TITLE: The Tudor Secret (The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles)
AUTHOR: C.W. Gortner
INFO: Paperback, Fiction, 327 pages
PUBLISHED: St. Martin's Press, 2011
HOW I GOT IT: Received from Publisher for Review and Blog Tour
FROM GOODREADS: 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, he 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 Elizabeth's 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 series.
MY TAKE: I have always been fascinated by the history of the nobles and royalty of England and most of Europe. I have to admit that the Tudors are one of the most intriguing. It is amazing how much of an impact they had on the world in a relatively short period of time. This story is a wonderful addition to the lore of the Elizabethans.
For me, meeting Elizabeth Tudor was one of those moments.
The first I noticed was that she was not beautiful. Her chin was too narrow for the oval of her face, her long thin nose emphasizing the high curve of her cheeks and proud brow. Her mouth was disproportionately wide and her lips too thin, as if she savored secrets. And she was too pale and slim, like a fey creature of indeterminate sex.
Then I met her stare. Her eyes were fathomless, over-wide pupils limning her gold irises, like twin suns in eclipse. I had seen eyes like hers before, years ago, when a traveling menagerie entertained us at Dudley Castle. Then, too, I had been captured by their dormant power.
She had the eyes of a lion.
“Lord Robert’s squire?” she said to Cecil. “How can it be? I’ve never seen him before.”
“I’m new to court, Your Grace,” I answered. “Your dog is foreign, is he not?”
She shot me a terse look; she’d not given me leave to speak. “He is Italian. You are familiar with the breed?”
“I had occasion to learn many things during my time in the Dudley stables.”
“Is that so?” She tilted her head. “Hold out your hand.”
I hesitated for a moment before warily extending my wrist. She loosened her grip on the chain. The hound thrust his muzzle at me. I almost recoiled as I felt his breath on my skin. He sniffed. To my relief, he licked my skin and retreated.
“You have a way with animals,” Elizabeth said. “Urian rarely takes to strangers.” She motioned me to my feet. “What is your name?”
“Brendan Prescott, Your Grace.”
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