Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The Tudor Secret by C W Gortner

Genre: Historical Fiction Suspense
Series: Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles # 1
Copyright: 2011
Pages: 327
Book Source: Courtesy of C W Gortner

Synopsis: 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, he finds himself sent on an illicit mission to the King's brilliant but 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 Elizabeth's 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 series

C W Gortner's is one of my favourite historical fiction authors and if you're a long term follower of my blog you'll know how much I loved his novels The Last Queen & The Confessions of Catherine de Medici. They made my favourite read list in 2009 and 2010 so I was beyond excited to receive a copy of The Tudor Secret. It was first published in 2004 as The Secret Lion and has been reissued with the benefits of editing and a new chapter. The Tudor Secret combines the detail, colour and intrigue of a historical and the page-turning, breath holding tension of a great suspense; can't get much better than that!

Gortner does a great job of adhering to historical detail while making the most of creative licence to embellish events and introduce a fun cast of fictional characters. The story focuses on Squire Brendan Prescott, a wonderful addition to the intrigue and treachery of the Tudor court. I adored his fictional character, Brendan is  unpretentious, resourceful, brave and honourable and his rat-bag assistant Peregrine, is just as delightful. I loved the rare look at Elizabeth, Mary, the infamous Dudley's, William Cecil and Master Stokes from a 'commoners' point of view and Brendan's perspective of the succession from Edward VI to Jane Grey to Queen Mary was refreshing.

I thoroughly recommend The Tudor Secret to historical fiction and suspense lovers and fan's of Tudor history looking for a unique take on this period, I also think this would be the perfect light introduction for those new to the historical fiction genre. Christopher is currently working on the 2nd book in the Spymaster Chronicles and I can't wait to follow Brendan's adventures in Queen Mary's court. 

Don't forget to pop in tomorrow for Christopher's guest post and up for grabs will be a copy of The Tudor Secret.

You can find out more about C.W. Gortner & his work by visiting his website and blog Historical Boys.

Click on the title to see my review of C.W. Gortner's historical novels: The Last Queen and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici.


  1. sounds fantastic. I had a thing with the tudor period for a while and read a whole bunch of novels and watched the tudors and loved it.

    fingers crossed my library has this!

    also, *loved* your review. it's full of energy!

  2. Stop making me so curious about this one ;)

    Lol, great review. It is sure an author I wanna try

  3. I too loved this one. He seemlessly blends the historical detail with his fictional characters and you would never know the difference. And I kinda liked this version of Elizabeth - I'm not usually her biggest fan. Thanks for the review!

  4. This book has been on my wish list since I first heard about it. I read and loved The Last Queen, so I know what a great writer C W Gortner is.

  5. Mr. Gorter sounds like a perfect historical fiction writer to research and have the historical details correct and at the same time create exciting fictional characters to go with the already exciting Tudor royalty.


  6. Great review! Glad you liked it and if it's anything to go by I can't wait to read the rest of his novels.

  7. This really sounds fantastic. I love historical fiction. Great review.

  8. You know what? I have not read one book by this author but each time that I see someone talk about his books I think...why have I not read one of his books? I really need to change this. while I am not hugely interested in the Tudors at this moment, I am interested in this author's writing so I am going to put this book on my newest list of books to read.

  9. Thank you for this marvelous review. It's always a pleasure to visit Eclectic Reader and I wish everyone best of luck with the giveaway!

  10. Sounds awesome! Although I am a bit tired of the Tudor era, the addition of mystery and suspense is perfect for me. Thanks for the review :)

  11. Great review, this sounds like a great read!

  12. Great review! I'm familiar with Mr. Gortner's historical accuracy after reading the excellent, The Last Queen. I can't wait to read this one too!


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