Dena Landon's Reviews > The Golden Key

The Golden Key by Melanie Rawn
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's review
Jun 04, 2007

really liked it
Recommended for: People who like richly detailed fantasy
Read in May, 2007

I have to confess, this was one of those large fantasy tomes that sat on my bookshelf for about two years before I finally got around to reading it. But once I started it I couldn't put it down.

The books takes place in a richly drawn world clearly based on the city-states of Renaissance Italy. It follows the fortunes of a family of painters, the Grijalva's, who are struggling to recover from a horrible plague. In this world, paintings are legal documents, commemorating marriages, births, wills, and deaths. The Grijalva's have fallen from favor at court but are eager to once again obtain the position of Lord Limner, official painter to the Duke.

Yes, the novel had a lot of class struggle and politics woven throughout, but what I really loved were the characters. It follows the life of Sario, an ambitious and unscrupulous painter, and different women throughout a two thousand year history of the family. In spite of the length of time it covers the book is still easy to follow and rich in characterization and depth. I would recommend it to fans of historical and political fantasy, as well as to those who enjoy family sagas.

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