The Tudor Secret: A Novel

The Tudor Secret: A Novel

by C. W. Gortner
4.1 27

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The Tudor Secret: A Novel by C. W. Gortner

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, C. W. Gortner's The Tudor Secret is the first book in The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429993180
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 02/01/2011
Series: Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles , #1
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 73,546
File size: 534 KB

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.
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.

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Tudor Secret 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Sensitivemuse More than 1 year ago
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.
HistoricallyObsessed More than 1 year ago
C.W. Gortner really is the best when it comes to exploring the "what if" factor. I love that a key component of The Tudor Secret's story line is a case of "what if". I recommend that if you are a staunch supporter of complete historical accuracy then I am going to tell you right now this novel will not be meant for you. On the other hand if you happen to be more like me and do not find it imperative to have complete historical accuracy then "The Tudor Secret" is the perfect historical entertainment for all Tudor lovers. Brendan Prescott, hot name Hu, I think so too. Hot Brendan knew he was foundling even at a young age. He was cared for by Alice who found Brendan as a babe outside a cottage on the Dudley's homestead. Alice was a Dudley servant and she raised Brendan as her own son that is until she was killed on the road when he was in his early teens. This novel is darker than others I have read because you find that Brendan has a dark past with the Dudley brothers. To say they were atrocious to him would be an understatement. The Dudley brothers were barbarous and cold to Brendan but mostly because of their own self-serving reasons. When they wanted to the boys together could be merciless but even scarier yet was their mother. Pure evil in this one, she was cruel to him when he was just but a child. After Alice was gone Brendan found the house Stewart master Shelton took him under his wing and made sure he was to be his future replacement as the Dudley's household Stewart. Brendan's day came when at twenty one he was called to plunge head first into the murkiness known as the Tudor court. The Tudor succession was on rough footing with all the intrigue raging between the nobles and courtiers; everyone had something to hide especially the Dudley family even down to the lowly squire Brendan. Brendan from the start was to be Robert Dudley's man even though they despised each other more than that they despised each other. This novel does not show the pretty side of Robert instead Gortner chooses to focus on Robert's more devious traits. Flat out Robert was extremely vain, short tempered, and rude to his staff, but I can see where it is coming from because he was or could have been all of the above in my mind. I love it that Brendan as soon as he is as court has like a sixth sense about people and he just knows things are amiss in Tudor court even if he cannot comprehend it at the time. On Brendan's first reporting to his Lord Robert Dudley: Robert demanded that fresh to court Brendan go and hand deliver a ring to the king's sister Lady Elizabeth. As we all know Elizabeth was the light of Robert's life. In trying to accomplish Lord Roberts's outlandish task Brendan falls like Alice fell in wonderland into a rabbit hole of disturbing deceit that he was completely unprepared for. Propelled between the dead King Henry's children; Edward, Mary, And Elizabeth for in what seemed like a domino effect of constant intrigue Brendan finds he has no other choice but to just keep going because in the Tudor court there can be no looking back. Everything Brendan touched drew a reaction and when he was forced to touch upon the courts world of "half-truths" he had no choice but to get caught up in the mysterious happens of the Tudors. In the Tudor court it was not easy to ride the wave of shifting powers, for Brendan it would be sink or swim in the sea of Tudor England.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nothing much happened.
pagese More than 1 year ago
