Golden Key Mass Market Paperback – Feb 17 2000
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The authors have devised a fascinating setting based on medieval Italian, Spanish and Portuguese models for a novel of love and power -- both political and sorcerous. This is one of the few genre books I've seen in which an effort is made to take religion into account as a social force, though, even here, it's watered down. The story spans centuries and centers on the limner Sario Grijalva, whose love for the arts he has mastered is corrupted by his egotism. Grijalva's ruthless use of sorcery can, however, be thwarted by chance events, and this novel thus avoids the pitfall of the unbelievably powerful (and dull) character. Many stories -- love stories, Machiavellian thrillers, coming-of-age stories and stories of magic -- are tightly wound together in this suspenseful, enthralling one-volume trilogy (yes! you get the whole story in one book!); the painterly focus is unusual and interesting, too. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
The three Musketeers they're not, but judging by their finished product, the three authors who have collaborated on this hefty historical fantasy comprise a competent team. In exploring the relationships among art, magic and morality, Rawn (The Ruins of Ambrai), Roberson (the Cheysuli series) and Elliot (the Jaran series) have tried to create a novel that is seamless yet preserves their individual literary personalities. The narrative covers three generations in the mythical history of Tira Virte; each generation's story seems the work primarily of one of the three authors. For centuries, Tira Virte's do'Verrada Dukes have been manipulated by the gifted Grijalva family. Selected Grijalva women become First Mistresses, while male Grijalva artist-magicians, the sterile Limners, can direct human lives by incorporating their own vital juices into their pigments, a practice that causes them to die young and in agony. Unifying the book is the Machiavellian Limner Sario Grijalva, who achieves unnaturally long life by successively murdering 16 men and taking over their bodies. The novel begins with "Chieva do'Sangua," apparently by Rawn, which competently depicts Sario's daring youth, his domination of Tira Virte as Lord Limner and his complex desire for his equally talented artist-cousin Saavedra. This introduces the major theme of women whose biological imperatives conflict with the demands of their talents. Foiled by Saavedra's love for the handsome Duke Alejandro, Sario magically imprisons Saavedra in a ravishing portrait. "Chieva do'Sihirro," which displays Roberson's hand, is more pedestrian in concept, detailing Sario's incognito political engineering 300 years hence. Finally, the colorful "Chieva do'Orro" tidies up Tira Virte a generation later, bloodlessly establishing a constitutional government, releasing Saavedra from her enchantment and punishing Sario's villainy with a unique revenge that opens a door to shared-universe sequels. Perhaps Sario's last words here best sum up this long and involved experimental saga: "remember patience." Authors tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
For those who found the alternate European world entrancing, I recommend Guy Gavriel Kay's books. While best known for his Fionavar Tapestry, his stand alone novels are his best work. These are set largely in alternate Europes - Spain at the end of the Moorish tenure, France on the eve of the Albigensian crusade, Italy at the close of the Renaissance, and Byzantium in its heyday are some of the realities he takes and creates something new and amazing from. Additionally, those fascinated by the artistic focus in Golden Key may be fascinated by the role that music and poetry play in Kay's novels. The religion query of another reviewer bought to mind Tad William's Memory Sorrow and Thorn trilogy, but the religion in that series was never so emphatic as in Golden Key. Any responses to this review are welcome!
Most recent customer reviews
Well written book, and while I found it difficult to follow for the first chapter or so, after that it was a good and engaging read, though it is not a simple read - there's many,... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Ian Campbell
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. Read morePublished on March 7 2003 by eeepy
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. Read morePublished on June 5 2002 by Janelle
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. Read morePublished on March 22 2002 by Melissaox
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. Read morePublished on Feb. 25 2002 by HunterSeeker
I will have to say I agree with the review by nicciech, w...a...y too long. A really good job was done in creating a society, and creating a different concept of magic. Read morePublished on Oct. 18 2001 by Clifford Nelson
I love the way this book starts. The plot was well thought-out, the magic was of a totally different sort than I've read before, and the whole idea fascinated me. Read morePublished on April 30 2001 by Niccie
I read this book because is was highly recommended and Kate Elliott was one of its co authors. I REALLY didn't like it. Read morePublished on March 30 2001
I don't usually find myself at odds with my fellow reviewers, but this time we couldn't be further apart. Surely, I did not read the same book as those who gave this book 5 stars. Read morePublished on March 12 2001