Monday, July 29, 2013

The Tudor Conspiracy by C.W. Gortner

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Read: July 27, 2013

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.

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Lets be honest, intrigue in the Tudor court is about as common as fleas on dog. It has been the inspiration behind countless novels, and yet, in all my literary wanderings, I can truthfully state I’ve never found the complex web of secrets and deceit quite so eloquently portrayed as it is by C.W. Gortner. To play the high stakes game of power and prevarication was to promenade with death itself, to quite literally risk all in a bid for wealth and influence over the crown. Beneath Gortner’s pen this dangerous dance comes alive so convincingly that readers can almost hear rapid tempo of the Reaper’s refrain within the pages of The Tudor Conspiracy.

I loved so many aspects of this novel that it’s hard to know exactly where to begin. For one thing I loved pacing of this piece. It was so impossible to put down that I literally read all three hundred some pages in a single sitting. Just when I thought I’d figured something out Gortner would throw a curve ball, something unexpected that would turn the story in an entirely new direction. I love that despite my familiarity with the history he was able to craft a fiction that kept me guessing.

On that note, I also appreciate that despite the fact that The Tudor Conspiracy is a follow up to The Tudor Secret, it is also a stand alone piece. Not once did I feel disadvantaged for not having read the first volume nor did I feel the original work to have been spoiled by beginning my reading in the middle of the Brendan Prescott’s adventures.

Speaking of Prescott, I was enchanted with the complexity Gortner was able to create in both fictitious and historic cast members. I think there is a tendency, particularly where Mary and Elizabeth are concerned, to paint in black and white, to vilify one sister while exalting the other. Gortner doesn’t do this. Henry’s daughters are as complicated and enigmatic as their illustrious father, both well aware of the precariousness of their position and fiercely protective of their birthright. Prescott himself has layers, his personal loyalties often playing against the desires of his heart.

The Tudor Conspiracy is an enthralling Elizabethan thriller that is anything but ordinary. A riveting, edge of your seat adventure that will captivate even the most well versed Tudor scholar.

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Battle lines are being drawn even as we speak, with Mary on one side, determined to wrest the realm from heresy and bind us to a foreign power, while Elizabeth is on the other as her heir, the last hope for an independent land beholden to the Protestant faith. Which one shall win?
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Check out all the stops on C.w. Gortner's TheTudor Conspiracy virtual book tour

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
Feature & Giveaway at Ramblings From This Chick
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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