Captain Francis Madison Grimm, aka Captain Grimm, aka Francis Grimm, aka "Mad", aka "Grimm Ship-Trees"—or mostly just Grimm. He is the captain of the AMS Predator.


Captain Grimm is one of the main characters and Captain of the AMS Predator, a privateer ship. He had served Albion for eighteen months as a privateer.


Captain Grimm does not like to speak of his history before he captained the Predator. One thing that is known is that he was once an ambitious young Fleet officer, but his career was destroyed due to a daring exploit where he was made a scapegoat. The Admiralty cast Grimm out of the Fleet as a disgraced officer for "cowardice."[1] [2] [3]

He was at one time married to Calliope Ransom. Their relationship is still volatile and distrustful, but he refuses to let others refer to her as a "bitch".


Description / Appearance

  • A striking man, heavy brow, brutish looking; dark intelligent eyes; sharp and wide cheekbones and square jaw; average height; musclely build, strong, blocky hands. He held a Fleet-proper posture.
  • Uniform: He wore his uniform was cut and designed identical to the Fleet uniform, except that the leathers are jet black instead of blue and trimmed in blood red instead of gold. There were two broad stripes at the end of each sleeve—indicating rank of captain—and skull-shaped buttons. He also wore a peaked cap cinched tight to his head—it was thought to be bad luck for the captain to lose his hat. [7]

Character / Personality

Grimm is the type of leader who would never send his men into harm without himself out front. He is a fiercely loyal man who values every person on the Predator, most of whom are also disgraced former Fleet. Because of this, he is beloved by his crew, and they will do virtually anything for him.

He is also loyal to Spire Albion and defends it at his peril. He is fiercely attached to the Predator. His experiences as a disgraced outcast have made him more cynical and distrustful of authority.

Former Airships

  • Speck — as Midshipman; a destroyer [8]
  • Perilous — as Lieutenant and then as acting Captain [9]

Service Times

Other Details

  • The odd-looking suit that Efferus Effrenus Ferus gave him to wear after treating him was lined with Ethersilk and protected him from a direct hit by gauntlet fire in battle with the Auroran Marines. [12]
  • He gains the respect of Rowl who thinks he has acted with "less than utter incompetence in every aspect of his life." [13]
  • Grimm's coat that he got from Efferus Effrenus Ferus when treated for a poisonous bite is apparently lined with high quality ethersilk.[14]
  • Through his experience with a cat during one of his previous postings, he has a high regard for the intelligence and contributions of cats. Rowl deemed him worthy of a cat name, calling him "Grimm Ship-Trees".

Spirearch's Mission

Addison called Gwen, Bridget, Rowl, and Benedict to his office, Grimm was already there. Ferus an Folly joined them. He gives them all a mission—each having their own task, but no one but Ferus knows the objective. That's so no one can divulge any secrets if captured. Benedict is to protect Ferus, Gwen is the "smoother"—smoothing the way through obstacles to Ferus' mission. Bridget and Rowl will serve as his liaisons to the local Cats. Grimm and his crew are their transport and backup.[15]



1. Aeronaut's Windless

In an attempt to lame a merchant ship of near-enemy Spire Aurora, Grimm sails into a trap set by Captain Castillo on the ASA Itasca. They escape but not without sustaining significant damage, the worst of which was the cracking of the ship's Lift Crystal —grounding the Predator until a replacement could be acquired. [16] Commodore Hamilton Rook corners Grimm in the Ventilation Tunnels in an attempt to coerce Grimm into selling or forfeiting the AMS Predator to him to get its Core Crystal—Grimm refuses and backs it up with the threat of a duel.[17] He and Alexander Bayard get attacked by creatures in the dark, Grimm gets bitten and passes out. He awakes in the home of Efferus Effrenus Ferus, an Etherealist and Folly his student. Alex took him there to get healed.[18] Grim returns to the ship where Creedy tries to encourage him to take cargo to earn money for repairs... Then he hears the warcry of the ASA Ciervo. Predator quickly goes to general quarters and powers up it's shroud just in time to avoid taking damage. The Spire shipyard is strafed by the Ciervo and a half dozen other Auroran destroyers, leading to the damaging or destruction of docked ships slower to respond. After seeing a piece of enemy parachute, Grimm deduces it was a diversion to land marines to raid and cause internal damage to Albion.[19] He and his crew arm up and enter the spire to engage the invading Auroran Marines, in light of the fact that the Fleet took the majority of Albion's marine forces with them as they scrambled to engage the attacking airships.[20] Grimm and his crew averted an attack on Lancaster Vattery, helping the Lancasters' private armsmen before they were overcome. Captain Esterbrook thanked him, and extended Lord Lancaster's gratitude in the form of opening the Lancaster Manor and their personal physicians to care for his wounded men. Following this, Rowl rushed up to Esterbrook, demanding help but lacking a translator was only able to confirm that he knew where more Auroan invaders were. Grimm responded to this by immediately ordering his men to join him in following the cat.[2] Resulting in the rescue Gwen and team from marines in the Tunnels. [21]

The Spirearch recruits him and his ship and crew for transport and support for his Team on la mission to Habble Landing,[22] Talks with Bridget. On way up to Fleet Shipyards. [23] Gwen confronts him on his record—Creedy and Kettle defend him.[24] Alexander Bayard offers him the position of captain on his flagship—he declines as he's working for the Spirearch now, but he really cringes at the thought of going back to the Fleet and asking for a job, which he'd have to do to take Bayard's offer.[25] Predator receives shipment of new Trim crystals and the new Mark IV-D Lift CrystalJourneyman is ecstatic. He pushes him to hire a crew to install the crystals quickly, they're at war.[26] He gets visit from Calliope Ransom, his former wife and captain of the Mistshark—a smuggling ship. She offers him a job taking a shipment to Spire Olympia—he turns it down. He doesn't trust the coincidence and order continuous watches on the Mistshark.[27] He ends up cooking for the ship and teaches Journeyman a lesson about communication, as well as Creedy on how to know and handle crew. He gets word that there's trouble with the passengers, they may need help.

