The Golden Keyby Melanie Rawn, Kate Elliott, Jennifer Roberson
In the duchy of Tira Virte fine art is prized above all things, both for its beauty and as a binding legal record of everything from marriages and births to treaties and inheritances. And although the Grand Duke is aware that there is more to the paintings of certain master limners than meets the eye, not even he knows just how extraordinary the art of the Grijalva… See more details below
In the duchy of Tira Virte fine art is prized above all things, both for its beauty and as a binding legal record of everything from marriages and births to treaties and inheritances. And although the Grand Duke is aware that there is more to the paintings of certain master limners than meets the eye, not even he knows just how extraordinary the art of the Grijalva family truly is. For certain males of their bloodline are born with a frightening, magical talent - the ability to manipulate time and reality within their paintings, a Gift which enables them to alter events and influence people in the real world. Always, their power has been used solely to aid Tira Virte and its ruler. Always, until the time of Sario Grijalva. Sario, driven by his own passion and ambition, has learned to use his Gift in a whole new way. Obsessed with both his magic and his beautiful, adored cousin Saavedra, Sario will do anything to win her love. Unable to bear it when Saavedra gives her heart to another, he takes a first, fateful step beyond the boundaries previously placed on Grijalva spell-casting, capturing his cousin with forbidden arts. And it is this rash and dangerous act which sets in motion a generations-spanning pattern of treachery and betrayal which may cause both the Grijalvas and Tira Virte to a pay a terrible price.
The setting is an imaginary quasi-Mediterranean country, Tira Virte, where a close alliance between political power and fine art is the norm. Contracts, treaties, wills, and important occasions are recorded not in writing but in painting, and the Grand Duke considers the Lord Limner (the court artist) his most significant appointment. As the story begins, we learn that one family of artists, the Grijalvas, has fallen into disfavor despite their exceptional technique. One young Grijalva artist, Sario, strikes a deal with the mysterious Tza'ab, a descendant of the hereditary enemies of Tira Virte, to learn how to combine painting with magic. At the same time, his beautiful cousin Saavedra becomes the official mistress of the Grand Duke's sonplanning to use her influence to make a Grijalva the next Lord Limner. In a fit of jealousy, Sario uses his magic to imprison her inside a painting; he then makes use of his powers to transfer himself into the body of a younger man, thereby escaping the early death that awaits all Grijalva painters. So begins a multigenerational saga in which Sario, in different embodiments, and the official mistresses (the title is now a Grijalva perquisite) influence Tira Virtean life and art. We jump three centuries ahead to an era when the still thriving Sario's plans are temporarily thwarted by the equally insidious schemes of the mistress, then at last to an even later era where revolution threatens to turn Tira Virte into a modern nation with little room for either Grand Dukes or Grijalvas.
In overall effect, this resembles nothing so much as a fantasy soap opera on a grand scaleexactly as might be expected from the authors' previous work.
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- 4.36(w) x 6.78(h) x 1.54(d)
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