‘Secret Lion’ holds dark mirror to society | TahoeDailyTribune.com

‘Secret Lion’ holds dark mirror to society

Nancy Oliver Hayden

History, intrigue, mystery, secrets, suspense and the intertwining of facts and fiction make “The Secret Lion” a fascinating novel. Few know about the mysterious events that occurred in the summer of 1553 in England, which led up to the death of 16-year-old Edward VI, son of Henry VIII. This is the subject of Christopher (C.W.) Gortner’s debut historical novel, “The Secret Lion.”

“The success of historical mysteries, particularly books set in the Tudor era, will make “The Secret Lion” appealing to fans of genre. What sets this book apart, however, is the dark mirror it holds up to a bygone society, that despite its differences, holds uncanny similarities to our own – a society where the hunger for power, and struggle to retain it, will be familiar to the modern-day reader,” Gortner said.

The lead character in “The Secret Lion,” Brendon Prescott, comes to Edward VI’s court in the summer of 1553 as a squire to Robert Dudley. A foundling reared in the Dudley household, Brendan has no idea who his parents were. Upon his arrival in London, he witnesses the unexpected entry of the Princess Elizabeth as she steals into the city determined to uncover the truth about her brother the King, whom she has been denied leave to visit. Rumors of Edward’s fatal illness run rampant; and when Lord Robert sends Brendan to the Princess with an illicit message, it plunges him and Elizabeth into danger. As Brendan races to save the Princess from a vengeful opponent intent on her destruction, he begins to unravel the secret of his own mysterious birth.

Four years of research and access to period documentation went into the creation of “The Secret Lion.” A life-long scholar, Gortner holds a MA and a MFA in writing, with an emphasis on Renaissance history. He has taught seminars on the 16th century at various education institutions, including the New College of California.

“History is my lodestone. I wanted to explore the Tudor underworld in a way modern day readers can understand,” Gortner said. “While in college, I began writing historical fiction out of an insatiable curiosity to delve beyond the facts. For me, historical fiction helps re-create the past in a sensory way.”

Good news for Gortner’s fans – “The Secret Lion” is the first in a projected series called The Spymaster Chronicles. He currently is at work on “The Lioness Hunt,” the second book in The Spymaster Chronicles, and “Queen of Shadow,” a novel about Juana the Mad of Castile.

For more about C.W. Gortner visit his Web site at http://www.leonibus.com.

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