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

Thursday, July 18, 2013
Title: The Tudor Conspiracy
Author: C.W. Gortner
Genre: historical fiction, mystery
Series: The Spymaster Chronicles #2
Pages: 352
Published: July 16 2013
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for review
Rating: 3.5/5

Winter 1554. Brendan Prescott, spymaster to the Princess Elizabeth, has discovered that he is connected to the Tudors by blood as well as allegiance. Though his secret is known only by a few, it could be his downfall as he is called to London to protect the princess.
Accompanied by his young squire Peregrine, he reluctantly leaves his sweetheart Kate behind - but in the city he discovers that no one is quite what they seem. What fate does Queen Mary intend for her sister? Is Robert Dudley somehow manipulating the princess, even though he is locked in the Tower? And should Brendan trust the alluring Sybilla, Mary's lady-in-waiting, who professes to be on his side?

As he tries to unravel the mysteries of the Tudor court Brendan's life will be put in danger many times, and along the way he learns more about his own past.

The second foray into Gortner's historical mystery/thriller series, The Tudor Conspiracy doesn't miss a step. Though it begins five months after the events of The Tudor Secret's conclusion, this sequel is off and running from the minute William Cecil reenters the lives of those ensconced at Hatfield. Finding himself once again embroiled in the snakes nest of Court, fighting to save his embattled Princess, Brendan Prescott is up against daunting odds and unforeseeable twists and turns. With the same sly narrative maneuvering that marked the first book, C.W. Gortner is able to keep the plots complicated, the betrayals unexpected, and the thrills coming as Brendan races headlong into all kinds of danger.

No longer embroiled in the succession crisis of 1554, Brendan is caught up in the net of a Hapsburg embassy, a determined Princess and an unyielding Catholic Queen of a Protestant country. When anonymous letters reach mastermind intelligencer Cecil, Brendan can't abandon Elizabeth to a foe determined to see her dead. Despite his uneasy relationship with Elizabeth's most trusted adviser, with his unique past and unlikely talents, Brendan is pulled back to Court - away from the quiet life he had been settling into with his love, the fictional Kate Stafford, and his mischievous squire Peregrine. These three invented characters are no less compelling than the real-life counterparts they find themselves up against. Kate may need more time and attention to truly be a three-dimensional character, she is important if less directly involved this second go-round in Gortner's version of Mary's England.

Though Prescott's birthright is a fiction, it gives him a unique and compelling perspective on how things would fall out between the royal half-sisters he finds himself torn between. Placed in a dangerous post of his enemy's household, "Beecham" soon learns nothing is as it seems, and everyone has their own game to play in Mary I's Court. The external pressures levered against Prescott as he spies and double agents his way through Court's seedy underbelly make for a story full of suspense and anticipation as plot after plot unravels to implicate an unlikely main antagonist. Gortner skillfully sets out red herring after red herring and the reveal is ingenious once Brendan finally sees all the cards on the table. The final portion may be a tad too long to keep the same level of suspense as the first 270ish pages, but the conclusion is more than enough compensation for the time spent reading the novel.

The first novel was a fun adventure, but the stakes are higher and the plots more convoluted the second time around. Characters die. Others are betrayed. Everyone lies. The Tudor Conspiracy is a work of fiction, but the author includes several key historical people and events to add to the overall feel of the novel. Edward Courtenay, The Wyatt Revolt and more all play key pivotal parts in the plot of the novel. Though this could be read as a standalone, several lingering questions from the first book are definitively answered here. It's a fast read, helped in part by the short span of time covered, but Gortner keeps the action incoming and the revelations surprising.

The Tudor Conspiracy boasts a steady plot, efficient pacing, and a solid conclusion. In fact, it seems very final - the main plot has been resolved and Brendan is left with little opportunity to continue his efforts. However it is easy to glean room for further novels featuring this intrepid and able character in the future. I think there is more story to be had, and as each novel has improved, I would have hopes and expectations for a third Spymaster Chronicle. 

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Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tuesday, July 16
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Review & Giveaway at The Tudor Book Blog
Wednesday, July 17

Thursday, July 18
Review at Amused by Books
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Review at Psychotic State Book 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
Review at Raging Bibliomania
Guest Post at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, July 31
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, August 1
Review at JulzReads
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 Librarian

Tuesday, August 27
Review at Book Addict Katie
Interview at Layered Pages

1 comment:

  1. I'm a new Gortner convert so I might be tempted to dip my toes back into the Tudors for his books!


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