The Tudor Vendetta
With the death of Queen Mary, 25-year-old Elizabeth ascends the throne of a country torn apart by religious strife. Brendan Prescott, Elizabeth’s close friend and spy, is in hiding overseas with his mentor, Walsingham, a cohort of William Cecil who helped to engineer Elizabeth’s rise to power. When he hears of Mary’s death and Elizabeth’s becoming Queen, all Brendan can think about is going home --- not just to return to Elizabeth’s service, of which he is adamant he will do, but also to win back Kate, the love of his life.
Brendan and Walsingham return to a changed England but one still full of danger --- all of which seems to be heading toward the palace and Elizabeth. When they finally arrive at court, Cecil fills them in on his numerous concerns. Brendan, always apprehensive regarding Elizabeth’s safety, worries but seethes more at the appearance of his arch-rival, Robert Dudley, who makes his life a living hell whenever he gets the opportunity. When an attempted poisoning causes grave worry and heightened security at the palace, Elizabeth summons Brendan before he can even start investigating and sends him on a mission to find her missing companion, Lady Parry.
"These are infinitely readable books. There’s a bit of mystery, historical figures galore, and enough romance and family drama to keep you amused until the end."
Lady Parry, who left the Queen’s service to visit family in Yorkshire, was last seen at a desolate, country mansion called Vaughn Hall. When Brendan arrives to investigate, everyone and everything comes to a standstill at the rundown country estate. The residents and their staff refuse to help until Brendan learns a secret he couldn’t even imagine possible.
Poor Brendan. He’s fighting so many demons, real and imagined, that it’s easy to see how his vision gets clouded during this mission. He is squarely in the muck and can’t tell who is lying or what the truth is, believable or not. I personally like, immensely, that this story doesn’t focus solely on the Tudor Court or Elizabeth. While nothing can be as seductive as the Tudor Court, the mysteries surrounding Elizabeth are much more interesting with her out of the direct story. Brendan is a bit of a sad case in this book, though --- mourning for a lost love, regrets over his actions, and dealing with a newly revealed family secret. Not only does he do a lot of moping and worrying, he also brings all his baggage with him on this mission, which doesn’t help matters. On the bright side, he does show his flaws, which makes him likable, even through the cranky cloak he insists on wearing.
THE TUDOR VENDETTA is the third volume in C. W. Gortner’s Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles following THE TUDOR SECRET and THE TUDOR CONSPIRACY. These are infinitely readable books. There’s a bit of mystery, historical figures galore, and enough romance and family drama to keep you amused until the end. If you have any interest in all things Tudor, then you need to add this series to your list because it’s getting better with each new installment. Find a quiet reading spot, and you’ll be rewarded.
Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski on October 24, 2014