The Tudor Secret

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The Tudor Secret

by C. W. Gortner, C. W. Gortner

St. Martin's Press | February 1, 2011 | Trade Paperback

The Tudor Secret is rated 3.5 out of 5 by 2.

The era of the Tudors was one of danger, intrigue, conspiracy, and, above all, spies.

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 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 only a bold stable boy and an 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.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 352 pages, 8.18 × 5.79 × 0.93 in

Published: February 1, 2011

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0312658508

ISBN - 13: 9780312658502

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from It took a while to get going for me 3.5 stars Brendan was abandoned as a baby and a servant in Robert Dudley's household took him in to raise and take care of him. He is now 20, and has been brought to Edward VI's court to serve Robert. While there, he becomes a spy for a number of people, while at the same time, he longs to find out who he is. It was good. It took a while for me to really get into it, and I found the second half a little more intriguing, as Brendan learned more and more. Often, at the start, I kept picturing Brendan as much younger than her was - that could be due to his innocence regarding the royal court. I am happy it picked up in the second half, but I'm not sure if I'll continue the series or not.
Date published: 2011-10-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Filled with intrigue and espionage. Definitely a must read I have a thing where I love any historical fiction that has a lot of intrigue and mystery. I also love the politics behind the court. I’m fascinated by it. This book has everything you want. Intrigue, mystery, twists and turns, some action, a bit of romance, it’s a mixture of everything! however it’s so well written and well done that it doesn’t feel like it’s been put together sloppily. The plot flows and the pace is even. What I liked the most is the point of view of the character. Most historical fiction novels take place in the viewpoint of someone who’s Royalty, and almost always it’s a female character. So, seeing the story from Brendan’s eyes is definitely something different and I would say, refreshing. It’s about time we see it from a guy’s point of view! and a ‘nobody’ at that!. I’d have to say I liked him from the start. He’s easily likable and his development throughout the novel was from a young man with an almost childlike naivete to someone who’s well versed in how to behave and act in court, and who’s about to become a double agent (so to speak). I thought the change was very well done. Brendan matured throughout the novel and the transition was smooth. I’m a huge fan of political intrigue, and this book has a lot of it. I loved the double crossing, the secrets revealed, and the deeds done in the past that are coming back to haunt certain individuals in the book. The Dudleys are as scheming and ruthlessly ambitious as ever (and I still have a strong dislike for Robert Dudley. Always have. Always will). Frances Brandon follows close behind on my hate list. It’s amazing how ambition and greed takes precedence over everything else and brings out the worst in people. It might be a challenge to keep track of all the intrigue however once you get all the characters straightened out, everything does fall into place. Besides Brendan, I’ve taken a liking to Cecil. Although he’s also a sneaky sly character who uses Brendan, and others to his own purposes and agenda, I like how he underhandedly talks himself out of a tense situation and manages to turn it around. He remains unharmed and still in a powerful position as Elizabeth’s advisor. He’s a very ‘quiet’ character, yet his behind the scenes actions make the plot interesting and makes it move forward with Brendan’s help. I think it might have helped to have a little family tree chart handy, or at least a list of characters for those that might not be familiar with Tudor history it does get slightly confusing towards the end it takes a bit to straighten out Brendan’s connections and ties with other families. However, those well versed in the history, will have no problem. Other than that, there is no other issue I can think of with this novel. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and as this is the first book in the Spymaster Chronicles, I am waiting for the next one! I loved the intrigue. Absolutely loved it. I definitely recommend this for historical fiction lovers of Tudor history.
Date published: 2011-02-22

– More About This Product –

The Tudor Secret

The Tudor Secret

by C. W. Gortner, C. W. Gortner

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 352 pages, 8.18 × 5.79 × 0.93 in

Published: February 1, 2011

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0312658508

ISBN - 13: 9780312658502

About the Book

A fast-moving tale of espionage and suspense . . . The dazzling cast of characters includes the father of modern intelligence work, as well as one of England's greatest statesmen and at its heart, the brilliant and enigmatic Elizabeth.--Margaret George ("The Autobiography of Henry VIII").

