By Megan Lindholm
Voyager (Harper Collins) - March 2002
ISBN 000711253X PB

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde,
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Before there was Robin Hobb there was Megan Lindholm, and now Harper Collins decided to treat her many readers to the chance of reading her earlier work. Among these novels were the Ki and Vandien Quartet of which this is the second book (a review of Harpy's flight has already appeared on this site). Following on from the adventures in the first book (essential reading before reading this one), gypsy Ki and her new friend Vandien have arrived in a strange town. On hearing that Vandien has foolishly been talked into accepting a strange salvage operation as part of a festival, she isn't keen to being talked into lending her wagon and horses to what sounds like a fool's errand. While Vandien is treated to the dubious hospitality of False Harbor, Ki gets tricked into a seemingly simple removal job that turns out to involve a wizard, and soon both Ki and Vandien have made enemies of the powerful sisterhood of the Windsingers.

This is one of those un-putdownable novels where something happens on every page and, joy of joys, it is also a separate adventure from the earlier book, which is so rare in fantasies. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the book was written back in 1983, or perhaps it is just showing what a fine writer Megan Lindholm is. For me, the best thing is the wonderfully realized fishing village of False Harbor that conjures up such a vivid image. Also, the fast pace of the novel and its modest length - my one criticism of Robin Hobb's later work - is her tendency to describe every blade of grass and produce doorstop-sized trilogies. Here is something fresher, faster and packed with all the qualities you would expect to find. Don't miss this quartet.

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