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Agent of Artifice Paperback – October 23, 2011
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The Amazon Book Review
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About the Author
S. Evan Townsend is a writer living in central Washington State. After spending four years in the U.S. Army in the Military Intelligence branch, he returned to civilian life and college to earn a B.S. in Forest Resources from the University of Washington. In his spare time he enjoys reading, driving (sometimes on a racetrack), meeting people, and talking with friends. He is in a 12-step program for Starbucks addiction. Evan lives with his wife and two teenage sons and has a son attending the University of Washington in biology. He enjoys science fiction, fantasy, history, politics, cars, and travel.
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Michael Vaughan is living a playboy's life in pre-revolution Havana when a set of circumstances forces him to join the CIA for protection. There he becomes embroiled in "Operation Mongoose," the efforts to depose Castro, including the Bay of Pigs invasion. Townsend describes that debacle vividly, putting the reader on the beach with the men sent to invade Cuba.
The novel rushes to a thrilling climax at the Space Needle in Seattle that will leave the reader breathless.
I can recommend this novel without hesitation. Townsend's writing is concise yet descriptive. His characters come alive as you read. You feel Michael Vaughan's joy, fear, pain, and final triumph.
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.
His current task is far from easy. There are those who are watching his every step, intent on thwarting his attempts. Dodging bullets and barely escaping with his life, at times, Michael wonders if there's someone out to get him and begins to suspect that it could be an inside job within one of the guilds. Someone wants to silence him and he refuses to give whoever it is the satisfaction of ending his life forever.
When the leader of his guild is attacked and it is assumed that he is one of his most devout supporters, Michael realizes that his safety is no longer guaranteed. He's now on the run and a target amongst those who seek to have the guild for themselves. Time is running out as he struggles to clear his name and he's determined to go down fighting in every way he can.
I absolutely loved this book. The action starts at the beginning and continued consistently throughout the book. The twists and turns and unexpected happenings kept my attention riveted to every page as I sought to find out what happened next. It's a great read. You'll like it too. I truly recommend reading it.
We meet Michael; a rouge `Adept' without a guild, in 1963 he is about to embark on a mission to assassinate Fidel and Raul Castro in Havana. Unfortunately things don't go according to plan and he is caught, his talisman is stolen; weakening his powers and he is chained to the wall in a dirty cell to prevent him from teleporting.
The plot takes us back in time to 1958 when Michael first visited Havana. It was during the time there was an internal war for power in the guild. Kader (who we met in the prequel `Hammer of Thor'); the most powerful Adept was old and becoming weak, he was looking for allies and hoped Michael would be one of them. Just as Michael decided he was going to stay neutral, Kader was attacked and the rebels believed Michael to be an ally of Kaders which instantly made him a target, guildless and on the run. We follow the trails and tribulations of Michaels struggles back to present day.
S. Evan Townsend has a talent for building tension and excitement, during some scenes I found myself holding my breath and almost tripping over the words in my eagerness to see what happened next! His fluid writing style makes for an easy read, completely pulling the reader into this world of mystery and suspense.
What an excellent read!
Copy supplied for review......Thank-you.