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Monday, July 22, 2013

HFVBT Tour Stop and Review: The Tudor Conspiracy by C.W. Gortner

US Publication Date: July 16, 2013
St. Martin's Griffin
Paperback; 352p
ISBN-10: 0312658494

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.

First thoughts?

Loved it! I couldn't wait for this book to come out as it is the second in Gortner's Elizabeth I's Spymaster Chronicles.  The first was published last year, and here's a link to my review.  This book takes place about six months after the first, but don't worry.  You do not need to have read the first book to enjoy this one.  Gortner provides enough information for the reader to know what's going on without spoiling the first book or the reader feeling lost.  It's not a big information dump either.  It's here and there as it needs to be.

Anyway, our hero Brendan must come to Elizabeth's aid by putting himself into the service of her sister Queen Mary.  Gortner does a masterful job of depicting both women with out bias and not taking sides. The reader can appreciate both sides of the sister argument.  Most of the story is the spy plot, and who is aligned with who, who is spreading lies, and of course the usual tricks of the trade: secret meeting places, poison, and accusations.  The horrible Dudleys play a part again, because of course, all they want is power in some form or fashion.  In this respect, I think the reader can tell the author is not a fan of Robert Dudley.

How Brendan keeps his head above water is beyond me.  The Tudor court is the reality show Survivor to the 1000th degree.  Plotting, scheming, and lying are all everyone does, and keeping the players straight is tough.  Not that the reader becomes confused, it's just that I would not have survived life at Court for sure.  Brendan makes some mistakes along the way, which are understandable since he is new at all of this.  However, he stays true to himself and his Princess Elizabeth.

As for plot points, I appreciated the further explanation of Brendan's background, and how that was done with a particular character.  It gave me an ah moment.  However, there was a death in this story that I didn't see coming, was upset about, and really hated to see.  I loved that character!  He was such a sweetheart and was doing well.  Plus he provided a good angle to the story.  Please replace in the next novel somehow.

Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely and it was so good that it ruined the other books I was reading. Seriously, I stopped reading them for good.  They just don't have that excitement that this one has for me.


Hell yes!  Gortner's works are engaging and he certainly knows how to draw the reader in like a fly on the wall of historical events.  He puts the reader into the story without exaggerating the true events or making stuff up, like some HF writers tend to do.  (You know, witch craft or sorcery or something.)

Would I change anything?

Absolutely not, except maybe not kill that character off because it made me sad.

Thanks to Amy for including me on the tour.

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 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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