Monday, July 22, 2013

Book Review: The Tudor Conspiracy by C.W. Gortner

Review copy provided by St. Martin’s Griffin
US Publication Date: July 16, 2013
UK Publication Date: July 18, 2013
Paperback: 352pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"Hunted by a shadowy foe in Bloody Mary’s court, Brendan Prescott plunges into London’s treacherous underworld to unravel a dark conspiracy that could make Elizabeth queen—or send her to her death in C.W. Gortner's The Tudor Conspiracy. 
England, 1553: Harsh winter encroaches upon the realm. Mary Tudor has become queen to popular acclaim and her enemies are imprisoned in the Tower. But when she’s betrothed to Philip, Catholic prince of Spain, putting her Protestant subjects in peril, rumors of a plot to depose her swirl around the one person whom many consider to be England’s heir and only hope—the queen’s half-sister, Princess Elizabeth. 
Haunted by his past, Brendan Prescott lives far from the intrigues of court. But his time of refuge comes to an end when his foe and mentor, the spymaster Cecil, brings him disquieting news that sends him on a dangerous mission. Elizabeth is held captive at court, the target of the Spanish ambassador, who seeks her demise. Obliged to return to the palace where he almost lost his life, Brendan finds himself working as a double-agent for Queen Mary herself, who orders Brendan to secure proof that will be his cherished Elizabeth’s undoing. 
Plunged into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with a mysterious opponent who hides a terrifying secret, Brendan races against time to retrieve a cache of the princess’s private letters, even as he begins to realize that in this dark world of betrayal and deceit, where power is supreme and sister can turn against sister, nothing—and no one—is what it seems."

My Review:

The Tudor Conspiracy is the second installment in C.W. Gortner's Spymaster Chronicles, and although the first one was an entertaining start to the series, this is the one that really confirms the brilliant future of The Spymaster Chronicles. It is amazing that a mere 352 pages could possibly contain so much detail, suspense, and power!

The novel picks up about six months after the close of The Tudor Secret, but, since it has been two years in our time, I was quite forgetful as to what went on last time. There were some events referenced that I only vaguely remembered and had to work out as the story went on, but it was nothing detrimental to the overall plot. In fact, the plot raced like a runaway train, and once again I finished the book all too quickly.

One of the best aspects of reading this series is to know going into it that this isn't a typical Tudor novel. Unlike other Tudor novels that mainly focus on Henry VIII and his wives, this novel has the royalty take a back seat, and are only present when receiving or divulging information. The plot is purely driven by Brendan Prescott's mission to protect Elizabeth's life while discovering a treacherous plot to overthrow Mary I. This mission puts Brendan in quite a perilous situation, for how could he possibly show loyalty to the dueling daughters of Henry VIII? It is an impossible situation, yet C.W. Gortner makes it entirely believable and easy to forget that this is a work of fiction.

In addition to the well formed plot, it is the stunning attention to detail and descriptions that make this book so engaging. There were so many times that the opening scene of a chapter or setting transition, made me pause and reread the paragraph due to its vivid imagery. I will definitely be rereading this novel in order to just focus on the imagery!

The Tudor Conspiracy offers its reader everything from intrigue, to murder, to espionage and stunning prose. Without a doubt, this novel will appeal to anyone even remotely interested in the Tudor Era, and to those looking for an exceptionally well rounded work of historical fiction.

About the Author

C.W. Gortner holds an MFA in Writing, with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies. Raised in Spain and half Spanish by birth, he currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

He welcomes readers and is always available for reader group chats. Please visit him at for more information. You can also follow Christopher on Facebook and Twitter.


Tuesday, July 16
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Review & Giveaway at The Tudor Book Blog
Wednesday, July 17
Review at The Maiden’s Court
Review at Diary of a Book Addict
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Thursday, July 18
Review at Amused by Books
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Friday, July 19
Review at The Broke and the Bookish
Review & Giveaway at Enchanted by Josephine
Interview at The Tudor Book Blog
Monday, July 22
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at Jenny Loves to Read
Review at A Muse in the Fog Book Reviews
Tuesday, July 23
Review at Bippity Boppity Book
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair
Thursday, July 25
Guest Post at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Interview at A Writer’s Life: Working with the Muse
Feature & Giveaway at Ramblings From This Chick
Friday, July 26
Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Monday, July 29
Review at Books in the Burbs
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Review at Writing the Renaissance
Tuesday, July 30
Guest Post at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, July 31
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, August 1
Review at JulzReads
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Guest Post at A Chick Who Reads
Friday, August 2
Review at Cheryl’s Book Nook
Interview at Bibliophilic Book Blog
Monday, August 5
Review at Historical Tapestry & Adventures of an Intrepid Reader
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, August 6
Review at From L.A. to LA
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry
Wednesday, August 7
Review at Review From Here
Thursday, August 8
Review at Book Nerds
Interview at Review From Here
Friday, August 9
Review at Always with a Book
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Monday, August 12
Review at A Book Geek
Review at Bloggin’ ’bout Books
Tuesday, August 13
Review at The Bookworm
Guest Post at A Book Geek
Wednesday, August 14
Review at My Reading Room
Guest Post at Book Nerds
Thursday, August 15
Review at Book Journey
Interview at My Reading Room
Friday, August 16
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Monday, August 19
Review at The True Book Addict
Guest Post at So Many Books, So Little Time
Tuesday, August 20
Review at Lost in Books
Guest Post at The True Book Addict
Wednesday, August 21
Review at Broken Teepee
Thursday, August 22
Review at The Eclectic Reader
Guest Post at Broken Teepee
Friday, August 23
Review at Tanzanite’s Castle Full of Books
Monday, August 26
Review at Layered Pages
Review at A Bookish Libraria
Tuesday, August 27
Review at Book Addict Katie
Interview at Layered Pages


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