The story so far: Three mortal women, Mallory, Dana and Zoe, take up the challenge to find within a time limit three hidden keys which will unlock a magical glass box in which lay trapped the souls of three innocent demi-goddesses. If they succeed, they each get a million dollars; if even one of them fails, they each forfeit one year of their life. In the previous book, Key of Light, artist Mallory found both the key and the love of her life. This time it’s librarian Dana Steele’s turn.
Dana begins her quest with only the enigmatic clues provided by the immortal Rowena and Pitte to aid her, and she’s sure that she’ll find her key through her knowledge and love of books. Meanwhile, her ex-boyfrien Jordan is back, and she’s enraged to realize that she still loves him but is determined never to get hurt again. He is repentant, but she’s equally stubborn – will they give love a second chance?
At the same time, Zoe is flinging zings of defensive sarcasm at Brad, who’s trying to subtly woo her. Mallory and Dana’s brother Flynn are extremely happy together. Together, the six of them make a formidable team of colleagues, workmates and researchers. Dana’s main obstacle is the evil god Kane, who’s more violent than before and ready to unleash all his deadly powers in a mission to prevent Dana from finding the key. Will Dana succeed, on both the quest and in her personal life?
This second book in Nora Roberts' Key trilogy is more remarkable and entertaining than the first one. While the quest for the key is still the main motivation for the characters, it’s the romantic angle which tends to dominate the story. As such, the pre-existing conflict between Dana and Jordan attaches an additional level of tension and sizzle to Key of Knowledge. Dana is a book fanatic, smart, brave, intense, determined and casually confident in bed. She’s been hurt by Jordan once and has no intention of succumbing to his charms again. She’s true to herself and her emotions at every stage, and this honesty is refreshing; her acerbic temper and quick wit make her a spicy and amusing character. Jordan doesn’t appeal at first, but his determined attempts to repent and romance Dana slowly wins over the reader. It’s also pleasing to observe these six disparate people slowly form a formidable team and work towards succeeding. The villainous Kane is vastly more menacing in this story as he’s already frustrated and scared at having lost the first time with Mallory. This time his violence is brutal, and his devious manipulations catch them all off guard. The danger, the tension, the romance – all of them are more intense and exciting, and together they combine to make this second book very real and powerful.