Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Tudor Vendetta Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

Publication Date: October 21, 2014
St. Martin’s Press
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Series: Spymaster Chronicles
Genre: Historical Mystery


Winter, 1558: Elizabeth I has ascended the throne but the first days of her reign are already fraught with turmoil, the kingdom weakened by strife and her ability to rule uncertain.

Summoned from exile abroad at the new queen’s behest, Brendan Prescott arrives in London to face his shattered past. He soon finds himself pitted in deadly rivalry with his life-long foe, Robert Dudley, but when a poison attempt overshadows the queen’s coronation, Elizabeth privately dispatches Brendan on a far more dangerous assignation: to find her favored lady-in-waiting, Lady Parry, who has vanished in Yorkshire.

Upon his arrival at the crumbling sea-side manor that may hold the key to Lady Parry’s disappearance, 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, the more he becomes the quarry of an elusive stranger with a vendetta— one that could expose both his own buried identity and a long-hidden revelation that will bring about Elizabeth’s doom.

From the intrigue-laden passages of Whitehall to a foreboding Catholic manor and the prisons of the Tower, Brendan must risk everything to unravel a vendetta that strikes at the very core of his world, including his loyalty to his queen.

The Tudor Vendetta is the third book in Gortner’s Elizabeth I Spymaster Trilogy.

So What Did I Think About The Story?

There is just something about a thrilling, twisting Tudor suspense that lures me in every time and very few authors I have found do it quite as well as C.W. Gortner! While this final book in his Elizabeth I Spymaster Trilogy can easily be read on its own any reader who tries to do so will be doing themselves a disservice. This is a series to read from start to finish so you can fully appreciate and absorb Brendan Prescott's backstory and the revelations, actions and loses that lead him to what happens in The Tudor Vendetta. It wasn't until I immersed myself in this book that I remembered all that had come before and how much I had missed his adventures as well as the characters lost already.

From page one the intrigues and constant subterfuge are already in full swing and there isn't a slow moment until you turn the final page. One of the things I love most about this series is the chance to get a behind-the-scenes view of how Tudor spies were trained and worked and exactly what dangers and precautions they had to learn to handle if they were to stay alive in that ever shifting game of power.  Even as the masters in the spy game - Walsingham and Cecil - work to protect Brendan and train him to best serve them the reader is never quite sure whether they can be trusted and exactly what the end game they are going for will be. And this skepticism doesn't end with these men....everyone seems suspect and I couldn't help myself from feeling that delicious sense of suspicion as I fought to figure out who was really foe and kept turning the pages so I could get to the next twist in the road. I am happy to say that, while I had a little inkling of some of what would end up being revealed, many of the secrets came as a complete surprise and I was left gasping along with Brendan when it all became perfectly clear. 

Something else I love about this series is the fact that, while the dangerous world of the court and all that Elizabeth had to overcome and survive to become Queen are a big part, the real meat of the story is Brendan's struggles reconciling the way he was raised against how he should have been treated given his discovery of who he really is and his continual struggle between his duties to Elizabeth and his love for Kate Stafford, one of her ladies-in-waiting. You can really feel his internal battles and his desolation at trying to do the right thing and make the right choices and often, in his opinion, coming up wanting. He is a strong, caring and loyal character and I really will miss him now that his story is over.

With all the above being said the absolute delight of The Tudor Vendetta is the mystery surrounding Lady Parry's disappearance and what those at Vaughan Hall (the crumbling sea-side manor mentioned in the synopsis) are hiding. This aspect of the story had a very old fashioned murder mystery feel to it and I so enjoyed the immersion in this dilapidated manor and the sinister feeling overhanging all that happened there as Brendan fought to figure out exactly what was going on before more people disappeared or worse. The reader is kept guessing at all the mysteries and, for me, this really elevated and changed up what could have otherwise been a more typical Tudor historical.

Without giving too much away the ending was just perfect to me and I could not help tearing up a little as I turned that final page. While I am very sad to see the series end it wraps up wonderfully and the reader is left fully satisfied with the journey they have been on with Brendan and the other characters. Anyone who loves a story with strong characters and lots of twists and turns will eat this up. Anyone who also loves a novel set in Tudor times needs to pick these books up now!

So What Did I Think About The Cover?

