The Tudor Secret: Book summary and reviews of The Tudor Secret by C. W. Gortner

The Tudor Secret

The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles

By C. W. Gortner

The Tudor Secret
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2011,
    352 pages.

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About this book

Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Gortner handles action with aplomb, adding a riveting, fast-paced thriller to the crowded genre of Tudor fiction." - Publishers Weekly

"An exciting, vividly rendered story of intrigue and espionage." - Booklist

"A brilliantly executed plot and three-dimensional characters ... this is historical fiction, and very well done at that; very highly recommended." - Historical Novels Review, Editors' Choice

"C.W. Gortner weaves 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. Never have spy and counterspy been more challenged, villains more duplicitous, and life for those in power--or hoping to be--more dangerous. A haunting look at the velvet peril of Tudor England." - Margaret George, author of The Autobiography of Henry VIII

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Angie G. (Hagerstown, MD)
The Tudor Secret
If you are looking for a light, enjoyable mystery then this may be the book for you. The book moved along at an easy pace and the historical setting was engaging. If you are looking for historical accuracy then this may not be the book for you.
I facilitate an adult book discussion group at a library. I would not select this as a discussion book but would recommend it to those interested in this genre.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Terrie J. (Eagan, MN)
A Fun Twist on History
I really enjoyed this book. I love a mystery and am not a big fan of historical fiction, but trying to be. This book has set me on my path to read more historical fiction. I loved the character development and the twists that the book took. It put a fun twist on historical fact. I would recommend this book and will read more of the series.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Nikki R. (Irvine, CA)
Quick Read
I have to say I did enjoy this book although it will not go down as a favorite in the same way my last read, The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver will. I found it an easy, quick read bordering on a summer beach book. The historical aspects were present in a pleasing fashion encouraging you to pursue more in depth information. As this is apparently the first in the Brendan Prescott spymaster series I look forward to others.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Juli S. (Portland, OR)
Not sure I'll continue with the series
I knew from his previous book about Catherine de Medici that I enjoyed C.W. Gortner’s writing, but this one fell a bit flat for me. It started out promising with an apparently naïve young man being sent to court at a time when scheming and plotting was at its dirtiest and nastiest. Within a few short pages he’s gone from his first exposure to life at court to being sharp enough to be conscripted as a spy for a member of Elizabeth’s inner circle. I know it’s historical fiction but some of the quick turnarounds and emotional attachments in this one just seemed too quick.

Despite that, I liked Brendan Prescott as a character. He seemed to have a strong inner place from which he made his decisions and alliances. The secondary characters that he joined up with along the way were interesting and for a planned series might make a good core of recurring characters.

I know it’s planned as a series, but I’m just not sure it’s a series I’ll bother to continue reading.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Mary L. (Madison, MS)
Excellent historical mysery
I highly recommend this first in a new series set in Tudor England. The book is well written and the characters quickly become real to the reader.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Marion T. (Palatine, IL)
The Tudor Secret
I am a lover of historical fiction and I enjoyed this read. "The Tudor Secret" fulfills most of my requirements. It is a good quick read, fast moving, mix with facts, figures and intrigue. It has detailed descriptions of life in the courts and London in the period. However, it does lack character development and depth. That being said I do look forward to the next in the series.

...38 more reader reviews

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Author Information

C. W. Gortner Author Biography

Photo: Stephanie Mohan

C. W. Gortner, half-Spanish by birth, holds an M.F.A. in writing, with an emphasis on historical studies, from the New College of California and has taught university courses on women of power in the Renaissance. He was raised in Málaga, Spain, and now lives in California.

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Link to C. W. Gortner's Website

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