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on 17 February 2011
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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on 1 September 2016
Sorry I was very disappointed with this book. It is the first book I have read by this author Christopher Gortener. I don't think the author could make up his mind what age to play Brendan - to start with I got the impression he was about 13 years of age, then all of a sudden he was talking and thinking like a much older man. The main character Bredan turns out to be a very worldly person who has suddenly matured into a man in his forties or so and speaking to princess Elizabeth and Queen Mary as if you is their equal and telling them what they must do or think and yet he is a foundling brought up by a kitchen maid in the Dudley household. He talks disrespectfully to history's great players and is so rude to William Cecil. Unfortunately I bought the following two books of this set, not sure I can read them I don't like how the main character has developed. I will say - honestly if you enjoy historic novels based of fact then you will be disappointed like I am.
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VINE VOICEon 28 September 2013
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". It is equally as good a work of historical fiction ,blending fact and fiction impressively. I am interested in the period of history which forms the backdrop to both of these works, namely the death of King Edward VI, the rise of the Duke of Northumberland , the reign of Lady Jane Grey and the accession to the throne of the rabidly Catholic Queen Mary. "The Tudor Secret" tells the story of a servant of the powerful Dudley family who upon arrival at court finds himself thrown into a web of intrigue surrounding the ailing monarch and Princess Elizabeth. He gets involved in a whole range of dangerous activities , escaping certain death on several occasions as he tries to help safeguard the wellbeing of Elizabeth amidst the machinations of the Duke of Northumberland and the Dudley family to secure the throne for themselves and usurp the claim of the rightful Queen Mary. The book is well written and the characterisation is good; you really feel as if you are part of the action and part of the swirl of important historical events taking place. An excellent read and it would really help students of British history get into the subject.
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on 16 September 2014
This is the first book by Christopher Gortner that I have read. At first I didn't know what to make of the book. The beginning seemed to be a bit rushed. The main character, Brendan Prescott, is a foundling and it seems he is little more than a country bumpkin who finds himself propelled to London where suddenly he is rubbing shoulders with the likes of Cecil, Walsingham, Robert Dudley even the Princess Elizabeth herself etc! When I read about him wandering through a secret passage and hiding behind a tapestry in order to eavesdrop on a mysterious conversation that was not meant for his ears I thought I was reading an Enid Blyton children's novel! However the author does know his history and this story has a superb backdrop of the Tudor era through which he wove a story with some excellent descriptive passages and swashbuckling action!

In fact the story did improve as it went along and there is a good "what if" mystery running through this colourful and interesting period. However I still think of C.J. Sansom as the master of this genre and for me this book really isn't up to his standard. Nevertheless it is worth reading.
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on 20 April 2014
Brendan Prescott, a foundling fostered by Mistress Alice, herbalist to the noble Dudley family is summoned to court to serve his mistress' son Robert Dudley just at the time when the young king, Edward VI is said to be dying. He finds himself involved with all the main players of the time: Cecil, Walsingham, Elizabeth and Mary Tudor, Robert Dudley and Jane Grey. An entertaining story. There are one or two neulogisms (duvet, for example) but they don't spoil it.
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on 11 June 2011
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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on 30 January 2018
These books are....ok. I found the plot, though far fetched, to be quite exciting, but I didn’t entirely relish the style of writing. If you’re writing about British history and know full well the books will be sold in Britain, then you really should use the correct English spellings - it’s ‘colour’ not color. Also, ‘snuck’ is not even a real word! It didn’t even exist in the states until the 1800’s! Aargh! I like the characters though, and there has obviously been a good amount of research done. The writer tends to repeat phrases, sometimes very close together which is also distracting. Stick with Alison Weir for a good fictional read with historical facts...and David Starkey and Chris Skidmore fas well as Weir for real factual reads.
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on 9 December 2012
Really liked this, but didn't love it. Guess I have been spoiled by CJ Sansom. It was a good read, though, and well done. Enjoyed it. would recommend.
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on 19 December 2013
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. It was an interesting idea to set a book in the period of the death of Edward VI, the short reign of Lady Jane Grey and the downfall of Northumberland. The author has done his homework as far as the political history and the trappings of Tudor life are concerned. But...

What is missing is any feeling for class differences. The hero is a foundling of unknown parentage who until shortly before the beginning of the story has been a stable lad. Nevertheless, he rapidly progresses to talking on equal terms to Lady Jane Grey, Princess Elizabeth and Queen Mary. It's simply not credible.
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on 10 December 2014
This era of history I love and am an avid reader of Samsons Shardlake series & S J Paris Bruno series. This story lies in the period of young King James 1st short reign and part of the chess play of power that was going on behind the throne. Our young hero arrives in London as a squire to his master and once introduced to court is quickly caught up with the mysteries of court and quickly has to make a decision who to back. A good story I hope it has legs for when I start the 2nd in the series!
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