I was a little hesitant to jump on board with this book. I wasn't sure I would like it. I have no idea why because I ended up really loving this book. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Brendan Prescott. His story was completely predictable but I love how he manages to work all sides of the fence. Everyone doubts his true loyalties, but yet they like what he can do for them. He's willing to put his neck on the line and they are more than happy to let him! When he learns a little bit of the truth of who he really is, he takes it into stride. I also think it explains his loyalty. I enjoyed reading about the conspiracy behind King Edward's death. It may not have happened exactly like that, but it made for an exciting story. I also enjoyed reading about the plot to put Jane Grey on the throne. I've never heard it from this type of point of view. I think most exciting to me was the portrayal of Robert Dudley. Historical fiction tends to romanticize him, branded the man that Elizabeth could never have. I have read a few that paint him a little darker. But, his version of Robert is down right unlikable. He painted as selfish and conniving and left me doubting whether he really ever cared for Elizabeth. A book that fits into my favorites of dramatized Tudor historical fiction. I can't wait to read the next one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love historical fiction, and enjoyed this book about the turmoil of the succession after the death of Edward VI. We have plots within plots and betrayal after betrayal. I look forward to the further adventures of Gortner's fictional character, Brendan Prescott.
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JConMartin More than 1 year ago
I'll not explain my review title to avoid a spoiler for readers about to take themselves into the time of Elizabeth I. You'll know when you finish this riveting historical. You'll go behind the scenes as Henry's son Edward lies dying and various plots evolve among several parties hoping to put forward Elizabeth and Mary, Henry VIII's daughters. At the same time one contingent places the tragic Jane Grey on the throne for her nine-day reign. Thrust into this is C. W. Gortner's Brendan Prescott, the reluctant hero who manages to play an important role in the life of Elizabeth. It's a non-stop spy novel from the male point of view, a welcome variation on the many Tudor stories. Highly recommended. James Conroyd Martin Author of PUSH NOT THE RIVER & AGAINST A CRIMSON SKY
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Jasmyn9 More than 1 year ago
15. The Tudor Secret by C.W. Gortner Welcome back to the Tudor court (one of my favorite places to read about). King Edward is sick and rumored to be dieing. The kingdom is in an uproar, and the regent prepares to put Jane Grey on the throne, usurping both Princess Mary and Princess Elizabeth. Enter Brendan Prescott, an orphan raised by the Dudley family at their country estate, sent to court to serve their son Robert. But as everyone in the Tudor era seems to, they have an ulterior motive. Brendan finds himself sucked into a web of intrigue revolving around a plot to imprison and possibly execute the Princesses. Overall, a very interesting story. The author admits to taking liberty with some of her characters and expanding on rumors that were very vague in the time. I had two big complaints. One, that there were a few contradictions in the story. People were said to have one point of view or opinion only to have it miraculously flip a couple of chapters later without any explanation. Two, the romance in the story seems to spring out of nowhere. I was very much blindsided by it. Once I paused and went back, just accepting it and moving on, it was a nice part of the overall story. The characters grew and developed, but it was all very abrupt and made things a bit choppy. If there is a second in the series, I will probably give it a try and give the author another chance to smooth out the flow of her story. 2.5/5
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BookReviewsByMolly More than 1 year ago
Incredible. Fabulous. Page turning suspense. I absolutely fell in love with this book instantly! C.W. Gortner writes his novels in such a way that his readers become the story. That's what happened to me with this awesome first installment to Gortner's Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles. Reading Brendan Prescott's story and his life as a spy, so to speak, in exchange for finding out about his past and who he really is, was thrilling. The treason that takes place amongst this story, is indescribable as it lends the action to the story. It fascinated me to turn each page and see a new twist each time. At times, I found my heart racing as I waited to see what would have to Brendan, as he sets forth to protect Elizabeth. To read these kinds of novels about real people mixed with fictional characters in a fictional setting, is outstanding. I could go on and on about this thrilling, suspenseful treason filled novel, but if I do, I fear that I'll give away spoilers, and I don't do that, so I will stop here. But, I will tell you this: you MUST give this series start a try. Words and 5 star praises aren't enough to do this author's work justice. His research is outstanding, and his stories instantly capture the reader. If you love History, the Tudor era and fantastic writing, DO NOT MISS Gortner's 5 star novel. I can't wait until the second installment to this incredible spymaster series, as well as going back and reading his novel, The Last Queen!
