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Luck of the Wheels
Megan Lindholm
Voyager, 408 pages

Paul Gregory
Luck of the Wheels
Megan Lindholm
Megan Lindholm, aka Robin Hobb, lives on a small farm in rural Roy, WA, with her four children and her fisherman husband, Fred. Hobbies include cleaning up after the children and intending to have a garden. Her tastes in music include psychedelic rock n' roll, twisted trad and quirky Celtic, and Sufi drumming.

ISFDB Bibliography: Robin Hobb
ISFDB Bibliography: Megan Lindholm
SF Site Review: Cloven Hooves
SF Site Review: Fool's Errand
SF Site Review: Mad Ship
SF Site Review: Ship of Magic
SF Site Review: The Farseer Trilogy
SF Site Review: The Farseer: Assassin's Quest
SF Site Review: The Farseer: Royal Assassin
Robin Hobb Tribute Site

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Cindy Lynn Speer

In Luck of the Wheels, the fourth book of the Ki and Vandian Quartet, our heroes have worn out their welcome in the north, and so are trying to figure out a way to make a living in the south. Ki, a member of a race of gypsy-like people, has made her living from being a teamster all her life. Her old wagon gone, she needs to get used to the smaller, new wagon. She worries that she won't be able to find any cargo -- or anyone willing to pay her to haul it. Vandian is still trying to fit into the gypsy life. An ex-noble, all he has now is his honor, the names of his parents, his father's sword and his skill with it. Out of desperation they agree to a job, taking a young man to the school where he will be taught the healing arts. He has an unfortunate personality, which includes a habit of saying the worst things at the worst times, and feeling justified in doing so. In taking him, they break a long tradition of never having passengers. A young woman who had come up to them before and was refused based on this rule forces her way onto the wagon. She wants to go to her lover, a member of the rebels who fight against the oppressive rule of the Duke. Simple sounding jobs like these always go wrong, and Ki and Vandian end up risking much more than their livelihood.

I have always been fascinated with the thought of living in a wagon, traveling from place to place with all my worldly possessions in the space behind me. (Anyone who knows of my book obsession is probably just picking themselves up off the floor from laughing so hard... now.) So of course, one of the things I enjoy the most about these books is the way of life Ki and Vandian have. I think Megan Lindholm does an admirable job of drawing what trials and treasures of such a life would be like. Of course, Vandian and Ki help in this enjoyment greatly. They're both interesting well-formed characters that seem to grow as the story progresses. Vandian is very dashing, a bit devil-may-care, while Ki is very common-sensical, very independent. Her attempts at accepting Vandian as a partner and full-time companion characterize her very well... as do her struggles to try and keep a hold of the way of life she's had. She's not having an easy time adjusting to the south, while Vandian seems to embrace any change. I suppose it would be easy to embrace the south if you were certain that the second you ventured across the border north a bunch of Windsingers would have you for breakfast.

I also thought the way Lindholm handled the characterizations of the two passengers, Willow and Goat, was intriguing. Neither of them are very likable... in fact, Goat makes much more trouble than any amount of gold is worth. Usually when you have a group traveling together, at least one of the "outsiders" will become fast friends with the heroes... instead, the outsiders instigate a large part of the action. This, added to the Duke's hard handed policies makes the journey perilous and fast-paced.

Truthfully, I am quite enthralled with Ki and Vandian, and will now be looking for the other books in this series.

Copyright © 2002 Cindy Lynn Speer

Cindy Lynn Speer loves books so much that she's designed most of her life around them, both as a librarian and a writer. Her books aren't due out anywhere soon, but she's trying. You can find her site at

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