 It's okay. While it gives you that sense of isolation and mystery that permeates the novel I would have preferred more color or action given how exhilarating the story is. Maybe a dark shadow hanging over Brendan as he searches to uncover what happened to Lady Parry around the disintegrating world of the manor.

My Rating: 5.0/5.0 

Thank you to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for providing me with a free copy of The Tudor Vendetta in exchange for an honest review! Make sure to continue below for more information about the book, the author and how to enter the tour-wide giveaway of a complete set of the trilogy !

Praise for The Tudor Vendetta

“Fast paced and exciting, with a most engaging hero . . . So vivid, you feel are there!” – Diana Gabaldon, bestselling author of the Outlander series

“C.W. Gortner has done it again! Full of breathtaking action, dark twists and unexpected revelations, this is an unputdownable read.” – Michelle Moran, bestselling author of Madame Tussaud

“Suspense, intrigue, betrayal and deadly rivalry: What more can you ask for? A swashbuckling, perilous adventure.” – M.J. Rose, bestselling author of The Reincarnationist

Buy the Book

Barnes & Noble

About the Author

C.W. GORTNER holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California, as well as an AA from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco.

After an eleven year-long career in fashion, during which he worked as a vintage retail buyer,
freelance publicist, and fashion show coordinator, C.W. devoted the next twelve years to the public health sector. In 2012, he became a full-time writer following the international success of his novels.

In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard at Hampton Court, learned about organic gardening at Chenoceaux, and spent a chilly night in a ruined Spanish castle. His books have garnered widespread acclaim and been translated into twenty-one languages to date, with over 400,000 copies sold. A sought-after public speaker. C.W. has given keynote addresses at writer conferences in the US and abroad. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights, in particular companion animal rescue to reduce shelter overcrowding.

C.W. recently completed his fourth novel for Ballantine Books, about Lucrezia Borgia; the third novel in his Tudor Spymaster series for St Martin’s Press; and a new novel about the dramatic, glamorous life of Coco Chanel, scheduled for lead title publication by William Morrow, Harper Collins, in the spring of 2015.

Half-Spanish by birth and raised in southern Spain, C.W. now lives in Northern California with his partner and two very spoiled rescue cats.

For more information please visit C.W. Gortner’s website and blog. You can also connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Giveaway Details 

To win a complete set of CW Gortner’s Spymaster Chronicles Trilogy please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form HERE .

Giveaway is open to US residents only.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on November 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on November 29th and notified via email.

Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.


The Tudor Vendetta Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 20

Review at The Maiden’s Court
Guest Post at Mina’s Bookshelf

Tuesday, October 21

Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, October 22

Review at Back Porchervations
Review at Always With a Books

Thursday, October 23

Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews

Friday, October 24

Review at Bibliophilia, Please
Interview at Back Porchervations

Monday, October 27

Review at JulzReads
Review at Queen of All She Reads

Tuesday, October 28

Review at Beth’s Book Reviews
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews

Wednesday, October 29

Review at Making My Mark
Review at Writing the Renaissance
Guest Post at Bookish

Thursday, October 30

Review & Guest Post at Drey’s Library
Review & Interview at The Copperfield Review & From Meredith Allard
Interview at Writing the Renaissance

Friday, October 31

Review at Book by Book

Monday, November 3

Review at Mari Reads
Review & Gues Post at JM Ledwell Writes

Tuesday, November 4

Review at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, November 5

Review at One Book at a Time
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, November 6

Review at Booktalk & More

Friday, November 7

Review at Build a Bookshelf

Monday, November 10

Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, November 11

Review at A Book Geek
Review at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, November 12

Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, November 13

Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Friday, November 14

Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight at Paranormal Book Club

Monday, November 17

Review at Broken Teepee
Review at The Never-Ending Book

Tuesday, November 18

Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Guest Post at What is That Book About

Wednesday, November 19

Review at Kate Forsyth’s Blog

Thursday, November 20

Review & Interview at The Tudor Enthusiast

Friday, November 21

Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks

Monday, November 24

Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at The True Book Addict

Tuesday, November 25
Review at Historical Tapestry
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, November 26
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, November 28
Review at Books in the Burbs
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story


  1. I didn't know about this series. It sounds great. Thanks for sharing!

    1. You are very welcome, Sophia, I hope you get a chance to read it and love it as much as I did!