The era of the Tudors was one of danger, intrigue, conspiracy, and, above all, spies.
The summer of 1553 is a time of danger and deceit. Brendan Prescott, an orphan, has been 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 discover 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.
©2011 C. W. Gortner (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Gortner handles action with aplomb, adding a riveting, fast-paced thriller to the crowded genre of Tudor fiction." (Publishers Weekly)
"An exciting, vividly rendered story of intrigue and espionage." (Booklist)
Read in 2011 and 2013
Updated Review 7/30/13:
Not only did I enjoy this just as much as the first time, but I had forgotten half of what happens in the story. I re-listened to it to prepare myself for the second book in this series, The Tudor Conspiracy.
Original Review from 2011:
(audiobook) Another must-read for lovers of the Tudor era---this takes place after the death of Henry VIII and before the rise of Jane Grey, when Henry's son Edward was on the throne. Full of romance and intrigue.
71 year old avid reader using either my eyes or ears. I make earrings that I donate to shelters and while I work, I listen to wonderful books. I also keep in mind that you have to kiss frogs to find princes - time's too short to bother with losers.
I've always been fascinated by Henry the 8th and the period after his death. The enmity between the church of England and the Catholics has been the subject of much writing and I've read some. If you are ignorant, this might not be the book for you. If, as I am, you're a history buff, go for it.
While reading, I learned quite a bit about this period since much of the book is based on fact, all but the main character. It's a wonderful story, if a bit confusing with all the Lords, Dutchesses etc. If you read it, I would use some reference material (I confess I used Wikipedia) to keep the folks straight.
Plots and counter plots abound and make for a really enjoyable narrative.
Solid story that ranks in the top 40% of the 100's of books I have listened to.
I have not listened to Steve West before but he did a great job.
Peregrine of course was the best character.
For the folks at Audible, if you offer a great price for "the first book of a series" make sure you have the rest of the books.
A good book, set amongst the factual events of Lady Jane Grey's brief rise this is a good story however the main story line is pure fiction. A good listen, my preferences lean toward more historically accurate events, but this was entertaining. The imagery and nuances of the age are spot on.
Book pretty good though sometimes very slow. However, not happy with Audible for offering this as "first in a series" but not offering any of the other books in the series!
More substance in the story
Thin story line
Reading was too hasty although the voice drama helped
I love clean books of all sorts. Love mysteries, fantasies epic to kids stories, fairy tales, romances, humor, and historical fiction
I was not very well-versed in this time period of England and enjoyed learning about King Henry VIII and his offspring. The treachery at court and the jockeying for power left you not knowing who to believe. I enjoyed the main character and the mystery surrounding him. I do have a few words of caution. This time frame doesn't seem to be filled with the highest moral character. There is one sex scene. It is not overly described and is thankfully very brief. If Brendan ever sends his friend, the stable boy, out of the room when he is reunited with his lady friend, you could skip several minutes and miss the whole thing. There was one f bomb in the whole book. I don't think that word appropriate to the time period. Really, a little over 100 years ago if you said something like "Devil Take It!" or "Blast it!" They were considered swear words. I just thought that was entirely out of place. The story is interesting; the time period, fascinating. The narration was good as far as I could tell. I was really sucked in quickly and finished it fairly quickly. I knock off stars for the above two things, but overall I enjoyed the story.
"The Tudor Secret"
I've READ Gortner's other books and enjoyed them. I'm not sure if this was good. I think it was, but the reader trashed it. He made it seem melodramatic and implausible, but the text itself was fine. If this becomes a series, please select a different reader. If it's the same one, I won't bother. If it's a different reader, I'll give it a go.
"A gripping book"
What can I say apart from a dam good read, gripping, exciting and with lots of twists and turns and just very enjoyable.
I hope there are many, many more to come.
I'm sure the story is good, but I gave up after an hour as the narrator was truly awful. It began to irritate me so much I couldn't listen to the rest :( Very disappointed.
"Story OK but narration poor"
I'd recommend the story for a light read, but not this audio book. Better to read it yourself.
Did not finish it because of the narration
Absolutely not. Mispronunciation of simple words and place names was irritating and detracted from the story. The voices were awful and it would have been better if he hadn't tried.
Inspired me to write this review - I've never done one before
"Derring do worthy of Rupert of Hentzau!"
I tend to pick up anything to do with the Tudor period and I liked the idea of weaving in the setting up of the Elizabethan network of spies. The fictional nature of the book was apparent from the first. I found the basic premise unconvincing and the speed with which the hero got involved in intrigues and then resolved them seemed in the best style of melodrama. Although the history of the period appeared well-researched, the book lacked for me the Tudor atmosphere of other novelists of the genre.
A more modern spy story! Perhaps Le Carre.
I can't find anything good to say about this title. As a big fan of the C J Sansom Tudor novels, which are rich in character, brilliantly plotted and feel very authentic, I found this novel less than satisfying. If you're a Sansom fan, steer clear of this one. There are occasions when the narration rescues a mediocre title to being almost bearable but I'm afraid that isn't the case here, either. I was constantly being annoyed by odd stresses and outright mispronunciations. I was glad when it was over.
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