The Tudor Vendetta (The Spymaster Chronicles, Book #3)
by C.W. Gortner
Release Date: October 21, 2014
2014 St. Martin's Griffin
Ebook Edition; 304 Pages
Genre: Fiction / Historical
Source: Review copy from publisher
4 / 5 Stars
London, 1558. Queen
Mary is dead, and 25-year old Elizabeth ascends the throne. Summoned to
court from exile abroad, Elizabeth’s intimate spy, Brendan Prescott, is
reunited with the young queen, as well as his beloved Kate, scheming
William Cecil, and arch-rival, Robert Dudley. A poison attempt on
Elizabeth soon overshadows her coronation, but before Brendan can
investigate, Elizabeth summons him in private to dispatch him on a far
more confidential mission: to find her favored lady in waiting, Lady
Parry, who has disappeared during a visit to her family manor in
Upon his arrival at the desolate sea-side manor where
Lady Parry was last seen, he encounters a strange, impoverished family
beset by grief, as well as mounting evidence that they hide a secret
from him. The mystery surrounding Lady Parry deepens as Brendan begins
to realize there is far more going on at the manor than meets the eye,
but the closer he gets to the heart of the mystery in Vaughn Hall, the
more he learns that in his zeal to uncover the truth, he could be
precipitating Elizabeth’s destruction.
The Tudor Vendetta is the third novel in the Spymaster Chronicles and the is the one I thought was the most interesting. Finally summoned from exile, Brendan returns to court, but this time it is the court of Queen Elizabeth I and her coronation. Nearly upon his arrival, there is a poison attempt on Elizabeth and soon he is sent off on an urgent errand to discover what has happened to a lady in waiting, Lady Parry in Yorkshire. Needless to say, Brendan is confused by what is happening around him, and would like to stay and investigate the poison attempt on Elizabeth personally and doesn't understand the urgency of the events occurring in Yorkshire. On top of that, he has had to deal with Lord Dudley, a figure from his own past, as well as personal issues with the woman he loves, Kate.
Even though this novel was a bit slow at the beginning, I've read enough of this author to know that events would soon pick up and leave you wondering what is going on, and what in the world you could have possibly missed in early pages that would have given you a clue as to what is currently happening. And that is exactly what happened. Once Brendan hit court, everything happened at once, and you really had to pay attention to the nuances or you could miss some important points of the story. And I was thrilled to finally reach the point where we are at the court of Elizabeth I as I couldn't wait for that storyline began. I did feel at times that Brendan still had some growth to do in the development of his character, as he made some mistakes that I don't feel that someone trained by Walsingham would make. However, he is young, and perhaps allowances could be made for that. Overall though, the development in all of the characters from the beginning of the series until now has been wonderful and I like seeing how they all mature and learn from their actions.
I thought the detail and research that went into this book was quite good; I was able to picture the scenes rather vividly, the clothing, the foods, everything, and it definitely made the reading experience quite enjoyable. You definitely get a feel for how people lived during this time period, and a good understanding of how it was for those who didn't have the luxuries or the money to live comfortably.
The Tudor Vendetta was an intriguing mystery with some romance thrown into it for good measure. I think it is very difficult to write about Elizabethan times because so much has been written beforehand, but Gortner manages to create an intriguing premise that will make readers wonder 'what-if'. I am curious as to what Gortner will do with the storyline in later books, or if he will just let it lie, but I know speculation has abounded before on this topic. I'm not sure when the next book in this series will be released, but I am looking forward to Mademoiselle Chanel which will release in the new year.