Author: Olaf Moriarty Solstrand
Author: Olaf Moriarty Solstrand
Genre: YA Fantasy/Sci-fi
Release Date: September 2016
Gunhild is a private in the Royal Army. She’s headstrong and reckless, but she’s also the best troll hunter in the country, and when a troll gets away with a national treasure, she’s the only person with any chance of getting it back.
Kirabo was on his way home to Aberash after a fulfilled research mission, but he managed to enter the wrong coordinates into his spaceship. Now he and his PA robot are stranded on a far-off planet, and they don’t have enough fuel to get back home.
As genres collide on Troll Island, Earth, the troll hunter and the space explorer have to overcome their differences and work together if they want to survive this fairytale.
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The general’s secretary sat writing a letter when Gunhild stormed in through his door. “Is he in?” she enquired.
“Hello, Gunhild,” replied the secretary, a young man who looked like he might be in his twenties. She knew she’d heard his name once, but she could never remember what it was. He checked his papers. “Yes, he is free now. Do you have an appointment?”
“No,” Gunhild replied and went directly through the door to the general’s office. This wasn’t the first time she had been in this office, but the last time she was here, General Bjerkedal had been in command. A few months ago, the old fogey had finally retired and his second in command, Aslak Espenson, had taken over. At thirty, Espenson was only half as old as Bjerkedal, but he had been an officer for many years already and had worked with General Bjerkedal over the last few years, so everyone had agreed that he was the best choice to take over the general’s chair after Bjerkedal left. Now Espenson was sitting at his desk making a sketch. For a few seconds he looked a little surprised to see Gunhild, but he quickly regained his composure.
“Private Baardsdotter,” he said, nodding towards a chair on the other side of the desk to indicate to Gunhild that she should sit down. Gunhild went straight up to the general and threw the rejection letter down in front of him.
“What is the meaning of this?” she said.
“Ah. I should have guessed.”
“You have no right to do this.”
“You are wrong. To assess an applicant’s qualifications for promotion is not just a right I have, it is my duty as a general.”
“You have no right to discriminate against me because I am a woman.”
“What are you talking about?” The general looked surprised. “Did you think that was why you were rejected? But… didn’t you read the back of the letter?”
Gunhild looked down at the letter. There actually was something written on the back of it. The general tried to stifle a smile.
“We can do it verbally,” he said politely. “I’ve looked at your personnel file, Baardsdotter. By all accounts, you’re one of our best knights. Your grades are excellent and you know all the fighting techniques we have taught you better than people who have been knights for twice as long as you – it wouldn’t surprise me if you’ve even come up with a few techniques yourself. And I would be blind not to have noticed that none of the other knights here can use a sword as well as you.”
“So what’s the problem?”
“The problem is your attitude. You’re eager. You’re impulsive. You’re brave…”
“Since when is that a problem?”
“It is a problem when you are as brave as you. How many trolls have you killed in the last month?”
Gunhild did some quick mental calculating. “Five.”
“So, about one a week. Did you know that, on average, the other knights kill three to four trolls in a year? And that few of them ever set out to kill a troll all alone, but rather make sure that there is always a helping hand in case they need it?”
“Are you trying to say that the reason you’re refusing me a promotion is that I am better than all the others? Where’s the logic in that?”
“I haven’t finished.” Espenson had got up and gone over to a cupboard full of paper. There was so much clutter in the cupboard that Gunhild wondered how he was able to keep track, but he quickly picked out a folder from the cupboard and it was quite obviously what he wanted.
“Tell me,” Espenson said sitting back down, “how many times have you been hospitalized in the past month?”
Gunhild blushed. “Two, maybe?”
“Four.” Espenson looked at her with seriousness. “There is nothing wrong with you being brave, but time and again you have overestimated your own strength. You do not assess the risk of a situation before you throw yourself into it. I have talked with your doctor and she believes that in at least two cases, it was just luck that stopped you from being killed.”
Gunhild felt herself getting angry again. “I maintain a hard line because I care about this army. I care about the job we do to keep the kingdom safe. That’s not something I should be punished for, it’s something I should be…”
“…praised and rewarded for?” interrupted the general brusquely. “No, I don’t think so. Every time you put your life on the line to take up a challenge, when your courage makes you overestimate your own strength, the army is in danger of losing one of its best soldiers. We need you here, Baardsdotter. We do not want to lose you.”
“Okay,” Gunhild mumbled. Damn. She had prepared a long speech about how it was unfair that she didn’t get promoted, but she was in no way prepared for this argument. “So I did not get promoted because I put my own life in unnecessary danger?”
“No,” replied the general. “It’s bad enough that you put your own life in danger. If I promote you to sergeant, it’ll be even worse. If I had given you the job, you would be responsible for a troop of knights. If I gave you that responsibility, it would no longer be just your own life at stake every time you threw yourself into a situation that you failed to master. That could mean five lives; that could mean ten lives. A couple of our sergeants have responsibility for troops of over twenty knights. That is just not a chance I am willing to take.”
About the Author
Olaf Moriarty Solstrand (1982-) is a Norwegian writer and librarian, currently living in Ski, Akershus with two lovebirds, one wife and a hyperactive Twitter account.
Since 2001, he has written scripts for more than sixty Donald Duck comics, and his stories have been published in 29 countries. His first novel, Trolløya, was self-published in 2013.
In 2010 he received the Raptus Award for the work he's done for Norwegian comics.
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