Silverhorse, by Lene Kaaberbøl (fiction) – guest post recommendation by Rachel Ward

book cover of Silverhorse by Lene Kaaberbol published by Macmillan UKWild hellhorses,
A headstrong young girl,
Women lead society, men travel as they can.

Guest reviewer Rachel Ward brings us an exciting book about a chilling future on Blogathon2012’s Guest Post Day.

Silverhorse is the first book in the Katriona series, one of several written by Danish author Kaaberbøl, whose four-volume Shamer Chronicles fantasy series is published by Henry Holt Books  in the USA.

Check WorldCat to find a library near you to check out Silverhorse or check your favorite bookseller for a copy of this London-published novel. Its sequel, Midnight, has also been translated into English, but book 3 remains in Danish only. Perhaps reader demand will interest a US publisher in getting the entire Katriona series back in print.

Book info: Silverhorse / Lene Kaaberbøl. Macmillan (London), 2007.   [author’s website in Danish]  [author’s biography from Gale Biographies of Children’s Authors]  

Rachel’s Recommendation *:
Silverhorse by  Lene Kaaberbøl is set in a post-apocalyptic world where nobody is allowed to own the land, but it is passed down from mother to daughter. Women are the rulers with a duty to care for the land, and men lead an itinerant life. The main character is 12-year-old Kat, daughter of Tess, the maestra of Crowfoot Inn. Kat has a fiery temper and fights constantly with her stepfather. 

In the end, Tess has no choice but to send Kat away, despite it being very unusual for a girl to travel in this society. After a disastrous apprenticeship to a dyer, she ends up at the academy for Bredinari, who ride the strange and dangerous hellhorses – wild nightmares crossed with sturdy mountain horses – and serve justice and law in the land of Breda. Here, Kat has to learn to control her temper so she can master the weapons and horses she will need to handle. Events come to a head when she gets caught up in power politics beyond her control or understanding, and finds herself fighting for survival.

The plot rattles along at a good pace and Kat is an engaging and sympathetic, if flawed, character. Her struggles with both authority figures and bullies her own age are all too recognisable and the book also tackles the reverse-sexism of her world, snobbery, loyalty, betrayal and true friendship.

Kaaberbøl’s writing is truly fantastic, in every sense of the word. This is an excellent and compelling fantasy story, translated from the Danish by the author herself – being able to write as well in another language as she can in her own is a skill of which I am frankly in awe!

Highly recommended  (Cover image courtesy of the publisher.)

*This review was originally posted on A Discount Ticket to Everywhere on Saturday 12th May, 2012.


photograph of guest blogger Rachel Ward
Rachel Ward – guest blogger

Since gaining her MA in Literary Translation in 2002, Rachel Ward has been working in Norwich, United Kingdom, as a freelance literary translator from German and French to English. She specialises in children’s and young adult literature as well as crime novels, fantasy and other contemporary fiction. 

She blogs on reading and translation at is on Twitter as @FwdTranslations. Her most recent translations, the Nea Fox books by Amelia Ellis, are available as e-books from Amazon and

One thought on “Silverhorse, by Lene Kaaberbøl (fiction) – guest post recommendation by Rachel Ward

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.