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Publisher's Summary

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.

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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    10

Performance

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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  • joan
  • YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY, United States
  • 06-17-13

English History

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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Gack

Beautiful narration of a totally implausible story. Little understanding of the social norms and behaviors of the day.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Not historical fiction

I like historical fiction but this ho hum book doesn't fall into that category. Yes, it takes place during Elizabethan times and yes, The Princesses Mary and Elizabeth actually lived . My problem is with the main charaacter being fictional and the situation which the book revolves around is too. It's a nice light romantic read but I didn't learn anything from it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Debbie
  • Toney, Alabama
  • 02-07-15

Fun Listen Full of Historical Tidbits

Although this is fiction, much of it is historically correct, and I found myself mesmerized by the manners and ways of the English Tudors. Politics have been corrupt from the beginning of time . . . and yet, a thread of the good and honorable also persisted. The conflict between Protestants and Catholics during this period in history is particularly interesting to me, and that this would be such a point of contention regarding who sat on the throne of England is surprising. The narration is just right, carrying the listener away to a distant time and land of knights, kings, and queens . . . and dungeons with evil doers lurking around every corner. . . an almost fairy tale existence . . . I am looking forward to listening to the second in the series.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Melvin
  • PALMDALE, CA, United States
  • 05-20-13

Great Book! But Where's The Second Book Audible?

Where does The Tudor Secret rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Solid story that ranks in the top 40% of the 100's of books I have listened to.

Have you listened to any of Steve West’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not listened to Steve West before but he did a great job.

Who was the most memorable character of The Tudor Secret and why?

Peregrine of course was the best character.

Any additional comments?

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Entertaining, "what if?" Tudor story

Any additional comments?

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Ruth
  • United States
  • 06-09-13

Riveting time in History

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.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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One of the best novels I've listened to

What did you love best about The Tudor Secret?

Grabs you from the beginning with the characters and plot and won't let go until you finish it.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Tudor Secret?

The impact of the story and performance on the very first page. I had to change my schedule to make sure I could maximize my listening ... from morning to just before I dozed.

What about Steve West’s performance did you like?

Beautiful English accent and all the characters came were individuals and came to life. You weren't "listening" you were in the story. Great pacing and performance.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The introduction to the future Queen Elizabeth and her complex character.

Any additional comments?

Don't have any more time to waste ... got to start on the second in the series ...now ... bye

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Okay story

struggled to finish. not a huge fan, "what if" story that moved slowly. I like other books by the author so this was disappointing.

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Amazing!

Love love loved this story. Kept my workdays entertaining and loved the narrator. I will be seeking out this author.

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  • Overall
  • kate
  • 05-30-12

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • hcowans
  • 07-13-14

Could not finish

I'm sure it's a good story but narrator was so bad I stopped after two hours :(
Nothing else to say

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • R. A. Johnston
  • 05-14-14

Story OK but narration poor

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I'd recommend the story for a light read, but not this audio book. Better to read it yourself.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Did not finish it because of the narration

Would you be willing to try another one of Steve West’s performances?

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.

Did The Tudor Secret inspire you to do anything?

Inspired me to write this review - I've never done one before

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-22-11

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Olive
  • 03-29-11

Disappointing

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Learning is fun!
  • 09-25-16

An unexpectedly unusual storyline

When I first started listening to this audio book, I must confess to being rather irritated by the narrator as he didn't seemed to be incapable of reading in a normal voice. Everything is spoken with an ironic twist _ even when he's simply describing the scenery! However, the story is excellent and I was drawn into the plot because of it. The narrator's idiosyncrasies began to irritate me less because the story is so good and I will try another in the hope someone has taught him how to read!


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  • GaynorPerkins
  • 03-09-16

A Tutor Tapestry!

Although I already know this history intimately this story became a page turner. I could not wait for the next chapter and I was not disappointed.
A rich tapestry through which Gortner thread his own colour and unraveled a compelling mystery. Gaynor from Somerset.

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  • C
  • 03-08-16

Enjoyable adventure set in the Tudor court

Where does The Tudor Secret rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It ranks about 7/10

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Tudor Secret?

I enjoyed the fact that this book was set in an era that isn't often visited by historical fiction. In my experience there is plenty written about Henry VIII, the War of the Roses and Elizabeth I, but very little about the period between Henry XIII and Elizabeth I.

What about Steve West’s performance did you like?

I really enjoyed Steve West's performance.... apart from one thing that set my teeth on edge, and made me exclaim out loud every time he said it!!! <br/><br/>FRAMLINGHAM<br/><br/>I went to school in Framlingham, and have visited the castle dozens of times. How could he have possibly mispronounced it SO badly?<br/><br/>Everything else he did was fine by me. I enjoyed his narration.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The book didn't make me laugh or cry. But it did make me wince and cringe a few times!!

Any additional comments?

I obviously enjoyed this book far more than others did. I have listened to all of the Shardlake books that are currently available, and found these Spymaster chronicles an interesting substitute. Having just finished the second book in the series (Tudor Conspiracy), and currently downloading what I think is the third (Tudor Vendetta), I guess that means that I am enjoying the experience of the series. If I could just get hold of Steve West and tell him how Framlingham is supposed to be pronounced, I would be a happy woman!

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  • rachel sparrowhawk
  • 01-04-16

great book kept me hooked

the tudor eara was revisted everytime i turned my audio book on. great gripping stoyline.

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  • Vanessa Barrett
  • 12-06-13

Derring do worthy of Rupert of Hentzau!

What did you like best about The Tudor Secret? What did you like least?

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.

What will your next listen be?

A more modern spy story! Perhaps Le Carre.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

No