Book Review: The Tudor Secret

23 Feb

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, 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 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.

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 divides his time between Northern California and Antigua, Guatemala.

The Tudor Secret is the first book in Gortner’s The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles series.

You can visit the author online at or his blog at

Q&A with C W Gortner

My Impressions:

I have always been fascinated with English history and with the era of the Tudors in particular.  I’ve read books by Allison Weir, Jean Plaidy, Margaret George, etc. and watched the many movies featuring this era.  Most have centered on the main characters — the kings and queens and mistresses that played such an important part in the making of modern England.  But in The Tudor Secret the reader discovers a whole new world — the shadowy world of spies, intrigue and betrayal.  The Tudor Secret is a behind-the-scenes view of the reign of Elizabeth I.

Arriving at the English court in the last days of Edward VI,  Brendan Prescott is posted to serve as squire to Robert Dudley.  The Dudley family sheltered Brendan as a child, taking him in to be raised in the servants quarters of their great household.  No love is lost between Brendan and the Dudley clan.  Forced to endure the taunts and thrashings of the Dudley boys, Brendan grudgingly gives allegiance to their family.  But his first few days at court reveal the true nature of the Dudleys — grasping, greedy and self-seeking.  Brendan also makes the acquaintance of Princess Elizabeth and soon falls under her spell, vowing to do anything to safeguard her life.

Brendan also possesses a life or death secret.  And there are many willing to kill him to keep that secret undiscovered.

The Tudor Secret is an historical novel.  Set during the Tudor era, it is rich in description — you can almost feel the fabric of the fine gowns of the women, hear the clattering of footsteps of horses and armed men and smell the waste that runs the streets and fouls the River Thames.  Fortunately that is an almost!

But above all else this is a spy novel.  I found it to be riveting.  And even though I knew the outcome of the action, I was on the edge of my seat, unable to turn the pages fast enough.  The historical setting is just icing on the cake.

Recommended. (Content warning:  there is profanity and one sex scene that some may find offensive)

(I received The Tudor Secret from Pump Up Your Book in return for an honest review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

The Tudor Secret Tour Schedule

Tuesday, February 1

Interviewed at As the Pages Turn

Wednesday, February 2

Book spotlighted at The Writer’s Life

Guest blogging and giveaway at A Cozy Reader’s Corner Reviews

Thursday, February 3

Book reviewed at Broken Teepee

Friday, February 4

Book reviewed at Always with a Book

Monday, February 7

Book reviewed at Teresa’s Reading Corner

Book reviewed at Must Read Faster

Tuesday, February 8

Guest blogging at Book Tours and More

Wednesday, February 9

Book reviewed and giveaway at Book Reviews by Molly

Thursday, February 10

Book reviewed at Mom’s Tree House

Guest blogging, book reviewed, and giveaway at Wendi’s Book Corner

Friday, February 11

Book reviewed at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Monday, February 14

Guest blogging at Bags, Books and Bon Jovi

Tuesday, February 15

Book reviewed at A Room Without Books is Empty

Book reviewed and giveaway at Bags, Books and Bon Jovi

Interviewed at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Book reviewed and giveaway at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Thursday, February 17

Book spotlighted at Broowaha

Book reviewed at My Reading Room

Friday, February 18

Book reviewed at Life in Review

Book reviewed at Working Writers

Monday, February 21

Guest blogging and giveaway at Acting Balanced

Tuesday, February 22

Book reviewed at Acting Balanced

Book reviewed at Okbo Lover

Book reviewed, guest blogging, and giveaway at The Book Faery Reviews

Wednesday, February 23

Book Reviewed at By the Book

Book Reviewed at Healing Hearts

Thursday, February 24

Book reviewed at Peeking Between the Pages

Friday, February 25

Guest blogging and giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Book reviewed at The Book Connection

Book reviewed at CelticLady’s Reviews

2 Responses to “Book Review: The Tudor Secret”

  1. ccgevry February 23, 2011 at 8:44 am #

    Thanks for the superb review of Christopher’s latest. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for posting the trailer too. It went online after the tour started so I’m not sure how many people know it’s out there.

    I hope your readers check out this book. I’ve read all of his work and I’ve never been disappointed.


  2. C.W. Gortner February 23, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    Thank you for this marvelous review and for hosting me on my blog tour. I hope your readers enjoy THE TUDOR SECRET.

Comments are closed.