Agent of Artifice

They live among us. We know they are there. No government can control them; no authority can stop them. Some are evil. Some are good. All are powerful. They inhabit our myths and fairy tales. But what if they were real, the witches, wizards, and fairy godmothers? What if they were called "adepts" and were organized into guilds for mutual protection and benefit? And what if they started mucking around with the affairs of "lessers" (that is, those humans not able to match their powers)? During the height of the Cold War, Michael Vaughan is a rogue without a guild. He survives by working for the CIA as NOC (Non-Official Cover). Shortly after the funeral of President Joe Kennedy, Jr., he is sent to Cuba to assassinate Castro. There he finds himself in a cat-and-mouse game with adepts working for Fidel.

Synopsis
They live among us. We know they are there. No government can control them; no authority can stop them. Some are evil. Some are good. All are powerful. They inhabit our myths and fairy tales. But what if they were real, the witches, wizards, and fairy godmothers? What if they were called "adepts" and were organized into guilds for mutual protection and benefit? And what if they started mucking around with the affairs of "lessers" (that is, those humans not able to match their powers)? During the height of the Cold War, Michael Vaughan is a rogue without a guild. He survives by working for the CIA as NOC (Non-Official Cover). Shortly after the funeral of President Joe Kennedy, Jr., he is sent to Cuba to assassinate Castro. There he finds himself in a cat-and-mouse game with adepts working for Fidel.
S. Evan Townsend has been called "America's Unique Speculative Fiction Voice" and writes novels that cause thrills and rapid page-turning.

Michael Vaughan looks like an ordinary guy who's living it up in Havana, having the time of his life. He's got money, women, practically anything he could ever ask for. Yet appearances can be deceiving, for underneath it all he's a rogue adept sent to Cuba to assassinate Castro. Magic allows him to infiltrate enemy bases in hopes of gaining the needed intel to achieve a means to his goals, but sometimes it proves to hinder his plans in more ways than one.

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.


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.


If I had known that Agent of Artifice was about an Adept, I would have read it much sooner. The title and the book cover do not make this easy to see.
However, I really enjoyed this book. Just finished it and am writing the review at 12:00 midnight.
This reminded me a little of James Bond meets Harry Dresden, but it has its own unique delightful flavour.
Well written, enjoyable style; I hope Mr. Townsend writes an adept series.
5 well deserved stars.