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The Tudor Secret (Elizabeths Spymaster 1) [Paperback]

Christopher Gortner
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

9 Jun 2011 Elizabeths Spymaster 1

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's Spymaster series.

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The Tudor Secret (Elizabeths Spymaster 1) + The Tudor Conspiracy: Elizabeth's Spymaster Two (Elizabeths Spymaster 2)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (9 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444720848
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444720846
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

C.W. Gortner is half-Spanish by birth and his formative years were spent in southern Spain, where his lifelong fascination with history began. After years of working as a fashion marketer and editor, C.W. returned to college to pursue a Masters in Fine Arts in Writing. He lives in Northern California with his partner of thirteen years and their Welsh Pembroke Corgi, and welcomes visitors at:

Product Description


Very highly recommended. (Editor's Choice, Historical Novels Review)

Compelling... a riveting blend of passion, power and betrayal. (Inside Soap on THE LAST QUEEN)

Disturbing royal secrets and court manipulations wickedly twist this enthralling story, brilliantly told. (Publishers Weekly on THE LAST QUEEN)

Book Description

Spies, intrigue and conspiracy in the Tudor court.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book - A Surprisingly Good Read 18 Nov 2011
By Mrs B
I really wasn't sure about this book when I bought it, but I am glad that I did. The Tudor Secret is full of intrigue, little plots and big ones, and interwoven ones. Christopher Gortner brings to life how dangerous it was to live in those times. I would thoroughly recommend that you give it a try. I shall be buying the next one in this series - it has got me hooked.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent mystery 11 Jun 2011
By DizzyC
Brendan Prescott, an orphan, tells his story beginning with his journey to London where he has been summoned to serve Robert Dudley at court. He is unsure why he, an oprhan has been chosen for this role, but he knows it is his chance for a better life.

He is well educated for an orphan, mainly self taught, borrowing from the library at the Dudley household, and he tells his story well leaving no detail out.

Once he arrives at court it soon becomes apparent that all is not well. The King is gravely ill and the Princesses are not safe. Brendan is asked to become a double agent. A task that is not without great risks and proves difficult as Brendan does not know what or who to trust.

Brendan also seeks the truth about his own past.

I have not read any novels in the Tudor period for a while as the style was all too familiar. This novel roused my interest in this period again with a fresh angle.

The author takes a big "what if" and weaves a mystery with fact and fiction. Without spoiling it for you, the
author has managed, with skill, to make the "what if" believable. In his own words he says "it is important to remember this is a work of fiction", and I did have to remind myself of the fictional elements as they were so neatly woven into the story.

I enjoyed the way the story raced across London and East Anglia. The characters real and fictional came to life from the pages of this novel. There is even time for a little romance in amongst the lies, double crossing, action and murder.

I am ready for the 2nd book in Elizabeth's Spymaster Series.

5 out of 5 for me!
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good story but lacks lustre! 17 Feb 2011
By Gella
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Tudor Secret is set towards the end of the Tudor dynasty. Henry VIII's son Edward is King, Mary is consumed with her catholicism and there is the young Princess Elizabeth being courted by Robert Dudley in order to secure his own family and then there is Guildford Dudley his father who is hatching a plot to bring Lady Jane Grey (the nine days queen) to the throne.

The central character is Brendon Prescott, a foundling who is offered a post as Squire to the Dudley family but is then intercepted by Cecil who wishes him to work as his Spymaster. It is essentially a good plot but has been told in many forms and although this was a paced novel, it is at times was rather slow.

Christopher Gortner lives in California and has a degree in Fine Arts Writing and has obviously researched for this book well, bearing in mind that it is a novel. However, despite it being a good sound story I am afraid for me it lacked the 'lustre' and 'atmosphere' of other books in this genre such as CJ Sansom and Rory Clements.

If you wish to 'dip your toe' into a historical novel to see if you would enjoy such a book, then this book is for you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tudor d'Artagnan 27 Oct 2012
"The Tudor Secret" is Christopher Gortner's third novel and like his previous two works, it is set in the sixteenth century. His first, "The Last Queen", was set in Spain; his second, "The Confessions of Catherine de Medici", in France. This time round, Gortner turns his attention to England in the sweltering summer of 1553 when the teenage King Edward VI has disappeared from public view, amidst rumours that his chief minister, the Duke of Northumberland, is hiding the young king away from the public's gaze in the hope of clinging onto power for himself. The king's two sisters - thirty-seven year-old Mary and nineteen year-old Elizabeth - are understandably suspicious, particularly Mary, a devout Roman Catholic who is next in line to inherit the crown if Edward dies without children. Taking it upon herself to discover the truth, Princess Elizabeth journeys to London and it is here, in the sprawling Palace of Whitehall, that she first meets Brendan Prescott, a young equestrian working for the Duke of Northumberland, the princesses' apparent arch-enemy. From this fateful meeting, "The Tudor Secret" spins a truly addictive adventure story around the mystery of Brendan's own identity and Princess Elizabeth's attempts to outwit whatever it is the Duke is planning to do.

Any student of British history will, of course, know that 1553 was the summer that saw Lady Jane Grey's fateful "nine days" on the throne. It is a testament to Christopher Gortner's writing style, therefore, that even though we know the overall outcome, "The Tudor Secret" manages to make the whole thing seem like a cliff-hanger. Even the few tiny unintentional errors - such as a confusion over forms of aristocratic address or etiquette do not really detract from the atmosphere.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful 9 Mar 2012
An awful book. Badly written with shallow characters and no feel for the period. This is not an alternative while you wait for a new CJ Sansom or Rory Clements. Avoid. Or least read a few pages in your library before replacing it on the shelf and moving on to something better. At least that way you will save yourself some money.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Then Tudor Secret
I loved this book,ideal for anyone who enjoys history, i cannot wait to read the next one by this author. Would certainly recommend it.
Published 1 day ago by Gordon from Durham
5.0 out of 5 stars live and breath with the characters.
I could not put this down. Very gripping. You living every part as you are there. Please do more in the series.
Published 1 month ago by rachel sparrowhawk
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written and very enjoyable
I was not sure I would like this book when it had been recommended to me but I was wrong.

It is very well written and very believable, even though the main characters in... Read more
Published 1 month ago by D. Daneri
4.0 out of 5 stars A likely tale?
Took me a while to enter into the likelihood of aTudor "wild shoot" springing forth from Henry VIII's favourite sister, but suspending belief and plunging in and just going... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Josephine Bowkett
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun, but unconvincing
Despite some reviews criticising the writing, I found it competent and readable. There is no attempt to imitate Tudor speech; the language is totally modern. Read more
Published 4 months ago by DMB
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story
I like a lot of historical novels, but had to admit that my knowledge of this particular era was not very strong. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
I read "The Tudor Conspiracy" (the sequel to this book) and thoroughly enjoyed it , so I went out and bought the first novel in what is now a series, "The Tudor Secret". Read more
Published 6 months ago by L. Davidson
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacks substance...
Bought this on a whim after it popped up in my recommendations and thought I would try it. The plot seems completely unbelievable - in the space of a few days he goes from never... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Sarah Quinney
3.0 out of 5 stars not bad
Good story that paced along also the sense of history is very good, however, it did seem a bit too quick his progress to beibg involved with so many queens and lords etc, will read... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Onky
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
Although set in the time just after Henry VIII the author says the book is not a slave to either the nitty gritty of historical events or minor characters but overall it was a good... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mrs. G. A. Chesney-Green
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