Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Elizabeth and Robert: A Dangerous Liaison

I am pleased to welcome G.W. Gortner, author of Tudor Secret, to my blog today.  I hope you enjoy his guest post as much as I have.  Make sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post for your copy of "Tudor Secret".  A Synopsis and Excerpt of the book are also available below.  Please welcome G.W. Gornter......

Elizabeth Tudor, better known to history as Queen Elizabeth I, was unexpected. Her parents, the glamorous Anne Boleyn and formidable Henry VIII, were convinced that the child Anne carried was a long-awaited son. Yet the boy Henry had so yearned for and torn his realm apart to obtain turned out to be a girl, born with what seemed to be a curse writ into her fate. Within three years, Henry would behead her mother and re-marry four times; she’d gain a younger brother, Edward, in addition to her older sister Mary; face a daunting fight for her life that would test her to her core; and would, if the legend is true, fall impossibly in love with one man— Robert Dudley.

In one of the few portraits we have of Elizabeth in her youth, we see a brittle red-haired princess with spidery fingers—so reminiscent of her mother’s—clad in an ornamental red dress against a curtained backdrop. She stares enigmatically at us, secrets lurking in her dark eyes. Keenly intelligent, arguably as alluring as Anne ever was, this portrait was painted shortly before troubled adolescence catapulted Elizabeth into an ultimately lethal flirtation with Thomas Seymour. It must have been an unforgettable lesson for the impressionable princess of the dangers inherent in her nascent sexuality. Certainly, if she’d harbored any doubts before, nurtured on whispered stories of her mother’s horrifying end, the execution of Seymour proved to Elizabeth that in her world, sex certainly could equal death.

Many believe, however, that when it came to Robert Dudley, this trauma was superseded by inescapable desire. Elizabeth and Robert are inextricably linked, two halves of a fractured whole. They cut their teeth in one of the most treacherous courts in history, witnessing early on the consequences of unbridled ambition or passion. If ever there were two people who should have known better, it was they. Yet their own dangerous liaison lasted a lifetime, epic in its unattainable promise and darkened by rumors of murder and betrayal. Elizabeth knew the price those who courted her could pay; and Robert was the favored son of a family stained by treason. Still, they gravitated to each other like stars on an unstoppable collision course. What drew these two powerful personalities together?

In The Tudor Secret, we meet Elizabeth in her nineteenth year. Four years have passed since the execution of Seymour and she’s a seasoned veteran of the court, wary and fully aware of the perils lurking behind every tapestry. Propelled by concern for her brother King Edward, she’s come unannounced to London to discover why he’s disappeared from the public eye. Robert Dudley’s father, Northumberland, holds sway over the realm and plots to further his iron grip. And Robert, though already wed, burns to achieve what he believes is his right: the heart of a princess. It is a quest that will pit Elizabeth against a tenacious foe and give smoldering birth to a catastrophic love affair that will define her life and haunt the man who yearns to possess her— proving that Elizabeth and Robert remain as fascinating today as they must have been all those hundreds of years ago.

Thank you so much for spending this time with me. To learn more about me and my books, as well as access special features, please visit me at: Happy reading!

About the author:
C.W. Gortner is the author of the acclaimed historical novels The Last Queen and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici. He holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis on Renaissance Studies from the New College of California. In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard in a Tudor great hall and experienced life in a Spanish castle. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights and environmental issues. Half-Spanish by birth, he divides his time between Northern California and Antigua, Guatemala.

The Tudor Secret is the first book in Gortner’s The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles series.

You can visit the author online at or his blog at

About the book:
The era of the Tudors was one of danger, intrigue, conspiracy, and above all, spies.

Summer 1553: A time of danger and deceit. Brendan Prescott, an orphan, is reared in the household of the powerful Dudley family. Brought to court, Prescott finds himself sent on an illicit mission to the King’s brilliant, enigmatic sister, Princess Elizabeth. But Brendan is soon compelled to work as a double agent by Elizabeth’s protector, William Cecil—who promises in exchange to help him unravel the secret of his own mysterious past.

