Wizard of the Pigeons

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Wizard of the Pigeons
Wizard of the Pigeons (Megan Lindholm novel - front cover).jpg
First edition cover
Author Megan Lindholm
Cover artistRobert Gould
CountryUnited States
Genre Urban fantasy
Publisher Ace Books
Publication date
28 January 1986
ISBN 0-441-89467-4
OCLC 14054439

Wizard of the Pigeons is a 1986 urban fantasy novel set in Seattle by Megan Lindholm, issued as a paperback original by Ace Books and reprinted in hardcover by Hypatia Press in 1994 and as a 35th Anniversary Edition (illustrated by Tommy Arnold) by Grim Oak Press in 2020. Several UK editions have also been published. The book explores the themes of homelessness, poverty, and mental illness.


The novel has been termed modern Arthurian fantasy, with the title character identified with Merlin Ambrosius. [1] Jo Walton has described it as a precursor of the urban fantasy genre: "here are people who aren’t reaching back to Tolkien or to British and European folklore, they are doing something new, they are writing American fantasy!". [2] It was the first work to draw wider attention to Megan Lindholm (also known as Robin Hobb). [3]


The plot focuses on the homeless character 'Wizard' and his battle with a malignant force from his forgotten past. [4] In order to survive, Wizard must rely on his powerful gift of 'Knowing'. This allows him to know the truth of things, to receive fortunes and to reveal to people the answers to their troubles. Aiding him in his battle for survival is the enigmatic 'Cassie' and several other people from the streets.


Orson Scott Card praised the novel as "miraculously good" (although he faulted the ending); he described it as "so real, so original, you won't regret buying it and reading it." [5] Roger Zelazny said the book "moves with force and with grace. It kept me guessing and it cut deeply." [6]

Dave Langford reviewed Wizard of the Pigeons for White Dwarf #90, and stated that "another unusual fantasy, based on a cunning insight [...] Fresh, original, exciting." [7]

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  1. Ann F. Howey & Stephen Ray Reimer, A Bibliography of Modern Arthurian Fantasy, Boydell & Brewer Ltd., 2006, p.235
  2. Walton, Jo (July 6, 2010). "Homeless and Magical: Megan Lindholm's Wizard of the Pigeons". Tor.com . Macmillan. Archived from the original on August 3, 2020.
  3. Clute, John; Grant, John, eds. (1997). "Lindholm, Megan". The Encyclopedia of Fantasy . Archived from the original on March 8, 2017.
  4. Carroll, Siobhan (Fall 2012). "Imagined Nation: place and national identity in Neil Gaiman's American Gods". Extrapolation. 53 (3): 307–326. doi:10.3828/extr.2012.17.
  5. "The Light Fantastic", If, September 1986, p.26
  6. Lindholm, Megan (1986). Wizard of the Pigeons. Back cover.
  7. Langford, Dave (June 1987). "Critical Mass". White Dwarf . Games Workshop (90): 19.