The Tudor Vendetta

Written by C.W. Gortner
Review by Geri C. Gibbons

Brendan Prescott is steeped in intrigue once again in this newest installment in Gortner’s Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles. Gortner captures the religious and political conflict and the uncertainty with which the early reign of Elizabeth was met by thrusting Brendan once more into the thick of conflict.

Eluding the wrath of Queen Mary and Ambassador Renard, Brendan has been honing his skills as an intelligencer in Switzerland under the tutelage of Francis Walsingham. At Mary’s death, Elizabeth ascends the throne, and Brendan returns home to Elizabeth’s court, where he encounters his lost love, Kate, and his nemesis, Robert Dudley. Unfortunately, Dudley’s star is rising, and their enmity remains a source of conflict. Rather than feeling secure on her throne, Elizabeth is jumpy and strained. She confides to Brendan that Blanche Parry has gone missing after a visit to relatives in Yorkshire and sends him to investigate. As Brendan seeks to uncover the truth about Blanche’s disappearance at the dismal, desolate Vaughn Hall, he realizes that Elizabeth has secrets he must protect at all costs.

This is a must-read for any Tudor period fan. Writing in the first person, Gortner has penned a fast-paced novel with the right blend of truth and “what if” imagination. He creates rich, well-developed characters, and their fates kept me reading until late at night.