  • War and Craft (American Craftsmen, #3)

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