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Megan Lindholm

Megan Lindholm and Robin Hobb are pennames used by Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden. She currently lives and writes in Tacoma, Washington, but that has not always been the case! Born in Oakland, California, in 1952, she sampled life in Berkeley and then in suburban San Rafael before her family moved to Fairbanks, Alaska in the ’60’s. She graduated from Lathrop High School in Fairbanks in 1969, and went on to attend College at the University of Denver in Denver Colorado. In 1970, she married Fred Ogden and moved with him to his home town of Kodiak Alaska. After a brief stint in Hawaii, they moved to Washington State. They live in Tacoma, with brief stints down to a pocket farm in Roy, Washington, where they raise chickens, ducks, geese, vegetables and random children. Here’s Megan Lindholm’s website.


Harpy’s Flight: Robin Hobb’s first novel

Harpy's Flight by Megan Lindholm

Harpy's Flight (1983) is Megan Lindholm's first novel and the first of a series of four starring the characters Ki and Vandien. I understand that at one time, Lindholm had plans to write more but that never happened. Given the success of Lindholm's writing under the pen name Robin Hobb, I very much doubt it ever will. Lindholm’s novels are very different in style and tone from Hobb’s novels. I love both the epic fantasy of Hobb and the more diverse output of Lindholm, but that is certainly not true for all readers.

Ki is out for revenge. A pair of Harpies have taken her husband and two young children and despite the fact that they can easily take her as well, she is determined to make them feel her loss. Against all odds, Ki survives the climb to the Hapries' lair and the ensuing fight. She is left ... Read More

The Windsingers: Refreshingly mature heroes

The Windsingers by Megan Lindholm

The Windsingers is the second book in a series of four featuring Ki and Vandien. It was first published in 1984. The first novel, Harpy’s Flight, which was also Lindholm's debut, showed some serious flaws in pacing and structure but I still thought it was an interesting book. In The Windsingers, Lindholm clearly improves in those areas but she loses some of the dynamic between Ki and Vandien. In the end I did think the first novel, Harpy's Flight, was a more entertaining read, even if The Windsingers was better written.

Ki and Vandien are meeting up in the town of Dyal where Ki hopes to find a new cargo to haul. Vandien has been in town for a while and thinks he has come upon a bargain too good to refuse — salvaging a chest from a drowned temple in a fishing village a few ... Read More

The Limbreth Gate: Ki and Vandien are two of Lindholm’s most intriguing creations

The Limbreth Gate by Megan Lindholm

Lindholm's work under this pseudonym is very diverse, but the Ki and Vandien novels are more or less straightforward fantasy. A secondary world with a long, largely unknown history, lots of different sentient races, magic and divine creatures. All the ingredients are present. They are pretty focused on the two protagonists, however. No huge cast of secondary characters and countless side plots. They are very efficiently written. Each book is a complete story, there are no major cliffhangers or unresolved questions; the relationship between Ki and Vandien is what ties these books together. In short, a very different style of fantasy than the books written under the Robin Hobb pseudonym. One of the great mysteries for the reader is how a person can adopt two completely different styles and stay sane. It is something that has always intrigued ... Read More

Luck of the Wheels: A fitting conclusion

Luck of the Wheels by Megan Lindholm

Luck of the Wheels (1989) is the final part in Megan Lindholm/Robin Hobb’s Ki and Vandien quartet. I guess you could say this book is the odd one out in the series, having been published several years after the first three, which appeared in quick succession in 1983 and 1984. Lindholm had written a number of other books in the meantime, the incomparable Wizard of the Pigeons among them. These additional years of experience show in Luck of the Wheels. It is the best paced book in the series.

After Ki and Vandien’s adventures in Read More

Wizard of the Pigeons: A novel with many layers

Wizard of the Pigeons by Megan Lindholm

Wizard of the Pigeons is one of the last books Megan Lindholm wrote under this pen name, before moving on to her Robin Hobb alter ego. Once again I am impressed with the diversity of Lindholm's writing; Wizard of the Pigeons is unlike any of the others I've read. I guess you could call it an urban fantasy before the werewolf boyfriends took over, or maybe magical realism would fit better. It is a very good book, whichever genre label you prefer.

For those who can see it, Seattle, the Emerald City, is a place of magic. Living by his own rules, Wizard makes a living on what opportunities the city offers. He has elevated scavenging to an art and appears comfortable in his life as Wizard. Soon it becomes clear that all is not well in Seattle, however. A ghost form Wizard's p... Read More

Cloven Hooves: Beautiful, haunting, and sad

Cloven Hooves by Megan Lindholm

Though I liked this book, it was depressing. Cloven Hooves is a very melancholy book, moving from one heartbreaking situation to another with no respite.

