Book Spotlight: "The Tudor Secret' 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, 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 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.



Read an excerpt!

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.”

Read the reviews!

“Fast moving suspense . . . the velvet peril of Tudor England comes alive in this haunting look at Elizabeth I’s secret spy.”

–Margaret George, bestselling author of The Autobiography of Henry VIII

"In Gortner's latest riveting historical, the influential Dudley family sends orphan servant Brendan Prescott to serve their cruel son, Lord Robert, at King Edward's court, and the young man is soon caught up in intrigue, suspicion, and shifting loyalties. . . In Gortner's capable hands, Prescott is a believable and enjoyable hero. . .though readers familiar with the Tudor era will know the key players, they may be surprised by their depiction here. Gortner handles action with aplomb, adding a riveting, fast-paced thriller to the crowded genre of Tudor fiction."

—Publisher's Weekly

"Even Tudor fans who know the main players and historical backdrop will be captivated by Gortner's storytelling and his engaging hero. [Gortner] juxtaposes his naive and loyal hero with the cruel Robert Dudley, enhancing the plot and grabbing reader interest as much as the quick pace and lush historical references. This novel is both entertaining and thoughtful."

— ****Romantic Times (reviewed by Kathe Robin

"A brilliantly executed plot and three-dimensional characters . . . this is historical fiction, and very well done at that; very highly recommended."

—Historical Novels Review, Editors’ Choice (reviewed by Michael DiSchiavi)




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 divides his time between Northern California and Antigua, Guatemala.


The Tudor Secret is the first book in Gortner’s The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles series.


You can visit the author online at www.cwgortner.com or his blog at http://historicalboys.blogspot.com/.

You can purchase a copy of The Tudor Secret by C.W. Gortner at Amazon.com. It is also available in a Kindle edition.
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