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The Tudor Secret: The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles    by C. W. Gortner order for
Tudor Secret
by C. W. Gortner
Order:  USA  Can
Griffin, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Wanda Plourde

In 1553, danger surrounds the throne of England. King Edward VI lies deathly ill, Princess Mary is in seclusion, and Princess Elizabeth wonders where her brother Edward is hidden. It's a time of deceit, intrigue and power struggles.

As The Tudor Secret opens, Brendan Prescott (an orphan brought up in the powerful Dudley household) becomes squire to Robert Dudley. Brendan is brought to court and sent on a mission for his master, to give Princess Elizabeth a letter and a ring. But Brendan is talked into working as a double agent on the princess's behalf, to spy against the Dudleys. There is a mystery surrounding Brendan's past. William Cecil, a passionate protector of Princess Elizabeth, promises to unravel it in return for Brendan's help.

Princess Elizabeth wants to find out where her brother is hidden, so that she can see him at least one more time before he dies, but this quest might get her killed. Brendan has only a tenacious stable boy and a beautiful and clever lady-in-waiting to help with his mission. Surrounded by lies, half truths and murder, can Brendan help Elizabeth and keep the Dudleys away from the throne? Through all this, will he find out who he is and where he came from?

I found this an excellent story, fast and furious all the way through, and with a good sense of the era. Having Elizabeth right in the middle of things is the icing on the cake. The author knows how to grab readers from the start - it's hard to put this gripping novel down.

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