Review: The Tudor Secret (Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles) by C.W. Gortner

by C.W. Gortner

Release Date:  February 1, 2011
St. Martin's Griffin


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.


I am a huge fan of C.W. Gortner’s The Confessions of Catherine de Medici and The Last Queen and so when the opportunity to review The Tudor Secret came my way, I quickly seized it! And I was not disappointed!

As a newborn babe Brendan Prescott was abandoned on the grounds of the powerful Dudley family. Taken in and raised at Dudley Castle, Brendan is tormented daily by the Dudley brothers, in particular the handsome, yet arrogant Robert. As the book opens, we find Brendan riding towards the court of Edward VI, where John Dudley is Lord Protector, to begin his service as squire to his old adversary Robert. Not long after coming to court, Brendan is solicited by William Cecil to assist in uncovering a plot against the Princess Elizabeth, which they believe is lead by the ambitious Dudley family. While unearthing secrets at court, Brendan is hoping to find answers to his own mystery…the identity of his parents and the truth behind his birth.

The Tudor Secret was a quick, light read with an entertaining mystery within a mystery. Brendan is a very charming character, as are his sidekicks Kate, the feisty lady-in-waiting and young Peregrine, stable boy turned spy’s assistant, I just adored! Though it wasn’t as historically heavy as Gortner’s other two novels, The Tudor Secret is nonetheless an entertaining and fun read and I am very much looking forward to the next book in the series.

Favorite Quote: “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.”

To read more, please visit C.W. Gortner's WEBSITE and BLOG.



  1. Gortner is an author I really need to read but haven't had a chance to yet!

  2. I love your favourite quote! I am going to copy it out and keep it somewhere to look at it often.

  3. Love spy stories. They come with danger,intrigue, mystery and sometimes action. A light read is appreciated. We read for information but entertainment is key also. I'll be keeping my eyes open for this one.

  4. I dearly love this time in history. So much danger for so many people especially those close to the court. I keep saying that I wish more of these books about the Tudors were available for students in school so they would have a better appreciation for the people and events that shaped history.

  5. glad to hear you liked this one. i've been eyeing it ;-D


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