I can't remember too many details from this book I read a few years ago. It had the following elements:

  • In English, not a translation
  • Flying ships (large wooden tall ships), I think through magic, but it may have been balloons or a combination. They definitely had sails for lateral propulsion.
  • A rune/glyph based magic system
  • A pistol duel, one of the characters cheats by swapping the guns. It is concluded by someone shooting the other in the ear on purpose.
  • A mute character (or a character who couldn't communicate for some reason)
  • A character who is a monk
  • May have involved dragons, but they did not factor heavily into the plot if it did

If I recall correctly, the book was the first in a series, and the others had yet to be written, I'm asking because maybe the second or even third book has been written by now.

  • 1
    How many years ago is " afew years ago", and when would the book itself would have been published? Any recollection of the cover? Was it in English, was it a translation?
    – Jenayah
    Commented Apr 24, 2020 at 18:35
  • 1
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Aeronaut%27s_Windlass matches on about half the points... there are flying ships, a magic system, pistols, and monks. Not certain if they had a mute character. And, well, one entry released so far...
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Apr 24, 2020 at 18:47
  • Were there dragons? A yes or no answer would probably split the range of possibilities in half. :)
    – DavidW
    Commented Apr 24, 2020 at 19:26
  • @FuzzyBoots no I'm almost certain that isn't it (based on the plot on Wikipedia) but thank you
    – josef
    Commented Apr 24, 2020 at 23:37
  • @DavidW it hadn't occurred to me until you said that, but I think yes, however they aren't a large part of the plot? Honestly not sure
    – josef
    Commented Apr 24, 2020 at 23:38

1 Answer 1


Possibly The Ill-Made Mute (The Bitterbynde Book 1) by Cecilia Dart-Thornton, published 2001.

No promises on this one, I read halfway through about 6 months ago and was distracted before finishing. If this is the correct book though then you are in luck regarding sequels, as The Lady of the Sorrows and The Battle of Evernight were both published in 2002. If I have time I will read further and update this answer.

  • English language - check, the author is Australian and no indication of translation.
  • Flying wooden sailing ships - yes, windships float through use of a magical metal sildron, with andalum as a metal that neutralises the lifting force.
  • rune / glyph magic system - more or less, there is gramarye that wizards use and folk remedies for the peasants to drive away Unseelie beings.
  • pistol duel - not that I have read yet.
  • a mute character - definitely, the main protagonist is apparently a mute boy, as a result of injuries sustained from a long fall in the first few pages.
  • a character who is a monk - not yet, although the cover illustration shows a figure who looks to be in a monk's robes.
  • may have involved dragons - not that I have read yet, but there are eotaurs, winged Skyhorses with sildron horseshooes.
  • Is there an obvious reason why the title is an illusion to part three of The Once and Future King: The Ill-Made Knight (who is Lancelot)?
    – Buzz
    Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 15:29
  • The covers fit the "muted tones" description, but I don't know about "ropes and a storm."
    – DavidW
    Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 17:56

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