Read from the Book

WHITEHALL, 1553 Chapter One Like everything important in life, it began with a journey—the road to London, to be exact, my first excursion to that most fascinating and sordid of cities.We started out before daybreak, two men on horseback. I had never been farther than Worcestershire, which made Master Shelton’s arrival with my summons all the more unexpected. I scarcely had time to pack my few belongings and bid farewell to the servants (including sweet Annabel, who’d wept as if her heart might break) before I was riding from Dudley Castle, where I’d spent my entire life, unsure of when, or if, I would return again.My excitement and apprehension should have been enough to keep me awake. Yet I soon found myself nodding off to sleep, lulled by the monotony of the passing countryside and my roan Cinnabar’s comfortable amble.Master Shelton startled me awake. “Brendan, lad, wake up. We’re almost there.”I sat up in my saddle. Blinking away my catnap, I reached up to straighten my cap and found only my unruly thatch of light auburn hair. When he first arrived to fetch me, Master Shelton had frowned at its length, grumbling that Englishmen shouldn’t go about unshorn like the French. He wouldn’t be pleased by the loss of my cap, either.“Oh, no.” I looked at him.He regarded me impassively. A puckered scar ran across his left cheek, marring his rugged features. Not that it mattered. Archie Shelton had never been a handsome man. Still, he had impressive stature and sat his steed with au
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From the Publisher

The era of the Tudors was one of danger, intrigue, conspiracy, and, above all, spies.

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 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 only a bold stable boy and an 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.

About the Author

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 lives in Northern California.

Editorial Reviews

A brilliantly executed plot and three-dimensional characters . . . this is historical fiction, and very well done at that; very highly recommended.

Bookclub Guide

An Original Essay by the Author

Elizabeth I: An Endless Fascination
Elizabeth Tudor, known as Elizabeth I, has exerted an endless fascination over our imaginations, even in looking at her life before she took the throne in 1558. She was the only surviving child of the glamorous, ill-fated Anne Boleyn, whose passionate liaison with Henry VIII shattered his twenty-four year marriage to Catherine of Aragon and set off a cataclysmic upheaval that changed England forever. Elizabeth's parents believed that the child Anne carried was the long-awaited prince Henry had been denied; Anne staked her claim, and her unborn child's legitimacy, on the fact that Henry and Catherine's marriage had been incestuous due to Catherine's previous marriage to Henry's deceased brother, Arthur--a marriage which Catherine steadfastly proclaimed had never been consummated. Yet the child Anne bore was not a boy but a girl--a child of controversy, destroyed hopes, and disappointment, of chaos and uncertainty. Elizabeth came into the world with what seemed to be a curse already writ into her fate. Within three years, Henry would send her mother to the sword and remarry four more times; she would gain a younger brother, Edward, as well as an older sister Mary, with whom she would engage in a near-lethal collision of wills; she would face a daunting fight for her life that would test her mettle to its core; and she would, if the legend is true, fall madly, impossibly in love with the one man she would never fully have.

Elizabeth's struggle for survival in one of the most treacherous courts in history and the glorious, often turbulent forty-four year reign that ensued upon her accession have become fodder for our entertainment for centuries. In many ways, this brittle red-haired princess with the enigmatic eyes and spidery fingers--An Original Essay by the Author

so reminiscent of her mother--personifies our loftiest ideals of emancipation: Elizabeth refused to marry and never bore children (despite numerous rumors to the contrary), sacrificing her body and her heart for her country; she was arguably as alluring as Anne Boleyn yet never fell prey to the pitfalls that Anne paid for in blood; she displayed the fickle, silver-tongued wit that catapulted her mother to fame, coupled with the cruel, sometimes tyrannical temperament that transformed her father into a monstrous figure. Yet unlike Anne, whose tragic destiny overshadows her intense joie de vivre, or Henry, whose golden splendor is muted by the horrors of his later years, we tend to forgive Elizabeth's foibles and her mistakes, indeed even her bloodiest blunders; we forget her carcinogenic eccentricities and look past her capricious excesses, because we recognize in her a nobility of purpose, a single-minded drive to succeed, no matter the odds. We feel that we know her, intimately.

Elizabeth excelled in a time when few women could. Though she owed a debt to those who paved the way before her--such as the formidable Isabella of Castile and the flint-hearted Eleanor of Aquitaine--and she shared her stage with such unforgettable ladies as the embattled Catherine de Medici, queen-mother of France, and her own cousin, the flighty, irresistible Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, Elizabeth transcended even these legends to become a mythical heroine in her own right, a figure apart from the porous mortality of her contemporaries--autonomous, instantly recognizable, inimitable, and uniquely unforgettable.

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