From Publishers Weekly
In Gortner's latest riveting historical (after The Last Queen), the influential Dudley family sends orphan servant Brendan Prescott to serve their cruel son, Lord Robert, at King Edward's court, and the young man is soon caught up in intrigue, suspicion, and shifting loyalties. Young King Edward is under the thumb of the Dudleys, but illness is greatly affecting his influence. Then the lion-eyed Princess Elizabeth, whom the Dudleys view as a threat, arrives and Prescott becomes a spy for her protector, William Cecil. Deeper involvement in the conspiracies surrounding the throne makes Prescott increasingly uncertain of loyalties, including his own, and he begins to question his fate and identity. In Gortner's capable hands, Prescott is a believable and enjoyable hero, a man of strong loyalties but naïve enough to be exploited. And while the Dudleys are mostly broadly drawn villains, Robert has depth, and though readers familiar with the Tudor era will know the key players, they may be surprised by their depiction here. Gortner handles action with aplomb, adding a riveting, fast-paced thriller to the crowded genre of Tudor fiction. (Feb.)
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In 1553, England is a dangerous place to be. King Edward is on his deathbed. Vying for the crown are Elizabeth, her half sister Mary, and their cousin, Lady Jane Grey, who is manipulated by her powerful father-in-law. Into the midst of all this drama rides Brendan Prescott, a 20-year-old orphan raised by the servants at the Duke of Northumberland’s country home. Sent to court to serve the duke’s sons, one of his first tasks is to deliver a secret missive to Elizabeth. But Brendan is soon lured by Elizabeth’s protector, William Cecil, into working for Elizabeth instead, as Cecil promises to help Brendan decipher the mystery of his parentage. Amid crosses and double crosses, Brendan realizes he has to choose a side, for the issue of succession to the throne quickly becomes a matter of life and death—and not just for the potential monarch. An exciting, vividly rendered story of intrigue and espionage. --Hilary Hatton