Christopher C.W. Gortner is an American historical fiction and spymaster thriller writer best known for “The Spymaster Chronicles” and a series of freestanding novels. Gortner was born and grew up in Malaga in Southern Spain, in a small village that overlooked the ruined castle that was once the home of Isabella of Castile. Historical characters and people were thus very real in his childhood given that he was surrounded by history. Going to college, he studied history and even mastered in it as an extension of his love for the subject. Gortner’s novels have been translated into more than twenty languages and been critically acclaimed across the globe. The novels have become international bestsellers across Europe and in the United States where they were Marin Independent Journal, The Last Queen, American Booksellers Association, and USA Today bestsellers. The Washington Independent Review also named Gortner one of the top historical novelists. Outside his writing, he has been a keynote speaker in the United Kingdom and the United States where he has spoken at the Historical Novel Society Conference. He also attends several writers’ conferences, book clubs, and a wide range of women’s groups to talk about historical fiction. Prior to becoming a published author, C.W. spent more than a decade in public administration where he worked as a public health practitioner. Prior to that he spent a few years working as a fashion executive.
Christopher C.W. Gortner is also learned in literary arts having gone to the New College of California where he got his MFA in Writing, specializing in Renaissance Studies. Before that he had studied the arts at the San Francisco Fashion Institute of Merchandising and Design. He would go on to spend eleven years in the fashion design industry where he took up several roles including fashion show coordinator, freelance publicist, and vintage retail buyer. Upon publishing his first ever novel “The Last Queen” which became a massive success, he quit his job as a public health administrator to become a full time author. Quitting his job to become a full time author has made it even easier to research history and the material for his novels. His research has taken him to an ancient Spanish castle where he spent a chilly night, Chenoceaux, where he learnt organic gardening, and Hampton Court where he learnt to dance galliard. Over the years, C.W. Gortner’s novels have sold more than 400, 000 titles to make him one of the most read historical fiction authors ever. Outside his professional work, he is a dedicated animal rights campaigner who specializes in issues of reducing shelter overcrowding and animal rescue. Even as he was born and bred in Spain he currently lives in California with his cats and partner.
Christopher C.W. Gortner ’s novels are themed on women of power and famous queens and the life and times of a spy that lived in Tudor England. Her queen based novels are for the most part historical narratives that adhere to facts and timelines that are true in history even if they incorporate some story lines that are not necessarily in history. Most of the narratives are set in the context of the historical times that the characters lived in, including their personalities, attitudes, and relationships with the people in their lives. Nonetheless, Gortner’s novels find alternate explanations for why a historical character made certain decisions or behaved in a certain manner. For instance, if historical fact asserts the piety of Isabella of Castile, the novels will typically have the characters as pious. In his Tudor series of spy thrillers the protagonist is a man who comes with a secret history that ends up as one of the most trusted aides of Elizabeth I. Unlike many of the protagonists of the previous novels, the lead of the spy thrillers is a fictional, even as the narrative is set in a factual setting with real life historical characters. Brendan Scott the lead of the series is thus a character who offers insights into the feelings of the author regarding the Elizabethan period in which the narratives are set. While he is a stranger in the world, over the course of the novels he develops as a man who is learning to live in the dangerous Tudor world. He lives in the shadows in the edge where he is no man and every man at the same time. Unlike many of the other characters from history, Prescott the lead is less constrained in his attitudes and character.
“The Tudor Secret” is the exhilarating first novel of “The Spymaster Chronicles” series of novels by C.W. Gortner. The novel is set in the times of the Tudors, an era full of conspiracy, deceit, intrigue, danger and most of all spies. Brendan Prescott the lead is an orphan that grew up in the Dudley family household, but is now living in the Elizabethan court. He has been brought to court by the king who needs him to spy on Princess Elizabeth. But he soon finds himself compelled by William Cecil the protector of Elizabeth who gets him to work as a double agent in exchange for helping him learn the mysterious secrets in his past. Elizabeth is on a quest to learn the truth about the dark plots that led to the disappearance of King Edward VI, her seriously sick sibling. Prescott plunges into a brutal scheme of murder, lies, and half-truths with only a daring lady in waiting and a courageous stable boy helping him. Full of the pageantry and intrigue of Tudor England, it is an excellent introduction the Spymaster Chronicles series.
“The Tudor Conspiracy” is set in the 1554 winter where Brendan comes to learn that he may be related to the Tudors not only through allegiance but also by blood. He is called to go to the capital to protect Elizabeth, but is wary that even though his secret is hardly known, it could just be the end of him if it came out. He leaves Kate his lover behind and heads to London alongside Peregrine his young squire. He soon discovers that in the capital he can take no one at face value. Could Robert Dudley be pulling the strings of Elizabeth from behind the tower? Just what is Queen Mary planning for Elizabeth? And could he really trust the intentions of Mary’s lady in waiting, the alluring woman who assure shim that she is on his side? Trying to unravel the intrigues of the court will turn out to be one of the most dangerous things he ever did in his life.
Books in order of publication:
Spymaster Chronicles Books
|The Secret Lion aka The Tudor Secret||(2004)|
|The Tudor Conspiracy||(2013)|
|The Tudor Vendetta||(2014)|
|The Last Queen||(2006)|
|The Confessions of Catherine de Medici||(2010)|
|The Queen’s Vow||(2012)|
|The Vatican Princess||(2016)|
|The Romanov Empress||(2018)|