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Golden Key Mass Market Paperback – Feb 17 2000


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 912 pages
  • Publisher: DAW; Reissue edition (Feb. 17 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0886778999
  • ISBN-13: 978-0886778996
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.4 x 4.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,371,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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4.2 out of 5 stars
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A brilliant painter's ambition to become the greatest artist who ever lived - and unnaturally extend his life long enough to do so - causes him to pervert his family's magics in this wonderful and highly original fantasy from bestselling authors Melanie Rawn, Jennifer Roberson, and Kate Elliot. In a setting similar to medieval/Renaissance Spain or Italy (one of my favorite historical periods), the authors create here a magnificent canvas of beauty, love, bravery, cruelty, treachery, jealousy, political infighting, religious pageantry, war, plague, revolution, and, of course, artistic genius. As others have commented, this is not the standard 'hero/heroine on a quest' or 'wizard waves wand' fantasy, and all the richer for it.
In the duchy of Tira Virte works of art are not only valued for their beauty, but are used in lieu of written legal documents for treaties, wills, marriages, etc. One family of painters, the Grijalvas, have the secret of using magic to alter the reality that they depict in their paintings. The Gifted Limners (all male, with one exception) who have this power use their own body fluids to activate the spells, so they age and die very quickly, and are sterile. The Grijalvas also have to endure popular prejudice and religious discrimination because are descendants of Tza'ab bandits who raped Tira Virtean noblewomen. As well, they have to put up with the machinations of their rival family, the Serranos. Still, the Gifted Limners use their skills to bring peace and prosperity to Tira Virte and to support the rule of the do'Verrada ducal family.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Acquiring The Golden Key was almost accidental -- I picked it up one day on a buying spree, having no idea what it was about and not being familiar with any of the authors.
The Golden Key is rather unique in the fantasy realm in that it doesn't follow the "local boy turns out to be the hero that the world needs and goes on a quest" storyline. I must admit that on my first reading, I struggled through the first few pages of descriptions of paintings, almost skipping over them in my hurry to get on with the story. However, these preliminary descriptions are integral to setting the scene for the story which follows.
It didn't take long before I was enthralled with the world of Tira Verte and its cast of characters. This has to be one of my favourite fantasy books and one I would highly recommend to anyone -- especially those are looking for something a little different. Absolutely brilliant.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Melanie Rawn, Jennifer Roberson, and Kate Elliott collaborate here to create a novel that is very hard to put down--despite its formidable length and flattish characters. What drew me in was the carefully designed world, the totally believable magic, the overall mood, and the centuries-spanning plot. This novel is set in Tirra Virte, an Italy-ish province where all official ceremonies and transactions are recorded not with words but with paintings. I thoight for a moment--"Hey! That can't be reliable! The artist can paint something that didn't really happen!" But then it made me realize just how unreliable words, too, can be. A scribe can write lies as easily as an artist can paint them.
This art-centered world, of course, requires artists. This novel follows the rising and falling fortunes of one family of artists, the Grijalvas, who are almost indisputably the best artists in Tirra Virte. However, they are also decimated by a past plague, feared for their reputed sorcery, and shunned for carrying the blood of foreign rapists in their veins. A young Grijalva boy wants nothing so much as to be acknowledged "Gifted", an heir to the Grijalvas' genetic talents, but the art and magic come with a terrible price.
WARNING: possible SPOILERS
The book is divided into three sections, taking place in three different time periods. The sections are different enough in tone and style that I suspect each author wrote a section mostly by herself, with little collaboration except in world-building. However, I'm not familiar enough with the authors to guess who wrote what.
The first section is my personal favorite because of its brooding and menacing mood.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a nice switch from the standard 'magic and dragons and spells, oh my!' that so many other sci-fi/fantasy stories employ. All I want to know is, is there a sequel???
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By Melissaox on March 23 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book was ok, very slow to start with. I actually stopped reading it for a long time as I got bored with it and got back to it when I was desperate for a read. It does get a lil better towards then end, but I like Melanie Rawn's other books much better. I would not recommend this book to most people.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I had high hopes for this book but I just found it rather boring and predictable. The style of writing didn't appeal to me and the plot was less than interesting. Nice cover, though!
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