The Golden Key was co-written by three great names in fantasy, Melanie Rawn, Jennifer Roberson and Kate Elliot. Each author brings her inimitable style to blend a sweeping story that mixes elements of sorcery and art to form a backdrop for a complex political struggle that spans several lifetimes. The Grijalva family has been inextricably intertwined with the Grand Duke and his fortunes ever since a key turning point in the history of Tira Virte. The descendants of the Grijalvas have waned in favor and fertility ever since a horrific period tied them to the mysterious Tza' ab and their ongoing rivalry with the Serrano family for the powerful positions in the duchy has resulted in their position of subjugation until the arrival of the virtually ungovernable talent of Sario Grijalva. An eerie relationship between the talent demonstrated through accurate representation of subjects in paintings and a shortened lifespan adds to the mystique that surrounds the Grijalva family. Sario refuses to be confined to the restrictions that everyone has accepted as inevitable and necessary and he shapes the fortunes and fates of Tira Virte over the centuries. The "keys" of significance (gold, magic, blood) are steeped in tradition and mystique and the various members of the ruling do'Verrado and artistic Grijalva families are inextricably intertwined in fate and fortune as the duchy persists throughout the years. The question becomes, when does art imitate life as opposed to life imitating art?
A sweeping epic that encompasses centuries of political maneuvering and manipulation as viewed through magnificent paintings. A blending of the lyrical and musical language of a people steeped in tradition and strictures with the realistic portrayal of the inevitable rebels trapped within a stifling environment who agitate for change. Beautiful and tragic love stories are juxtaposed with fascinating descriptions of an art form that requires that its adherents literally put parts of themselves into their works. Imaginative concepts combined with sometimes discomfiting renditions of the process of discovering those with the true "golden light" (Luza do'Orro) make this a poignant enthralling read with the power to frighten one about the dangers of nurturing genius.
In Tira Virte, art is prized for its beauty and as a binding legal record of everything from marriages to treaties. Yet not even the Grand Duke knows how extraordinary the Grijalva family's art is, for certain Grijalva males are born with the ability to alter events and influence people in the real world through that they paint. Always, their power has been used for Tira Virte. But now Sario Grijalva has learned to use his Gift in a whole new way. And when he begins to work his magic both the Grijalvas and Tira Virte may pay the price.