We Shall Inherit the Wind

We Shall Inherit the Wind by Gunnar Staalesen Read Free Book Online

Book: We Shall Inherit the Wind by Gunnar Staalesen Read Free Book Online
Authors: Gunnar Staalesen
south ofEurope through the Germanic forests and over the ice all the way to the country known as Nordvegen – the road north.
    Ole Rørdal looked well equipped to withstand a similar migration himself. He was powerfully built, broad chested, and his gait betrayed the fact that he had spent a lot of time at sea since childhood. In a way it was as if someone had put his head on upside down. An impressive, black beard grew from his chin, but his head was shaved so closely that there was only a dark shadow of hair. If he had put a helmet on, he could have got a job as an extra in any Hollywood Viking movie. This impression was reinforced by a suede shirt, a brown leather waistcoat and grey-brown trousers with large, external pockets. He had black military boots on his feet, which left no room for doubt – he would be ready to fight his corner whenever and wherever the wind turbine issue was raised.
    ‘You’d better come in,’ he said, although he didn’t sound like he meant it.
    I jerked my head in the direction I had come from. ‘And who was that powder keg?’
    ‘Stein Swineson,’ he said irritably, ‘Or Svenson, as he’s actually called. He’s our deputy leader.’
    ‘You didn’t seem to be quite on the same wavelength?’
    He gave a dismissive wave of his hand. ‘A disagreement about strategy. There’s a lot at stake. It’s important to choose the right … approach. But I don’t suppose that’s what you came here to discuss?’
    ‘No, I’m here to talk about Mons Mæland.’
    ‘What’s happened?’
    ‘No one knows yet. He’s disappeared.’
    His mouth dropped, but he clearly didn’t have anything to say on the matter. I followed him into the room and looked around. This organisation was conspicuously disorganised; it was like stepping into a beehive. Big posters from international green agencies hung on the walls, some of them with stunning images of threatened rain forests, wild waterfalls and drifting icebergs. In one of them, a wind turbine loomed like a monstrous edifice above two intrepid cyclists – the DonQuixote and Sancho Panza of our day. Rudimentary bookshelves heaved with stacks of paper, brochures, case files and various pieces of office equipment. An over-worked hard drive, printer, scanner, three computer monitors with freestanding keyboards and an old-fashioned fax machine whirred in what seemed to be the technology corner. A long, untreated wooden table stood in the middle of the room, surrounded by folding canvas chairs; it looked Norwegian and handmade, and definitely hadn’t come from any rain forest.
    Ole Rørdal motioned towards a coffee machine using an unnecessarily wasteful amount of electricity on a little kitchen worktop. ‘Coffee, Veum? 100 percent organic.’
    ‘As long as there aren’t any coffee beetles in it.’
    He looked offended, as idealists do whenever anyone cracks a joke, but he nodded, walked over to the counter, rinsed two fired-clay mugs – doubtless organic too – poured the coffee and came back to the table.
    I sat on one of the chairs. It was rather rickety and not particularly comfortable. Mind you, the people here weren’t the type to sit around – the sooner you were out in the field the better. ‘While I was investigating a case, the row over the planned Brennøy wind farm blew up.’
    ‘Oh, yes?’
    ‘I’m told you’re from around there.’
    ‘Not from Brennøy, if that’s what you mean. But I come from one of the neighbouring islands, Byrknesøy. You don’t get much closer to primal Norwegian terrain than that. Viking ships sailed past there once, on their way from Nidaros to Bergen or vice versa.’
    ‘And now you’ve got tankers instead.’
    His face darkened. ‘And polluting tourist boats. The shipping authorities don’t seem to care much about the environment, when you see what they dump in our waters. Same goes for the utterly ridiculous plans they have for these so-called wind farms of theirs. Far away from people and

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