The first book begins with a boy who demonstrates no magic ability and is being raised by a woman and a mute servant. As the story develops, he ages and with age gains his magic talent late. His lack of magic helps him to develop his street smarts and a creative mind. He then finds out he is the grandson of the current king, who is very gifted in magic. His late developing magic gifts is shown to be the strongest and I think the current king dies and then the grandson has to battle to save the kingdom from another noble who is considered the next strongest after the former king.

Additional Info I remember:

The first time I read the book was probably over 20 years ago, it was part of a series of books.

I vaguely remember that the boy was the child of the King's son and a lady of a faraway or border kingdom, but the couple was secret about their relationship. The King's son had died fairly soon after the couple had fallen in love and the subsequent boy was not generally known to be of royal blood. But this stuff was only mentioned in the book after the boy discovers his magic abilities and royal blood.

The mute is also later determined to be a former champion of the Realm, like the right hand man of the King's son. One of the significant events in a later book in the series is the boy's (now grown up) ability to make a volcano erupt under his enemy's city, for which he feels remorse.

  • Could you add any more details, like when you read it, what the cover may have looked like, etc. There's an excellent guide here to help you with some extra points
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Nov 13, 2017 at 17:22
  • Maybe the Deryni series? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deryni_novels
    – ivanivan
    Commented Nov 13, 2017 at 18:17
  • 2
    It was not Tavi who caused the volcano to erupt, but his grand father King Sextus. This act did astonish Tavi's uncle and other allies, as well as let Tavi know the lengths the king would go for victory.
    – Verdan
    Commented Nov 13, 2017 at 19:30
  • Sounded like the Farseer Trilogy until I read about the volcano. Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 13:32

2 Answers 2


This sounds a bit like Codex Alera by Jim Butcher. Main character Tavi is without magic (called Furies in the series), is raised by a woman, Isana, and a simple servant, Fade, he is not quite mute but simple minded, and her brother, Bernard. As the story progresses he learns about his heritage, gains the respect of the people and learns his magic. He does battle in subtle ways with the High Lord Aquitaine, who is trying to usurp the kingdom. And help the entire country with several outside threats all at the same time.

  • Very important information on the Codex Alera: youtube.com/watch?v=ylKRYe0ZWHo
    – fectin
    Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 3:56
  • 11
    @fectin that's click baiting, please describe the link appropriately Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 5:20
  • @styrofoamfly, agreed. The video is 7 min 18 s, with the description "Jim Butcher speaks and answers questions during his panel at the San Diego Comic Con 2008." I didn't watch it so I've no idea what was important in it.
    – Wildcard
    Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 5:42
  • 3
    @Wildcard I watched it. The video is him answering the single question of where the idea for the Furies of Calderon series came from. It was basically written on an "I bet you can't do this"-challenge.
    – Arthur
    Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 8:25
  • @fectin Wow, I never realized how much Jim Butcher looks exactly like how I imagine Harry Dresden.
    – David K
    Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 13:57

Definitely Codex Alera though you've got details jumbled a bit. And having Furies, assistance of magical spirit things, is the norm for all the Aleran people with the nobles being better able to use multiple or more powerful Furies. There is stuff about the nobles, by law, having to have children to pass along their greater abilities but this is jumbled up by many others having strong power but untrained and not confident enough to use it. And there are lots of bastards with great fury power that aren't part of nobility because magic alone doesn't qualify anyone, there is still legitimate birth issue and regular monarchy type rules.
  That part about not having the ability to use furies, what sets Tavi apart, is what's neat about him, that he has to solve things and deal with situations without magical assistance, relying on his intelligence and understanding of science or how things work. The Alerans ancestors (lost in space/time Romans) didn't originally use Furies and people have forgotten how to do things without this magical assistance. He studies this old technology and because of his life without magic aid and this makes him more cunning and stronger when his powers do kick in.

  My biggest disappointment was that he does get really strong Fury power and it is because he is the (previously hidden) son of the imperial line thus negating the previous theme of the whole darn book! And once again, his birth must be accepted as "legitimate", his parents actually married, to inherit the throne. The books take all these stands against penalizing bastards and against slavery and that titles aren't important, general anti-discrimination principles, then betrays them all repeatedly when it's in the interest of Tavi, the main character.
"This social injustice is terrible."
"What's that? I get all the perks and privilege?"
"Guess it's not so bad, things take time to change you know. Where's my palace?"

  There is a well narrated audiobook series of Codex Alera and all the titles have "Fury" in them (if you want to review and enjoy audiobooks).

  • Well ... it's not his fault he was, um, born inside wedlock, you know... ;D
    – akaioi
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 0:51
  • +akaioi Lol, yep, who could blame Tavi? But seriously, it eroded my trust in the author, Butcher. He presented the story as one thing then reneged on the deal, got lazy. In the end it just repeats the fairy tales filtered through divine right aristocracy, promoting the idea that you have to be born into it to succeed. While not a fanboy of Potter, at least that world didn't require noble birth, keeping to its "everyman" concept.
    – Hebekiah
    Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 19:39

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