HistoricalFictionChick More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of C.W. Gortner's The Confessions of Catherine de Medici and The Last Queen and so when the opportunity to review The Tudor Secret came my way, I quickly seized it! And I was not disappointed! As a newborn babe Brendan Prescott was abandoned on the grounds of the powerful Dudley family. Taken in and raised at Dudley Castle, Brendan is tormented daily by the Dudley brothers, in particular the handsome, yet arrogant Robert. As the book opens, we find Brendan riding towards the court of Edward VI, where John Dudley is Lord Protector, to begin his service as squire to his old adversary Robert. Not long after coming to court, Brendan is solicited by William Cecil to assist in uncovering a plot against the Princess Elizabeth, which they believe is lead by the ambitious Dudley family. While unearthing secrets at court, Brendan is hoping to find answers to his own mystery.the identity of his parents and the truth behind his birth. The Tudor Secret was a quick, light read with an entertaining mystery within a mystery. Brendan is a very charming character, as are his sidekicks Kate, the feisty lady-in-waiting and young Peregrine, stable boy turned spy's assistant, I just adored! Though it wasn't as historically heavy as Gortner's other two novels, The Tudor Secret is nonetheless an entertaining and fun read and I am very much looking forward to the next book in the series.
ZQuilts More than 1 year ago
I am a real fan of C.W. Gortner's work and was thrilled to be given an opportunity to read and review this latest book. This volume, the first of a chronicle series, introduces us to the character of Brandon Prescott. Brandon was found as a newborn and was taken into the Dudley household by their herbalist and nurse, Alice. The Dudley family is wealthy, powerful& avaricious. Close to the boy King - Edward VI - the Dudleys have wielded their power over the throne and are poised to keep Henry VIII's daughters Mary and Elizabeth from ever reaching the throne by marrying their youngest son, Guilford, son to Lady Jane Grey (daughter of Henry VIII's sister, Mary). Jane was, of course, later called the 9 days queen - which tells you what happened to the grand Dudley scheme. Brandon is brought up in the midst of the Dudley family; treated as an orphan and scape goat of the Dudley boys, but, when the family is away at Court, Brandon has access to the many books owned by the Dudleys and schools himself in languages and history. Suddenly Brandon finds himself packed up and on the way to Court to serve as Robert Dudley's squire as payment for his upbringing. As soon as he is presented at Court he quickly becomes embroiled in a game of power and politics. An overheard comment that he "bears the mark of the Rose" brings back the pain of not knowing who his mother. Brandon wonders what the comment - and the hidden birthmark on his thigh- mean. Does someone know who his family is? Brandon begins to search for answers to his lineage. He learns to live by his quick wits. When he is introduced to the Lady Elizabeth he quickly becomes aligned with her & aids her as she seeks to gain access to her dying brother, Edward, in order to say good-bye. Access to the dying boy king was rigorously controlled by the Dudley clan, but Brandon plots a scheme to allow Elizabeth to see her brother. Along the way, Brandon is kidnapped, and ultimately brought to the home of William Cecil who sets him a task and enmeshes him in the world of spycraft. Sir Fracis Walsingham is portrayed as a shadowy figure whose presence adds to the winding turns of the plot. The true heir to the throne of England after Edward is Mary, and she finally discovers that her brother has died - the Dudleys did not make that information public for some time after his death - and gathers her forces to march on London to reclaim her crown from Guilford Dudley and Jane Grey. This book is not as large a book as C.W. Gortner's earlier historical novels about Juana of Castile (The Last Queen) and Catherine de Medici (The Confessions of Catherine De Medici), nor is it, perhaps, as historically based. That being said, it does, indeed, carry the true flavor of the time,speaks of real persons, events and history and you don't have to reach reach too far to see how the plot could have been plausible. Who is Brandon Prescott (answered in the book)? How does he come to work for William Cecil and what will his next assignments be? This book really sets up the series and I can't wait for the next volume! This is another winner for Mr.Gortner and I am now eagerly awaiting the next book in this chronicle series! Any C.W. Gortner fan, historical fiction fan or Tudor fan will be thrilled with this excellent read!