Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Tudor Conspiracy by C.W. Gortner

Genre: Historical Fiction Suspense/Thriller
Series: Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles #2
Publication Date: 16th July 2013
Pages: 352
Book Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours & NetGalley

Synopsis: England, 1553: Harsh winter encroaches upon the realm. Mary Tudor has become queen to popular acclaim and her enemies are imprisoned in the Tower. But when she’s betrothed to Philip, Catholic prince of Spain, putting her Protestant subjects in peril, rumors of a plot to depose her swirl around the one person whom many consider to be England’s heir and only hope—the queen’s half-sister, Princess Elizabeth.

Haunted by his past, Brendan Prescott lives far from the intrigues of court. But his time of refuge comes to an end when his foe and mentor, the spymaster Cecil, brings him disquieting news that sends him on a dangerous mission. Elizabeth is held captive at court, the target of the Spanish ambassador, who seeks her demise. Obliged to return to the palace where he almost lost his life, Brendan finds himself working as a double-agent for Queen Mary herself, who orders Brendan to secure proof that will be his cherished Elizabeth’s undoing.

Plunged into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with a mysterious opponent who hides a terrifying secret, Brendan races against time to retrieve a cache of the princess’s private letters, even as he begins to realize that in this dark world of betrayal and deceit, where power is supreme and sister can turn against sister, nothing—and no one—is what it seems.
My Thoughts:
It's no secret C.W. Gortner is one of my favourite historical fiction authors, and all his historical fiction works (portrayals of powerful but maligned women in history) have made my favourite reads list. The Spymaster Chronicles are cast from a slightly different aspect, firmly embedded in the history of the Tudor Court in a strong mystery/suspense vein. I enjoyed the first book, The Tudor Secret even though it didn't make my favourite list but Christopher Gortner has truly outdone himself with The Tudor Conspiracy. 

It's quite the tangled web as Brendan Prescott returns to Queen Mary's Court to protect Princess Elizabeth and finds himself in the perilous position of double agent. In a period mired in conspiracy, treachery, religious persecution, danger and death Mr Gortner draws the threads of this multi-faceted story with a deft but delicate hand. Nothing overplayed but the suspense just about killed me ... I seriously had to remind myself to breathe. 

Brendan is an easy character to like, so many endearing qualities; unpretentious, loyal, courageous and his capacity to show very real emotion made the connection with him much stronger in this book. Brendan's precocious 'squire' Peregrine won my heart in The Tudor Secret and in this installment he merited a few tears. 

All up, an absolutely riveting, refreshing and unique take on the events leading to the Wyatt Rebellion, the enmity between Mary and Elizabeth and the possible motivations governing both their actions. 

I'll be awaiting Brendan's next exploits with bated breath.

Recommend: In a nutshell ... bloody brilliant - that's a yes!

Twitter Hashtag: #TudorConspiracyTour

Connect with C.W. Gortner


  1. This sounds wonderful! LOVING your review on this one!!!!

    1. Thanks Julie, I know you'd love this series!!

  2. Oh my goodness! This sounds really good! Adding it to my Must Read list :)

    1. You've read some of Christopher's books haven't you Mary? If not then you sooooo need to :)

  3. I love the idea of exploring the relationship between the sisters in this vein-I am less familiar with this period than I should be :( Will need to check this writer out!

    1. this is an exciting read for anyone 'Tudor'd out' (different spin on things) but it's a great introduction if you're not that familiar with the period. I think you'd love it!!

  4. This sounds terrific! Definitely a must-read for me.


  5. I love historical fiction and this sounds quite good. I will have to track down the first in series. Thank you for your review.
    -Dilettantish Reader

  6. I love historical fiction and Tudor times, and I really enjoyed reading your review of it, thank you!

    Kind regards,

  7. One day I'll read every author I want to. I don't know when that day will be though! This one looks good to me.


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