2. The Olympian Affair


  • "Prepare boarders, sir?" ... Grimm arched an eyebrow. "We are bold an daring, Commander, not maniacs." Creedy and Grimm [28]
  • He shuddered and regretted and promised dead men's shades that he wouldn't make the same mistakes twice. ... He was captain. — Grimm, after he lost men in the skirmish with the ASA Itasca [1]
  • "Captain Castillo is one of their best," Creedy sent on. "His attack was nearly perfect, but you slipped right through his fingers. If you were a captain in the Fleet you'd have merited tactical honors for..." ... Creedy' face reddened and his voice trailed off. ... "There are worse things that can happen to a man than being drummed out of the Fleet, XO." — Creedy and Grimm [8]
  • "Yes. One of your many excellent failings, Hamilton, is that you forget favors and remember insults." — Grimm to Commodore Hamilton Rook [29]
  • "Sir, it might take you several years to earn it that way, but it would be honest work at least. There's no shame in it." ... "And no joy, either," grim said. "Not for me, not for the crew, and not for the Predator. You can't expect a cat to change its fur for you because you think it would be better." — Creedy and Grimm [30]
  • "A ship is more than wood and crystals and Ethersilk, Byron. Some thick-skulled vat counters have always said it was nonsense but the men on the ship's know better. Airships aren't just vehicles—no the men who treat them like more than that get more out of them." — Grimm to Creedy [30]
  • "Your Francis Madison Grimm? Captain of the Perilous?" ... Grimm feel this shoulders tighten. "Former acting captain, sir. I am he" ... "I heard the Admiralty broke your sword. For cowardice." ... Kettle made a growling sound. ... Esterbrook glanced up, arching an eyebrow at Kettle. But then he turned back to Grimm, clearly waiting for an answer. ... "They did, sir," Grimm said. ... "Esterbrook showed his teeth. "But you'll charge a dug-in position of Marines. With one arm in a sling" ... "It was necessary to do it" Grimm said. "We all serve, sir. Some with more glory than others." ... Esterbrook seemed to consider the multiple meanings in Grimm's answer and said, "Right. The Admralty has it head up its nethers again." ... Grimm arched an eyebrow and said nothing. — Captain Esterbrook and Grimm[9]
  • "I am well aware that there are often ????
  • "The Academy is where knowledge begins, not where it ends." — Grim to Creedy [30]
  • "At the Quick March, Mister Creedy. Follow that cat." — Grimm [2]
  • "I didn't join the Fleet to serve myself, sire, Grimm said. ... "The best never do," Albion gave Grimm a faint smile." — Grimm and Lord Albion [31]
  • "The Predator is not for sale. I am not for sale." — Grimm to Albion [10]
  • "Up there. Up in the deep blue sky. If you think the sun is beautiful, wait until you see it without all the mist. And the moon. The stars. There is no beauty like that of the stars on a clear night, Miss Tagwynn." — Grimm to Bridget [23]
  • "Are you a coward, Captain?" ... The man stared at her for several moments before he said, his voice quiet, "When needed, Miss. When needed." ... "I'm not sure I understand that answer, Captain." ... "Good." — Grimm and Gwen [24]

See Also

Book References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Aeronaut's Windlass, ch. 2, p. 30
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Aeronaut's Windlass, ch. 15
  3. 3.0 3.1 Aeronaut's Windlass, ch. 22, p. 219
  4. Aeronaut's Windlass, ch. 23, p. 222
  5. Aeronaut's Windlass, ch. 295
  6. Aeronaut's Windlass, ch. 56
  7. Aeronaut's Windless, ch. 1, p. 10
  8. 8.0 8.1 Aeronaut's Windlass, ch. 2, p. 20
  9. 9.0 9.1 Aeronaut's Windlass, ch. 15, p. 153
  10. 10.0 10.1 Aeronaut's Windlass, ch. 18, p78
  11. Aeronaut's Windlass, ch. 2, p. 20
  12. Aeronaut's Windlass, ch. 15, p. 148
  13. Aeronaut's Windlass, ch. 24
  14. Aeronaut's Windlass, ch. 15, p. 149
  15. Aeronaut's Windlass, ch. 20
  16. Aeronaut's Windless, ch. 1–2
  17. Aeronaut's Windless, ch. 7
  18. Aeronaut's Windless, ch. 8
  19. Aeronaut's Windless, ch. 11
  20. Aeronaut's Windless, ch. 14
  21. Aeronaut's Windlass, ch. 16
  22. Aeronaut's Windlass, ch. 18 and 20
  23. 23.0 23.1 Aeronaut's Windlass, ch. 21
  24. 24.0 24.1 Aeronaut's Windlass, ch. 22
  25. Aeronaut's Windlass, ch. 23
  26. Aeronaut's Windlass, ch. 28
  27. Aeronaut's Windlass, ch. 31
  28. Aeronaut's Windlass, ch. 1
  29. Aeronaut's Windlass, ch. 7, p. 75
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 Aeronaut's Windlass, ch. 11, p. 121
  31. Aeronaut's Windlass, ch. 18, p. 177
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