The story starts with two stories intertwined: first, Evelyn's wild, rough-and-tumble childhood and her youthful escapades with a faun in the Alaska forest, and second, an older, tamer Evelyn's marriage, which is on the rocks after she, her husband, and their son move in with the husband's family. His family is horrible in ways that are devastatingly realistic. I know people like Tom's folks. Unfortunately.

Evelyn, at first, tries to fit in with the in-laws, but it soon becomes apparent that she never will. Then she begins to see her faun again. Some very bad things happen, and Evelyn faces difficult decisions. I'll say no more for fear of spoilers, but there is no choice in this novel that does not lead to... Read More

Alien Earth: A magnificent science fiction tale

Alien Earth by Megan Lindholm

Megan Lindholm is perhaps better known under her pseudonym Robin Hobb. Since the appearance of Assassin's Apprentice in 1995, her work set in the Realm of the Elderlings has gained her a wide popularity among fans of epic fantasy. Before the emergence of Hobb, Lindholm had already published ten other novels. A lot of these are out of print these days and that is a shame; the seven I’ve read so far are more than worth reading. It should be noted that Lindholm had a good reason to adopt another pen name. While the Robin Hobb books tend to be more traditional epic fantasy, Lindholm's work also includes urban fantasy to books that border on historical fiction and, in the case of Alien Earth, even science fiction. It's hard to pin down the difference in style, but Lindholm's writing has often been described as grittier. Liking Robin Ho... Read More

The Gypsy: A Brust & Lindholm collaboration

The Gypsy by Steven Brust and Megan Lindholm

Experienced police man Mike Stepovich anf his green partner Durand apprehend a gypsy suspected of murdering a shopkeeper. Stepovich immediately notices something strange about the gypsy and does something he's never done in his long career. He fails to turn in the knife the gypsy is carrying. Somehow he knows the gypsy is not the murderer and the knife is special. Later that night, the gypsy disappears without a trace from the police cell they are holding him in. Murder investigations are not the territory of an ordinary patrol cop but this case does not let him go, especially when the body of an old gypsy woman turns up. Again, the suspect Stepovich and his partner arrested seems to be involved and Stepovich is determined to find him. His search will lead him into a supernatural power struggle the existence of which he never suspected.

The Gypsy (1992) is an u... Read More

The Inheritance and Other Stories: One person, two different authors

The Inheritance and Other Stories by Robin Hobb & Megan Lindholm

The Inheritance and Other Stories offers up one-stop shopping, collecting into one volume three stories by Robin Hobb and seven by Megan Lindholm. There’s no doubt these are two different authors, despite being the same person, and so there is a good mix of style and genre here. I’m a huge Hobb fan, believing her work to be substantive and subtle with world-class characterization and plotting, so I was pleased to see the Hobb stories set in one my all-time favorite worlds — that of the Liveship Traders / Rain Wilds. I hadn’t ever read her Lindholm works, though I’d always been curious. Unfortunately, I turned out to be much more a Hobb fan than a Lindholm fan, and though one of her Lindholm stories was one of my favorites in the book, I ... Read More

Magazine Monday: Asimov’s, July 2012

Megan Lindholm’s “Old Paint” is the thoroughly enjoyable novelette about an old car beloved by a family that lets it roam free. The car comes from a time before cars were completely automated, when one could still actually drive them oneself instead of just programming in a destination. It’s so old that its nanotech paint is of a wood veneer on the side of a station wagon. The car is useful, if not exactly a favorite of the teenage boy in the family who’d like something a bit racier. At least, it’s useful up until the time it goes wild because of virus unleashed by a hacker group that did it just to prove they could. Lots of cars wrecked themselves in the days following the original infection, but Old Paint manages to behave itself sufficiently to live on, recharging himself when it needs it and traveling the country. The car tells the kids more about their mother than they’d ever k... Read More

More books by Megan Lindholm

The Reindeer People — (1988) Publisher: The Reindeer People tells the story of a tribe of nomads and hunters as they try to survive, battling against enemy tribes, marauding packs of wolves and the very land itself. Living on the outskirts of the tribe Tillu was happy spending her time tending her strange, slow dreamy child Kerlew and comunning with the spirits to heal the sick and bring blessing on new births. However Carp, the Shaman, an ugly wizened old man whose magic smelled foul to Tillu desired both mother and child. Tillu knew Carp’s magic would steal her son and her soul. Death waited in the snows of the Tundra, but Tillu knew which she would prefer Gritty and realistic, it’s reminiscent of Jean Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear but written in the compelling style of the author who produced the bestselling Assassin’s Apprentice.

Megan Lindholm Robin Hobb review 1. The Reindeer People 2. Wolf's BrotherMegan Lindholm Robin Hobb review 1. The Reindeer People 2. Wolf's Brother