Brendan Prescott, what a hot name. Hot Brendan knew he was foundling even at a young age. He was cared for by Alice who found Brendan as a babe outside a cottage on the Dudley’s homestead. Alice was a Dudley servant and she raised Brendan as her own son that is until she was killed on the road when he was in his early teens. This novel is darker than others I have read because you find that Brendan has a dark past with the Dudley brothers. To say they were atrocious to him would be an understatement and with Alice gone life for Brendan got even harder.
The Dudley brothers were barbarous and cold to Brendan but mostly because of their own self-serving reasons. When they wanted to the boys together could be merciless but even scarier yet was their mother Jane Guilford. Pure evil in that one, Jane was cruel to him when he was just a child. After Alice was gone Brendan found the house Stewart master Shelton took him under his wing and made sure he was to be his future replacement as the Dudley’s household Stewart. Brendan’s day came when at twenty one he was called to plunge head first into the murkiness known as the Tudor court. The Tudor succession was on rough footing with all the intrigue raging between the nobles and courtiers; everyone had something to hide especially the Dudley family even down to the lowly squire Brendan.
Brendan from the start was to be Robert Dudley’s man even though they despised each other. This novel does not show the pretty side of Robert instead Gortner chooses to focus on Robert’s more devious traits. Flat out Robert was extremely vain, short tempered, and rude to his staff, but I can see where it is coming from because he was or could have been all of the above in my mind. I love it that Brendan as soon as he is as court has like a sixth sense about people and he just knows things are amiss in Tudor court even if he cannot comprehend it at the time. On Brendan’s first reporting to his Lord Robert Dudley: Robert demanded that fresh to court Brendan go and hand deliver a ring to the king’s sister Lady Elizabeth. As we all know Elizabeth was the light of Robert’s life. In trying to accomplish Lord Roberts’s outlandish task Brendan falls like Alice fell in wonderland into a rabbit hole of disturbing deceit that he was completely unprepared for.
Propelled between the dead King Henry’s children; Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth for in what seemed like a domino effect of constant intrigue Brendan finds he has no other choice but to just keep going because in the Tudor court there can be no looking back. Everything Brendan touched drew a reaction and when he was forced to touch upon the courts world of “half-truths” he had no choice but to get caught up in the mysterious happens of the Tudors. In the Tudor court it was not easy to ride the wave of shifting powers, for Brendan it would be sink or swim in the sea of Tudor England.
5/5 I really enjoyed this one, it was fast paced, not too complicated in the characters, and in a truly great mysterious style Gortner covers the great Henry VIII’s worst nightmare; the succession. I think if Henry VIII had had a premonition about the succession before he passed he might have had a nervous break down but in the end fate played a cruel joke on the Tudor succession because there were no winners. The unresolved succession to the English throne made England a very dangerous place when the young king dies tragically opening up the gauntlet race for power. This is a must read for mystery lovers because really you will not figure this one out before the very end of the book.
- PG-13 Rating for some violence.
- FTC-This book was sent to me by the publisher.