A dark plot swirls around Elizabeth's quest to unravel the truth about the ominous disappearance of her seriously ill brother, King Edward VI. With only a bold stable boy and audacious lady-in-waiting at his side, Brendan plunges into a ruthless gambit of half-truths, lies, and murder. Filled with the intrigue and pageantry of Tudor England, The Tudor Secret is the first book in The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles.

There are moments that define our existence, moments that, if we recognize them, become pivotal turning points in our life. Like pearls on a strand, the accumulation of such moments will in time become the essence of our life, providing solace when our end draws near.

For me, meeting Elizabeth Tudor was one of those moments.

The first I noticed was that she was not beautiful. Her chin was too narrow for the oval of her face, her long thin nose emphasizing the high curve of her cheeks and proud brow. Her mouth was disproportionately wide and her lips too thin, as if she savored secrets. And she was too pale and slim, like a fey creature of indeterminate sex.

Then I met her stare. Her eyes were fathomless, over-wide pupils limning her gold irises, like twin suns in eclipse. I had seen eyes like hers before, years ago, when a traveling menagerie entertained us at Dudley Castle. Then, too, I had been captured by their dormant power.

She had the eyes of a lion.

“Lord Robert’s squire?” she said to Cecil. “How can it be? I’ve never seen him before.”

“I’m new to court, Your Grace,” I answered. “Your dog is foreign, is he not?”

She shot me a terse look; she’d not given me leave to speak. “He is Italian. You are familiar with the breed?”

“I had occasion to learn many things during my time in the Dudley stables.”

“Is that so?” She tilted her head. “Hold out your hand.”

I hesitated for a moment before warily extending my wrist. She loosened her grip on the chain. The hound thrust his muzzle at me. I almost recoiled as I felt his breath on my skin. He sniffed. To my relief, he licked my skin and retreated.

“You have a way with animals,” Elizabeth said. “Urian rarely takes to strangers.” She motioned me to my feet. “What is your name?”

“Brendan Prescott, Your Grace.”

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  1. thanks for hosting this giveaway! historical fiction is really interesting and this book sounds great.

  2. This book sounds great! I love historical ficition.

  3. Now I am wondering what breed of dog she had. LOL
    How could I not want to read this book so full of intrigue and secrets and written by a master!

    Please enter me in this contest.


  4. I'm new to historical fiction and becoming a huge fan1

  5. I loved Mr. Gortner's novel about Juana, and I know this book will be great also. A spy connected to the Dudley household - Wow!
    Thanks for the giveaway.

  6. a great posting...would enjoy reading this novel

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  7. this looks amazing! I have been really into historical fiction lately! can't wait to read it!

  8. This sounds really interesting. Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  9. I love reading fictional books and travelling to a new world!
    girl23rocks at hotmail dot com
    - Allie

  10. I love Tudor stories! I'd love to read this, it sounds interesting!

  11. I love Mr Gortner's prior works. Dudley's and Elizabth's story is one of the big 'what ifs' of history plus all the rumors and speculation and legends that we will never have an answer to. In a way, it makes me glad that we live in a world where the press is so intrusive. We will have no future mysteries.

    Please enter me: annfesATyahooDOTcom

  12. Thank you for hosting me and best of luck to everyone with the giveaway! I hope you enjoy reading THE TUDOR SECRET.

  13. I so much enjoy reading historical fiction just like this. Definitely want to read it!

  14. Historical fiction is a new genre for me. I enjoyed the guest post and excerpt. Although History was not my favorite subject in school, reading this genre will be a fun way(more fun than textbooks) to get a general idea of who's who.

  15. I love reading stories about the Tudors. I have not read any of C.W. Gortner and now I definitely will! Thanks for the great giveaway!!

  16. Sounds like something I'd love to read! Thanks for the great interview.

  17. I've just started reading historical fiction again after spending quite a few hours reading contemporary fiction. I really do love this period.

  18. Sounds like an awesome read. Thanks for the giveaway.

  19. I luv historical fiction and I enjoyed the guest post. Sounds like a book I'd like to read. Thanks for the giveaway.

  20. Thanks for the giveaway. The book sounds great.

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

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