The Secret Lion.
The Secret Lion
2261 Market St., #504, San Francisco, CA 94114
A lifelong student of the Renaissance period, C.W. Gortner holds a MFA in Writing with an emphasis on Renaissance Studies from The New College of California, where he has also taught. His extensive travels, including living in a medieval Spanish castle and dancing in a Tudor great hall, add to his expertise. He is truly a Renaissance man. THE SECRET LION is the first installment of the Spymaster Chronicles.
Brendan Prescott is a twenty year old who knows nothing of his parentage. Taken in by a family with designs on the Tudor throne, he has been bullied and put down by the cruel members of the Dudley household. But he has the chance to become a squire at court, although he still is under the control of a Dudley at court. He quickly distinguishes himself, and uncovers a plot that takes the king's life and endangers his two sisters:
"Nevertheless, I'd caught her attention. Her eyes narrowed to slits.
'Just a foundling?' she repeated. 'Tell me this, were you truly left in the priest's cottage near Dudley Castle?'
Without taking my gaze from hers, I nodded, a shard in my throat.
'Do you know who left you there? Do you know who found you?'
I swallowed, struggling for a calm that eluded me. A dull roar filled my head, like an ocean in my brain. I heard myself say as if from across a vast distance, 'I don't know who left me. Dame Alice, the Dudley housekeeper and herbalist, she found me. She took me in.'
I gleaned another flash in her eyes. 'An herbalist?' Her stare was a physical instrument, a probing device in my sinews. 'A small woman, with a merry laugh?'
I began to tremble uncontrollably. She knew. She knew Dame Alice. 'Yes,' I whispered."
The Renaissance was truly a time when spies and plots thickened the court. It was not a time to be born of royal blood, because it often happened that the royals were murdered. C.W. Gortner's first tale of the Spymaster Chronicles is a triumph. He perfectly captures the intrigue and injustice of the would-be rulers as they vied for position and eliminated the opposition. Brendan Prescott is a hero who captivates the reader. A great read!