The Golden Key (novel)

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The Golden Key
Author Melanie Rawn, Jennifer Roberson, Kate Elliott
Cover artist Michael Whelan
Country United States
Language English
Genre Fantasy novel
Publisher DAW Books
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 784 pp
ISBN 0-88677-691-0
OCLC 35268865
813/.54 21
LC Class PS3568.A8553 G65 1996

The Golden Key is a 1996 fantasy novel co-written by authors Jennifer Roberson (who penned the story's first act), Melanie Rawn (author of the book's second section), and Kate Elliott (who finished the work).

Set in what might loosely be described as an alternative Spain, the novel traces a family of painters who, by nature of their Gifts, can influence events around them. In the Grijalva family, the Gifted males are usually sterile and short-lived; the women, who may have a talent for painting, but do not have the Gift for the particular type of painting that alters what it portrays, are generally kept within the family to produce children. However, one woman per generation is official mistress to the ruling Duke's Heir, so that the family maintains its influence at Court. The story develops when a particularly Gifted and unscrupulous Grijalva painter finds a way to continue living through successive generations. As the political and social climate changes, including revolutions in neighboring countries and democratic challenges to the ruling Dukes, this increasingly conservative painter seeks to hold on to the past, and especially his first love, whom he has imprisoned in a painting.

Throughout the book, special emphasis is placed on iconography and a set of possibly Arabic/Moorish spells that bend events to the will of the painter. The connection between the ruling Dukes and the Grijalva family is shown to be more far-reaching and subtle than at first appears. The development in painting styles is used as a metaphor for political changes that mirror western European history, especially in France and Italy from 1500 to (say) 1820. The succession of paintings in the ducal gallery (which turns into the national gallery) is the lens through which we see the historical and personal events that make up this fantasy history.

Further Plans[edit]

The original plan for The Golden Key was that it would lead to three more novels, one by each of the authors. Melanie Rawn would write The Diviner (or The Diviner's Key), Kate Elliott would write The Warrior, and Jennifer Roberson would write The Seeker.[1] The Diviner has been published in August 2011, but plans for the other two books are respectively described as "cancelled"[2] and "on indefinite hold."[3]


  1. ^ Melanie Rawn. "Melanie Rawn's Bibliography". Retrieved 2011-06-21. 
  2. ^ Kate Elliott. "Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved 2011-06-21. 
  3. ^ Jennifer Roberson. "The Golden Key". Retrieved 2011-06-21. 

External links[edit]