Summer 1553: A time of danger and deceit. Brendan Prescott, an orphan, is reared in the household of the powerful Dudley family. Brought to court, Prescott finds himself sent on an illicit mission to the King’s brilliant, enigmatic sister, Princess Elizabeth. But Brendan is soon compelled to work as a double agent by Elizabeth’s protector, William Cecil—who promises in exchange to help him unravel the secret of his own mysterious past.
A dark plot swirls around Elizabeth’s quest to unravel the truth about the ominous disappearance of her seriously ill brother, King Edward VI. With only a bold stable boy and audacious lady-in-waiting at his side, Brendan plunges into a ruthless gambit of half-truths, lies, and murder. Filled with the intrigue and pageantry of Tudor England, The Tudor Secret is the first book in The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles.
C.W. Gortner is the author of the acclaimed historical novels The Last Queen and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici. He holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis on Renaissance Studies from the New College of California. In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard in a Tudor great hall and experienced life in a Spanish castle. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights and environmental issues. Half-Spanish by birth, he divides his time between Northern California and Antigua, Guatemala.
The Tudor Secret is the first book in Gortner’s The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles series.
I have always been fascinated with English history and with the era of the Tudors in particular. I’ve read books by Allison Weir, Jean Plaidy, Margaret George, etc. and watched the many movies featuring this era. Most have centered on the main characters — the kings and queens and mistresses that played such an important part in the making of modern England. But in The Tudor Secret the reader discovers a whole new world — the shadowy world of spies, intrigue and betrayal. The Tudor Secret is a behind-the-scenes view of the reign of Elizabeth I.
Arriving at the English court in the last days of Edward VI, Brendan Prescott is posted to serve as squire to Robert Dudley. The Dudley family sheltered Brendan as a child, taking him in to be raised in the servants quarters of their great household. No love is lost between Brendan and the Dudley clan. Forced to endure the taunts and thrashings of the Dudley boys, Brendan grudgingly gives allegiance to their family. But his first few days at court reveal the true nature of the Dudleys — grasping, greedy and self-seeking. Brendan also makes the acquaintance of Princess Elizabeth and soon falls under her spell, vowing to do anything to safeguard her life.
Brendan also possesses a life or death secret. And there are many willing to kill him to keep that secret undiscovered.
The Tudor Secret is an historical novel. Set during the Tudor era, it is rich in description — you can almost feel the fabric of the fine gowns of the women, hear the clattering of footsteps of horses and armed men and smell the waste that runs the streets and fouls the River Thames. Fortunately that is an almost!
But above all else this is a spy novel. I found it to be riveting. And even though I knew the outcome of the action, I was on the edge of my seat, unable to turn the pages fast enough. The historical setting is just icing on the cake.
Recommended. (Content warning: there is profanity and one sex scene that some may find offensive)
(I received The Tudor Secret from Pump Up Your Book in return for an honest review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)
The Tudor Secret Tour Schedule
Tuesday, February 1
Interviewed at As the Pages Turn
Wednesday, February 2
Book spotlighted at The Writer’s Life
Guest blogging and giveaway at A Cozy Reader’s Corner Reviews
Thursday, February 3
Book reviewed at Broken Teepee
Friday, February 4
Book reviewed at Always with a Book
Monday, February 7
Book reviewed at Teresa’s Reading Corner
Book reviewed at Must Read Faster
Tuesday, February 8
Guest blogging at Book Tours and More
Wednesday, February 9
Book reviewed and giveaway at Book Reviews by Molly
Thursday, February 10
Book reviewed at Mom’s Tree House
Guest blogging, book reviewed, and giveaway at Wendi’s Book Corner
Friday, February 11
Book reviewed at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Monday, February 14
Guest blogging at Bags, Books and Bon Jovi
Tuesday, February 15
Book reviewed at A Room Without Books is Empty
Book reviewed and giveaway at Bags, Books and Bon Jovi
Interviewed at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf
Book reviewed and giveaway at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf
Thursday, February 17
Book spotlighted at Broowaha
Book reviewed at My Reading Room
Friday, February 18
Book reviewed at Life in Review
Book reviewed at Working Writers
Monday, February 21
Guest blogging and giveaway at Acting Balanced
Tuesday, February 22
Book reviewed at Acting Balanced
Book reviewed at Okbo Lover
Book reviewed, guest blogging, and giveaway at The Book Faery Reviews
Wednesday, February 23
Book Reviewed at By the Book
Book Reviewed at Healing Hearts
Thursday, February 24
Book reviewed at Peeking Between the Pages
Friday, February 25
Guest blogging and giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Book reviewed at The Book Connection
Book reviewed at CelticLady’s Reviews