The Tudor Secret, by acclaimed historical novelist, C.W. Gortner.
It is the summer of 1553. The foundling, Brendan Prescott, who was raised by the powerful Dudley family, is summoned to court to be the squire to Robert Dudley. The Dudleys had never shown him any kindness in the past, so he approaches his new role with a heavy dose of trepidation.
A chance meeting with Princess Elizabeth finds Brendan drawn into the middle of the danger and intrigue that surrounds her world. Her brother, King Edward VI, is dying, and Elizabeth is determined to see him, despite those who wish to capture her and her half-sister, Princess Mary, to prevent them from ever taking the throne.
Brendan is promised the key to unlocking the secrets to his mysterious past; but with the help of an orphaned stable-boy and a lady-in-waiting, his primary goal is to protect Princess Elizabeth, at any and all cost.
I've read Gortner's The Last Queen and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici. I helped the author promote the latter of the two. Since the first book, I have been a huge fan of his work, so I was thrilled when he contacted me and requested my help in promoting his latest release.
While Gortner's previous novels have focused on strong women who defied convention, the spotlight of The Tudor Secret, is a fictional male character with a mysterious past who becomes an important player in protecting Princess Elizabeth and her half-sister Princess Mary. Though Elizabeth is a dominant figure throughout the story, for the first time, Gortner places his bet upon his a character of his own imagination to carry the day. And carry the day, he did.
Brendan is a sympathetic character from the start. A foundling, he was raised by the powerful Dudleys. It is odd that he would be brought to court by those who seemed to despise him. Brendan soon becomes entangled in a plot that involves the Dudleys, the dying King Edward VI, Elizabeth, and her protector, William Cecil. He is instantly taken by the Princess, and pledges his life to her service.
Along the way, Brendan meets Peregrine, an orphaned stable boy who brings back memories of his youth. Peregrine became one of my favorite characters. I'm hoping we see more of him as this series progresses.
Gortner has always had an eloquent style, but here he loosens the reins a bit and provides the reader with a lighter, and superbly told story of intrigue and suspense. When you believe you've uncovered the secrets, a new twist is introduced, which begs you to continue reading, no matter the hour.
I truly enjoyed The Tudor Secret and am eager for the release of the next book. Lovers of historical fiction, the Tudor era, and stories filled with action and suspense, will want to pick up a copy of this one.
Title: The Tudor Secret (The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles)
Author: C.W. Gortner
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
SRP: $14.99 (paperback)
Also available in a hardcover, audio, and a Kindle edition.
The author paid me to promote The Tudor Secret through a virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book! I received no monetary compensation to provide this review.