The Tudor Secret, by C.W. Gortner, was an amazing cache of intrigue and suspicion!! It’s one of the BEST books I’ve read in a very long time. If you think the Tudor era is overdone and all has been said, THINK AGAIN!
Though plenty of books about Elizabeth I or Henry the VIII line the shelves of many bookstores and libraries, Gortner’s work of historical fiction spins an original yarn about an orphan boy, Brendan Prescott, who has a birthmark which supports that he has possible royal lineage. Does he? Is he being used as a pawn to the advancement of others?
Court life is brutal and Prescott is about to find that out when he becomes a servant in the Dudley household. Before he knows it, he is a double spy and reeling with the fact that he is on a mission for Elizabeth I, the intelligent sister of the young Edward VI. Strangled with the urge to know his own family secret, he agrees to being eyes and ears at court for William Cecil, Elizabeth’s protector, in exchange for Cecil helping him to unravel his past.
He discovers that whispers and secrets abound at court, during this turbulent time after Henry VIII’s death, and no one can be trusted. At times in the novel, Prescott is uncertain who he is even spying for, yet his own heart is always true to Elizabeth I and her safety.
The Tudor Secret is so full of suspense that pages will turn like they are on FIRE. Your finger will refuse to let you stop turning pages. You won’t want to put this book down for fear you will miss something. When you do put it down, it will still have you wondering so much about its twists and turns that you’ll want to pick it back up again and read until you know the secret!
The book gives superb insight into the personalities of Elizabeth and Mary Tudor in their younger years surrounding the time of their brother, King Edward VI’s, death in 1553. The inner-family struggle for the crown, the religious turmoil and fracturing, the struggle of the people of England, the love/hate relationship of Elizabeth and Robert Dudley (son to John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland) and the conniving ways of the court all lend to this tale as the author is a master at presenting us espionage and intrigue.
Gortner’s historical novel is the first book in his new Elizabeth I spymaster chronicles. The book ends with the secret known to only the Prescott character, and a few others, and is set-up for readers to be ready to delve into more spies, lies, and espionage in the next book as Prescott becomes a spy in Mary I’s court.
If a book doesn’t grab me in the first 10 pages, I won’t read it, but this one certainly DID have my full attention. I thoroughly enjoyed the guessing game this book laid out for me from the beginning. It made me remember how much I LOVE this era of English history.
This has been one of my favorite books of the last 10 years and I can’t wait for more to come in this series. Gortner has to be considered one of the TOP historical fiction novelists of the century.
C.W. GORTNER holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in 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. His novels have garnered international praise and been translated into thirteen languages to date. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights and environmental issues.
He’s currently at work on his third novel, about Isabella of Castile, and the second novel in his Tudor series,The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles (US) or Elizabeth’s Spymaster (UK).
Half-Spanish by birth, C.W. lives in Northern California. You can contact him at: cwgortner[at]earthlink.net and across many social networking channels. For more information about this book and author, you can go to the author’s website at www.cwgortner.com. Gortner enjoys talking to book groups and will even chat via speaker phone or Skype.