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Literature / Salamanders

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"Into the fires of battle! Unto the anvil of war!"

The Salamanders are a chapter of Imperial Space Marines in the Warhammer 40,000 universe and as such, should not be confused with Alchemic Elementals (or, you know, slimy, lizard-like amphibians).

They are the subject of Nick Kyme's Tome of Fire trilogy, comprising Salamander, Firedrake and Nocturne.

Following a disastrous campaign on the planet Stratos (see the short story `Fires of War' in the Heroes of the Space Marines book for details) the Salamanders 3rd Company is still reeling from the loss of their captain and the internal politics of the company isn't helping in the least. When the company uncovers a relic from the past that could lead to information on their missing Primarch they embark on a mission that could either heal their troubles or make them worse.

When Chaplain Elysius of the Salamanders is taken captive by Dark Eldar, he faces a fight for survival at the hands of these cruel aliens. The Firedrakes of 1st Company attempt a daring rescue mission, but much more is at stake than the Chaplain's life. He holds the key to secrets buried beneath Mount Deathfire, secrets that could reveal the damnation - or salvation - of their home world. The Salamanders must penetrate the Port of Anguish and defeat the xenos threat there if they are to unveil the mysteries within the Tome of Fire. Meanwhile, Dak'ir battles to survive the brutal Librarian training, and in his visions lies an even darker future.

Finally, in Nocturne, the Salamanders face a treacherous attack on their own homeworld.

An omnibus edition, Salamanders, was released in 2013, containing the Tome of Fire trilogy and a number of short stories set before, during, and after the trilogy.

Please resist the urge to put examples on this page or link to this page on tropes unless you are citing from 40K novels in which the Salamanders feature. Examples which are specific to rulebooks or other in-universe fluff should go on either the 40K page or in the Space Marines section of the Imperial factions page.

Please check out the character sheet

Tropes associated with this chapter and the novel include:

  • Badass Creed:
    Into the fires of battle, unto the anvil of War!
    Vulkan's fire beats in my breast, With it we shall smite the foes of the Emperor!
    We are forged in such flames, so we make war with it, clenched in our mailed fists.
  • Because Destiny Says So: In Salamander, an artifact calls Dak'ir toward it — so powerfully that he doesn't even notice that he ransacks crates, looking for it, or that he had found it. He confides in another brother later, who agrees that it looks as if he were meant to find it.
    • Later, a strange eruption from the planet Nocturne is regarded as a portent of ill fortune.
  • Bittersweet Ending both short story and novel end with the captain dying. This is two different captains by the way. Also Dak'ir is hauled off to become a librarian and stripped of his rank
    • Also Nocturne: Dak'ir, Prebian, and Emek are dead, and Nihilan managed to escape with a copy of a fragment from the Tome of Fire that details resurrection in the hopes or raising Ushorak, but Nocturne and the Chapter survive the invasion, Sol Ba'ken is promoted to Captain of the 7th Company, and Fugis returns from his Burning Walk.
  • Cycle of Revenge: In the Back Story, the 3rd Company had killed a renegade Chaplain Ushorak; in the opening, Dragon Warriors kill the 3rd Company's captain; shortly thereafter, the new captain goes in pursuit of them. They get sidetracked by another issue, but happen on the killers, and get both the commander and the actual killer. Whereupon their captain is murdered after the battle.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Salamander, the obviously suffering Fugis confesses to having lost faith at the death of their captain.
  • Divided We Fall: Salamander; Although the Marines Malevolent have played The Cavalry, and they and the Salamanders are still on enemy territory, tension and sniping arise almost immediately on their meeting.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Dak'ir is noted for his prophetic dreams even as part of the Back Story — and suffers them during the novels.
  • Expy: Iagon for Iago from Othello, and Black Dragon Space Marine Zartath for Wolverine of all people, right down to directly quoting some of his lines.
  • Frozen Face: Iagon perpetually sneers because his face was burned by acid, damaging muscle.
  • Great Big Book of Everything More Great Big Library of Everything, given the actual scale of the "Tome of Fire"
  • In the Back Iagon pulls this off in both books; first killing N'keln and then betraying his brothers in the Razored Vale
  • Manipulative Bastard: Iagon reveals what's Beneath the Mask when he manipulates Tsu'gan into not reporting his ploys. Followed up by his reflection that he has to do something about the Apothecary who knows, and later by his murdering a helpless servant.
  • Pretty Boy: Chaplain Elysius, much to everyone's surprise. He is, in fact, so pretty that he ends up getting his own personal Stalker with a Crush in the form of a Dark Eldar Wych.
  • Pro Human Trans Human: The Salamanders are defined by being this compared to normal Astartes. It is also an integral part of their popularity with fans.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: The Salamanders' arch-enemies, the Dark Eldar, owing to the latter being obsessed with the experience of sensation of any kind. On the other hand, locking them up and depriving them of any sensation is a highly effective means of torture/coercion. Vulkan He'stan uses the threat of that to blackmail a Dark Eldar Haemonculus to reopen a Webway portal. He repays the Dark Eldar by shooting him in the head (as a Haemonculus, he can regrow himself from a finger he cut off for that purpose). And Zartath himself survived for so long in Commorragh in no small part due to torturing his Dark Eldar victims in that way, gaining valuable information in the process.
  • Wham Line: A series of them, which basically sum up that Vulkan He'stan believes that Dak'ir is the Unbound Flame, one of the Nine Artefacts of Vulkan. He changes his opinion later, but it leaves the members of the Pantheon Council speechless.
    • Although the Horus Heresy series would eventually reveal that Vulkan (the primarch), or rather, his coffin is the real Unbound Flame. Wherever it is...