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  • Lene KaaberbølDenmark ★ Author
  • Lydia Kokkola

“Good and evil are not defined in advance. It’s the particular lens we look through that determines how we see the world.”

Lene Kaaberbøl

The Danish author Lene Kaaberbøl began her career with the publication of her first book Den Forste Bog om Tina og Hestene [The First Book about Tina and the Horses] in 1975, when she was just fifteen. This was the start of a series of pony books based on Kaaberbøl’s own love of riding in her childhood home in Malling, a small town in Jutland. While still in high school, Kaaberbøl read J. R. R. Tolkein and began producing her own works of fantasy, and it is for these that she is best known today.

Most of Kaaberbøl’s production can be divided into series about a particular set of characters. Her earliest was the “Tina series” about Tina and her horses, written before Kaaberbøl began her formal education at the University of Aarhus. This was followed by the Katriona trilogy, in which Kaaberbøl’s love of horses is also evident. The first novel, Sølvhesten [Silverhorse] is set in a post-apocalyptic, matriarchal society. Twelve year old Katriona runs away from home to become the rider of the beautiful but feral hellhorses. She soon learns that just because the world is run by women, it is not gentle.

The nature of female power is more fully explored in the Shamer Chronicles, a quartet which starts with Skammerens datter [The Shamer’s Daughter]. The idea for the series stems from the very common experience of being unable to meet someone’s eye because one feels too ashamed. Kaaberbøl uses this to create a world inhabited by a “shamer,” a woman who can read the read the soul of an individual by looking into his or her eyes. The first novel introduces the main figure: the daughter who is burdened by her inheritance of her mother’s talent, but who must learn to use her abilities for good.

Two W.I.T.C.H. series followed: the W.I.T.C.H. Adventures and the Broken Orb series. Kaaberbøl’s most recent series for a YA audience is the Wildwitch series which maintains her focus on strong female characters. The protagonist of this series is Clara, who in Ildprøven [The Ordeal] is depicted as lacking confidence and self-esteem. An encounter with a black cat who declares her “mine, mine, mine” forces her to leave her comfortable existence and begin training under her aunt, the Wildwitch Isa. Her quest continues in Viridians Blod [Viridian’s Blood].

Many of these novels have been translated into a variety of languages; Kaaberbøl has herself translated the books in her Shamer Chronicles into English. She has also written individual novels that are not part of a series for young readers, picture books, as well as a novel for adults.

Selected Publications

Sølvhesten [Silverhorse]. Copenhagen: Klematis, 1992. Print.
Hermelinen [Hermelin]. Copenhagen: Klematis, 1994. Print.
Skammerens datter [The Shamer’s Daughter]. Trans. Lene Kaaberbøl. Copenhagen: Forum, 2000. Print.
Vildheks 1: Ildprøven [Wildwitch 1: The Ordeal]. Copenhagen: Alvida, 2010. Print.
Vildheks 2: Viridians Blod [Wildwitch 2: Viridian’s Blood]. Copenhagen: Alvida, 2011. Print. [End Page 20]


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