Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Review: The Tudor Secret by C.W. Gortner

The Tudor Secret by C.W. Gortner
★ ★ ★ ★ 1/2
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Review copy sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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, The Tudor Secret is the first book in The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles.
Review: This was my first time reading a book by C.W. Gortner, even though I have The Confessions of Catherine de Medici on my TBR bookshelf. I’ve heard nothing but good things about his work so I was thrilled when I was asked to read his latest book The Tudor Secret, which is book 1 in the Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles. I wasn’t disappointed folks!  

Brendan Prescott is a foundling (orphan) discovered by the Dudley’s housekeeper and herbalist, Mistress Alice. She was the closest thing he had to a mother and she brought him up to read and write behind Lady Dudley’s back. One day Brendan was told that Mistress Alice was killed while traveling, which crushed him. All he had left of her was a strange medallion with a leaf and red ruby on it. What Brendan did not know was that medallion was the key to who he really is.

In trying to discover his true identity while also protecting Her Grace Princess Elizabeth, many obstacles stood in Brendan’s way. It was almost like bad luck followed him everywhere he went. He had plenty of near death experiences, but he always had his trusty friend Peregrine to look out for him. Once Brendan discovered who he was he didn’t at first believe it. He now understood that knowing his past was more dangerous than not knowing at all and he now wished he never found out the truth.

Although not completely historically accurate, The Tudor Secret was a great easy read that I loved to curl up with before going to bed. It was jam packed with thrill seeking adventure, secrets, lies, and deceit with a hint of romance. One thing that bothered me about this book, which may not bother most, was how quickly Brendan and Kate fell in love. One minute they are fighting and don’t trust one another and they next thing I know they are in love. I just didn’t think it was believable. It was only a minute distraction that didn’t hinder my judgment of the book nor Gortner’s work in the least. 

What I loved most about the book was how Elizabeth was portrayed. I hate when authors make her out to be some raging woman who can’t control her temper. Yes I do know she had a temper, but I doubt at least I would like to think she had some kindness in her and she wasn’t always angry. She was just a woman who knew what she wanted and wouldn’t let men tell her what to do. Okay I will stop preaching now but I think Gortner did an excellent job balancing the two personalities. 

Final thoughts: The Tudor Secret makes me want to pick up The Confessions of Catherine de Medici right now! I would have liked it to have seen a little more historical facts, but overall fantastic read! I would recommend this to any HF reader, but if you’re looking for something more historically accurate about the Tudors then this isn’t it the right book.


  1. Great review! I'm looking forward to this one as well - it's on my TBR pile. :)

  2. Awesome review! I have read Catherine AND this book and they are both AWESOME! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Gortner's work and can't wait for more in this particular series!

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

  4. Confessions of Catherine de Medici does not disappoint! The Last Queen is also excellent. I haven't read The Tudor Secret yet.