Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Review + Giveaway - The Tudor Secret by C.W. Gortner

The Tudor Secret (The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles)

TITLE:    The Tudor Secret (The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles)
AUTHOR:    C.W. Gortner
INFO:    Paperback, Fiction, 327 pages
PUBLISHED:   St. Martin's Press, 2011
ISBN#:   978-0-312-65850-2
HOW I GOT IT:   Received from Publisher for Review and Blog Tour

 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.

The adventure starts immediately as we are on the road to London with Master Shelton and Brendan Prescott.  Court intrigues start before Brendan and Master Shelton even arrive. 

Here's an excerpt of the moment that the author chooses as one of his favorites (did you read the great interview with him yesterday?):

There are moments that define our existence, moments that, if we recognize them, become pivotal turning points in our life. Like pearls on a strand, the accumulation of such moments will in time become the essence of our life, providing solace when our end draws near.

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.”
I was immediately immersed in this story.  We are with Brendan every step of the way as he tries to navigate the treacherous waters ~ literally at times, of London and life amongst the privileged.  I enjoyed the author's subtle way of using dialogues to fill us in on certain historical points that help the story along.  The touches of humor and the fast-paced action kept me reading until I was finished in the wee hours of the morning. 

I am looking forward to the next installment in the Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles.  The characters, especially Brendan are well-written and pull you in to become invested in their story.  I highly recommend this book and give it a full 5 JEWELS!  ~ The hubby has already swiped my copy and is reading it now.

Out of 5 JEWELS, I give it:

Thanks to the publisher and Pump It Up Book Tours we have a copy of The Tudor Secret for one lucky winner!

This contest is open to US Residents, no PO Boxes.  Drawing will close on 2/28/11.  Winner will be notified by email and have 48 hours to respond.  To enter, leave a comment on THIS post and tell me your favorite time period to read about.  Prize will be shipped from the publisher.  

In case you don't want to wait ~ and why would you?  The Tudor Secret is available now at the following stores:  Amazon, The Book Depository, Powell's Books, IndieBound

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~~~~~ Disclaimer:  All opinions expressed on this blog are 100% my own.  I do not receive monetary compensation for my reviews but do utilize affiliate links.  I may receive books in  order to facilitate a review, but this does not guarantee a good review - only a completely honest one.  Each review post denotes how I obtained the book.


  1. Tudor England is one of my favorites - definitely in the top two. I also love to read about the Civil War era. The Tudor Secret looks so great!
    Thank you!

  2. I love to read about the turn of the century (as in 19th to 20th).

  3. I enjoy so many eras of British history, but I guess my favorite would be any that involve the Plantagenents. I'm a little tired of the Tudors but this novel sounds like a fresh approach to Elizabethan England. Thanks for the giveaway.

  4. I love Regency England and ancient Rome. Thanks for the giveaway.

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

  5. I read many genres and enjoy reading about different time periods. I don't have a favorite one.


  6. I have always been partial to the Regency period, but I enjoy most of the eras. I enjoy learning about them all.

    This looks like a great read!! Saw it on the internet a couple days ago and put it on my list!!!


  7. Please enter me! I read a lot of historical fiction across time, but my favorite time periods are colonial America, and England when the Plantagenets ruled. I also love anything to do with Scottish history and the French Revolution. ~ Let Them Read Books

  8. My favorite time period to read about is the here and now -- it's easier to relate to, but I enjoy reading historical fiction too :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!

  9. This sounds like one I would definitely enjoy. I'm not sure what my favorite time period would be - maybe Victorian.

    carolsnotebook at yahoo dot com

  10. I think I most enjoy reading about the Victorian era.
    thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

  11. This is a great period to read about, so full of intrigue and secrets. Please enter me in this contest.


  12. Tudors is my favorite era
    Great giveaway
    follow via gfc

  13. This book sounds very interesting.

    I'm not sure I have only one favorite period to read about. I love history so much; I read about many different eras. Years ago, Tudor England was my first favorite because I like Elizabeth I.

  14. I like all different time periods from Victorian to Regency to Edwardian.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

  15. The time period or should say time periods- Ancient Rome, Greek , Scottish and Civil War.


  16. Please enter me to the giveaway. This looks a really good book.

  17. I love the 17th and 18th centuries. So much discovery and adventure to be had throughout the world during this time period :)

    hense1kk AT cmich dot edu

  18. Regency England! With the beautiful dresses, amazing paries, and such gossip! How could you not love it!

  19. Fascinated by the Elizabethans.

  20. My favorite time in history to read is anything about the Tudors.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  21. My favorite, hard to choose. Regency. =)

  22. Thanks for the giveaway! That's a tough question to answer because it all depends on my mood at the moment. And at this moment it's 16th century Scotland.


  23. The Tudor era IS my favorite time period to read about.


  24. European and English history - especially with royalty from about 1400 to mid 1800's - most fun! this book would be perfect!

    sksweeps (at) earthlink (dot) net

  25. The medieval period.

    dwarzel at

  26. My favorite time period to read about is actually the Elizabethan period - I have a degree in History and English Lit that specialized in Elizabethan and Renaissance studies.


  27. I enjoy reading about American Colonial times.

  28. I like to flit back and forth thru the Ages, but Elizabethan is certainly one of my favorites.


  29. I like to read about the old west.

  30. Oh, it's so hard to pick! I love reading about Ancient Egypt, but I also love anything in Dark Ages Europe too... Thanks for the giveaway!

    kiwidragon117 at yahoo dot com

  31. I enjoy reading about the Civil War period.

    jas8929 at gmail dot com

  32. I enjoy reading about the 1960's in America. wgbc1446[at]

  33. I enjoy reading about different time periods. The Civil War is interesting and so is the Regency period.
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

  34. I enjoy all time periods, but my favorite is the 1960's.

  35. Elizabethan era but also English history through most eras

  36. I love to read about the Tudors, Borgias and Cleopatra

  37. Great excerpt! I like reading in the 1700-1800's.

    meredithfl at gmail dot com

  38. The only timeperiod I don't like to read about is during the first and second world wars. Other than that I love them all.
    april dot vrugtman at gmail dot com

  39. My favorite time period to read about is the US in the 1920's and 1930s.

  40. I love Regency and Georgian romances, and I've read a couple of non-fiction books about the Tudor era, after becoming captivated by "The Tudors" television series.

  41. I don't really have a favorite historical period, since a good story can be made of so much of history. I do enjoy both British and American history the most though.

    cgclynsg0 @ gmail dot com

  42. The 1970s!


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