-> "[[CommonKnowledge Let us begin with what everyone knows about magery.]] Mages have magic; common folk do not. What makes a truly great mage is power, [[ElementalPowers the ability to set a forest on fire or freeze a lake.]] Mages train, as apprentices with one master or students with many, [[MyKungFuIsStrongerThanYours in order to learn to increase their power.]] The power of mages comes from the elementals - [[TitleDrop salamanders]] for fire, sylphs for air, and the rest. Elementals know mages by their names. Hence, [[DeadGuyJunior giving a child the name of a past mage]] gives him easier access to that mage's elemental."
-> "Every one of the facts I have just listed is false."
-->--'''[[AbsentMindedProfessor Coelus]]'''

A fantasy novel by economist and omnienthusiast David Friedman. The story is set in a world where everyone has some magical talent, but magic is always very weak, at the time when the Laws of Magic are just starting to be formulated. The plot centers around [[TeenGenius Ellen]], a new student at a School of Magic. [[BoyMeetsGirl She meets]] the young theorist [[WideEyedIdealist Coelus]], one of the masters at the academy. He's working on a new kind of spell - '[[MacGuffin The Cascade]]' - which could grant vast power to whoever uses it. Ellen is drawn into both the politics surrounding the Cascade and the mystery of the Salamander.

This description does not do the book justice. Can be purchased for Amazon Kindle [[http://www.amazon.com/Salamander-ebook/dp/B004TBD3Z0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=books&qid=1302823944&sr=1-1 here]].

Not to be confused with the game in the ''{{Gradius}}'' series, or the Belgian-made TV series about criminal and political skullduggery.
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!!''Salamander'' provides examples of:

* AbsentMindedProfessor: Coelus.
* AntiVillain: Kieran.
* BadassBookworm: Coelus is just a naive professor, right? [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome Wrong.]]
* BetaCouple: Mari and [[spoiler:Kieran]].
* BoyMeetsGirl: Twice.
* ElementalPowers: How magic works.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Ellen and Mari
* HiddenDepths: Ellen, Coelus, Kieran, and [[spoiler:Dur.]]
* IKnowYourTrueName: If a mage changes his name, he loses his powers.
* {{Immortality}}: A discussed trope.
* KarmicDeath: [[spoiler:Maridon]] convinces Coelus that he needs to be the [[PersonOfMassDestruction subject of the Cascade ritual]] because if something goes wrong and the subject dies, he's expendable and Coelus isn't. Naturally, his attempt to TakeOverTheWorld is interrupted when something goes wrong with the ritual.
* LanguageOfMagic: And nobody knows how it works, just that it works.
* ManipulativeBastard: Subverted with Mari.
* NeedleInANeedleStack:
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections: Fieras tries this. It doesn't work.
* TheSocialExpert: Mari is a heroic version, serving as a HypercompetentSidekick in the world of politics to Ellen.
* SparingTheAces: Main reason [[MadScientist Coelus]] is alive.
* TalkingTheMonsterToDeath
* TeenGenius: Ellen.
* UnequalRites: Mages look down on witches. [[ScienceMarchesOn Modern theory is that there's no difference.]]
* VainSorceress: Discussed. One of the reasons that Alys wants to be a mage is so she can be young and beautiful forever; Ellen points out that even the strongest mages can't keep their age down very far.
* WeakButSkilled: The trope this book is based around.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: Kieran, naturally.
* WhiteAndGreyMorality: There may be one truly evil character in the story. May.