The Tudor Vendetta: A Novel (The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles). C. W. Gortner. St. Martin’s Griffin. October 2014. 304 pp. ISBN#: 9780312658588.
Elizabeth I is now Queen of England and requests the presence of Brendan Prescott. Brendan is reluctant to return to London because he lied to the woman he loves, Kate, in order to save the life of Elizabeth. He also knows he will again be facing the extreme animosity of his old nemesis, Lord Robert Dudley, now serving the Queen and perhaps her lover as well. With the usual barbs and violent encounters, Brendan and Dudley rise to the bait but are quickly silenced by the will of the Queen. Elizabeth has a job for Brendan, to investigate the disappearance of her lady’s maid, Lady Parry, after she left for her family home in Yorkshire. One is left wondering why Lord Cecil and Dudley are against Brendan pursuing this quest, but Brendan serves the Queen not only out of loyal service but also as a secret relative of the royal family. Something is definitely being left unsaid.
From the very first day of his arrival at Yorkshire, Brendan, with Shelton, the man who raised him, meet only secrecy and coldness to the point of rudeness. To say more would be a spoiler that would ruin a tense, vibrant adventure and mystery. For some very old enemies of Brendan are involved in the disappearance of Lady Parry and the presence of a very young boy Raff is the central key to a series of lies, attempted murders and actual murders. Behind it all lies the hate behind the Papists who were so severely persecuted and killed at one time under the rule of Elizabeth’s father, Henry VIII. Elizabeth herself may be Queen but understands that her security is far from guaranteed as she has as many enemies as she has friends.
Having read the previous Spymaster Chronicles novels, this reviewer states that The Tudor Vendetta is definitely the best novel in the series. The author’s crafting of a complex plot/conflict flows more easily herein and the reader will absolutely be unable to predict how this search for Lady Parry will end and who is behind her disappearance. Brendan is not only courageous but also displays sensitivities toward those he has hurt. He learns quickly not to trust even those who claim to be his friends. For that is the nature of Elizabeth’s court; mistrust rules and one is loyal to royalty as long and only as long as that ruler remains head of State.
The Tudor Vendetta is credible, exciting historical fiction that this reviewer highly recommends!