Title: The Tudor Conspiracy (Spymaster Chronicles #2)
Author: Christopher Gortner
First Published: 16 July 2013 (Audio) / 18 July 2013 (Hardback/Kindle) / 16 January 2014 (Paperback)
No .of pages: 352
Synopsis (from Amazon):
1553: Harsh winter falls across the realm. Mary Tudor has become queen and her enemies are imprisoned in the Tower, but rumours of a plot to depose her swirl around the one person many consider to be England’s heir and only hope – her half-sister, Princess Elizabeth.
Brendan Prescott’s foe and mentor, the spymaster Cecil, brings news that sends Brendan back to London on a dangerous mission. Intent upon trying to save Elizabeth, he soon finds himself working as a double-agent for Mary herself.
Plunged into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with a shadowy 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 – nobody can be trusted.
Although this is the second novel in The Spymaster Chronicles, it can very easily be read as a stand-alone book with no detriment to one’s enjoyment. Past events are alluded to and are handled deftly so that the transition is seamless and the plot unfolds naturally without stalling whenever something from the previous installment is mentioned.
Gortner’s love for the Tudor period and the political machinations of those in the Tudor court is bountifully evident in the lush recreation of the sights, sounds and smells of Mary Tudor’s Catholic court, and all the danger and intrigue of a spy and double agent, however unwilling, is incredibly exciting.
Prescott is a wonderfully flawed and natural character and his role in the unfolding events, and his reaction to them, is realistic and sympathetic. We hurt when he hurts, fear for him in danger, and rejoice at his successes right alongside him – he’s an everyman hero and one genuinely wants him to get through every pitfall unscathed.
It’s an intricate plot, with myriad twists and turns, that hurtles along at a hectic pace, leaving you breathless at the conclusion. If you try The Spymaster Chronicles, you will not be disappointed – Gortner is proving himself a force to be reckoned with in the world of historical fiction! With love, loss, action and adventure in spades, The Tudor Conspiracy has more than enough to keep any reader engrossed from start to finish.