I'm looking for a book I read maybe 20 years ago. I don't remember a great deal but the magic in the book was called charm. At one point someone tracked another person using charm by putting their hair into a locket. Wasps played a part in the book at some point.

There were floating islands with guns that used charm to fire and the protagonist was male.


Coudl this be The Dark Shore by A.A. Attanasio? The magical system is based on 'charm' which people use to (amongst other things) make floating cities

At the time of the Conquest, a loaf of bread in most dominions cost a newt's-eye. Small as a child's pinky nail and lustrous black with vermilion and emerald razor lines, the hex-gem known as newt's-eye carried the smallest possible charge of Charm—just enough to keep a healthy person awake one night, to heal a small wound, to boil three cups of blue tea, thread radiance through seven nights, stir a wisp of breeze for several hours, or buy an excellent loaf of nut bread still steaming on the baker's palette.


Dogbrick rubbed his head where the curb had kissed him and blinked, perplexed, finding little to remember of Arwar Odawl. A floating city far to the south. He knew of it only because of its famous brandy of the same name—and also, of course, because it was renowned as the oldest city on Irth.

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