Agent of Artifice – S. Evan Townsend
It’s 1963, the day of Kennedy’s funeral – only it’s Joe, not Jack being buried. S. Evan Townsend’s novel, Agent of Artifice, is set in a world not quite exactly completely different from our own. The basic timeline is the same, but with slight variations, such as which Kennedy became President and oversaw the debacle that was the Bay of Pigs.
Mike Vaughan, also known as Agent Jackson, was there for the fiasco. That he knows the sordid details doesn’t make him very popular with his Commander in Chief, or his bosses at the CIA. Then again, Vaughan has made a career out of pissing people off. He’s very good at it.
In this world not quite like our own, Vaughan, and people like him, can work magic. They are adepts who use meta to cast spells. There are many guilds around the world and Vaughan belongs to the most powerful, the AMA, The American Meta Association. Unfortunately, their leader, Frank Kader, has come under attack and a power play leaves Vaughan on his own. After several attempts on his life, he takes a job with the CIA for protection.
Vaughan struggles to survive long enough to complete his mission – kill Castro and the adept who is protecting him. Fortunately, he’s fairly good at dodging bullets. He manages to survive, stops a major plot by a rival faction, but fails to kill Castro. Overall, it’s a win for Mike Vaughan.
I love the use of magic in a modern setting. Vaughan doesn’t even understand technology since his use of meta makes it unnecessary. He doesn’t drive and he doesn’t know how to fire a gun. Instead, he uses a flying carpet to get around and defensive spells to disable his opponents. Townsend weaves fact and fiction together masterfully, keeping this well paced novel moving.
I highly recommend Agent of Artifice as well as Townsend’s other two novels, Hammer of Thor and Rock Killer.
Five Golden Acorns!