By 1918, Europe had spent over four years embroiled in the Great War. This terrible war to end all wars had consumed an endless stream of men—all shot, gassed, or obliterated by artillery in the trenches. Dieter, a German farmer, has no idea how his sons met their fate. He knows only that they are dead, and his wife, Gerda, refuses to accept it.
After he brings home a golden bird, still miraculously alive after being rescued from an iron box, Gerda declares she will go find the truth about their third son, Karl, whose body was never found. In a desperate attempt to keep his wife home, Dieter volunteers to search instead.
The bird guides Dieter safely to the front, but once they reach the battleground, they find only chaos. Exploding shells pepper the muddy ground as far as the eye can see. The fighting is so savage and constant that many bodies are never recovered for burial.
As his chances of finding his son’s grave tumble from slim to none, Dieter becomes trapped on the battlefield. It seems likely he will share his sons’ fate.
But the bird has other plans…
The Golden Key, by Cathleen Townsend, is a historical novelette that blends the harsh realities of war with a touch of magic and a heaping dose of heart.
Townsend’s novelette The Golden Key starts off with the feel of a German folktale as Dieter finds a magical golden bird buried in a chest at the base of a tree. The plot’s tension builds at a steady pace…a quick read with plenty of action and a warm message.
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Cathleen Townsend loves a good tale, especially if it involves fantasy. She resides in California’s gold county, nestled in the beautiful Sierra Nevada foothills, which in her mind contains trolls, brownies, kobolds, and dwarves, although they persist in lurking unseen. She loves to chat with readers on her blog: cathleentownsend.com.