Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Tudor Secret

C.W. Gortner is another favorite author of mine, and this book The Tudor Secret is another one of his great books. He writes in the time following King Henry VIII's death, when his son Edward is King but is dying. It follows a 20-year old squire new to Court, as he tries to figure out his duties. He is to serve Robert Dudley, son of the Earl of Northumberland. Brendan Prescott, the squire, is soon to find out all the intrigues going on at court. He comes to serve Cecil, a powerful and well-known courtier who secretly wishes Elizabeth to be the next Queen. While serving two masters at once, Brendan often comes to find himself in danger.

He finds out through a series of events who his parents are, and where he comes from. He also comes to know the Princess Elizabeth and works to protect her as well. The Earl of Northumberland is in charge of the young King, because his former protector is now dead. He is secretly working to marry himself to the Princess Elizabeth, so he can be the next King. In case that plan doesn't work, he marries his youngest son Dudley to Jane Grey. Jane is the grand niece of Henry VIII, granddaughter of his younger sister Mary. The hope is through Jane's Tudor blood, that Dudley and Jane will be the next King and Queen of England. Many say that the Earl and his wife had the young King poisoned to hasten his death.

Shortly before dying, King Edward puts Jane Grey as his heir to the throne over his half sister Mary. Many believe he was coerced to do this by the Earl, but we may never know. When Mary hears that Jane was put before her, she gathers Catholic supporters and prepares to enter England and take her throne by force. Many who had supported the Earl and his son Dudley, were now in fear for their lives. Many in England did not want Mary to reign, because of her strict Catholic faith and the power in Rome. In this book, you follow the intrigues of the grasping and greedy Dudley family, and Brendan and the Princess Elizabeth. Although a work of fiction, most of the historical details are true. Dudley and Jane grey reigned for less than two weeks, before being imprisoned in the Tower and later beheaded.

I liked this book because it was a mystery, and fun and easy to follow. I have always loved The Tudor period, and the Princess Elizabeth, so this was a must read for me. If you enjoy this book, you will also like his other books The Last Queen (I wrote about that in an earlier post), and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici. A brief sexual scene, and some scenes of danger and torture.

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