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David Friedman

I mentioned Friedman rather tangentially in yesterday's post, so I thought that before writing this one I should check up on what David F. has been up to lately.

Not much, it turns out. The last writing of his that I would describe as a contribution to the public intellectual's case for liberty was a contribution to an anthology edited by Andrew I. Cohen and Christopher Heath Wellman, Contemporary Debates in Applied Ethics. That came out in 2005 -- eight years ago.

Since then, Friedman seems to have been trying to turn himself into a novelist. His second novel, Salamander, a bit of medievalist fantasy, appeared in March 2011.

If you look at that Amazon page to which I just linked you, you'll find the book description. But in case you're feeling lazy, I'll reproduce it here:

Magister Coelus, the College’s young and brilliant theorist, finally has a student capable of learning theoretical magery at the level at which he can teach it. He invites her to help him with his current research project, which promises to funnel through the hands of one mage more power than any mage has ever had. Ellen, who knows more about both the theory and practice of magic than a first year student should know, refuses, arguing that the Cascade will do more harm than good.

When news of the project reaches Prince Kieron, brother and heir of the king and Royal Master of Mages, he insists that it be completed in secret and employed, if at all, only under royal authority. Word has also reached Lord Iolen, Kieron’s competent, cold-blooded, and ambitious nephew, with his own ideas of how and by whom the Cascade should be used. Ellen and Coelus must together face the conflicting threats and demands of two arrogant and powerful men, the peril posed by the very existence of the Cascade, and their feelings for each other.

Magister Coelus then, appears to teach at some sort of Hogwarts-like institution.  The word "mage" serves him as a generic for the people who teach or study at such institutions -- whereas Rowling stuck with the gender-specific terms "witch" and "wizard."

There is a political undertow here. A grand new source of power has to be completed in secret so that the government authorities can control it. Hmmmm.  

Sounds better than Carcium, anyway.


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