- Publisher: FOURTH ESTATE LTD
- Format: CD-Audio | 6 pages
- Dimensions: 139mm x 142mm x 15mm | 180g
- Publication date: 6 November 2009
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0007237235
- ISBN 13: 9780007237234
- Edition: Abridged
- Edition statement: Abridged edition
- Sales rank: 28,621
Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2009 and read by Dan Stevens, star of TV's Downton Abbey. 'Lock Cromwell in a deep dungeon in the morning,' says Thomas More, 'and when you come back that night he'll be sitting on a plush cushion eating larks' tongues, and all the gaolers will owe him money.' England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey's clerk, and later his successor. Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages. From one of our finest living writers, Wolf Hall is that very rare thing: a truly great English novel, one that explores the intersection of individual psychology and wider politics. With a vast array of characters, and richly overflowing with incident, it peels back history to show us Tudor England as a half-made society, moulding itself with great passion and suffering and courage.
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Hilary Mantel is the author of thirteen books, including A PLACE OF GREATER SAFETY, BEYOND BLACK, and the memoir GIVING UP THE GHOST. Her two most recent novels, WOLF HALL and its sequel BRING UP THE BODIES, have both been awarded The Man Booker Prize - an unprecedented achievement.
By Manavi Mendis 04 Sep 2010
Wolf Hall narrates the story Thomas Cromwell's ascend to power as Master Sectary in a time when England broke from the Roman Catholic Church, Henry divorced his lawful wife, and the desire for a heir- a son, was intense.
Wolf Hall is the first book of its kind that gives a balanced view of Cromwell's life, starting at 7, a lad, leaving home because of abuse from a blacksmith father. He learns trade, commerce and money at sea, returns to England and serves the powerful Cardinal Wolsey. As the cardinal's descend from power arises, he attends to court to appeal for Wolsey, and attracts Henry's and Anne Boleyn's eye. After the Cardinal's death he rapidly ascends the power ladder at Henry's court.
Although Cromwell's wealth and power exceed his dreams, he is nevertheless portrayed as a man isolated and solitary in private life- his beloved wife succumbs to the "sweating sickness", and time later, his beloved two daughters. And through out his life he will carry the loss in his heart.
His Protest beliefs of childhood, oust Katherine's deep mistrust of him, Princess Mary's certainty in his kindness, Henry's strong trust and fondness in him, and Anne Boleyn's use of him in her cause are at all times beautifully worked out. No character is too small for Hilary Mantel. The Boleyn's Sir Thomas, frivolous George and the long suffering Mary are included and shown through Cromwell's eyes. Then there's Thomas Moore and his daughter, Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, Henry Percy of Northumberland, Cromwell's numerous family folk and protÃ?Â©gÃ?Â©s,, the French king, bastard Henry Fritzroy, the gentle Jane Seymour, and her father's scandalous affair- they all make an appearance in this colorful cast in trying Tudor times.
It's an exquisite, unstoppable read that makes you ask for more at the last page.
"A stunning book. It breaks free of what the novel has become nowadays. I can't think of anything since Middlemarch which so convincingly builds a world." Diana Athill "A fascinating read, so good I rationed myself. It is remarkable and very learned; the texture is marvellously rich, the feel of Tudor London and the growing household of a man on the rise marvellously authentic. Characters real and imagined spring to life, from the childish and petulant King to Thomas Wolsey's jester, and it captures the extrovert, confident, violent mood of the age wonderfully." C.J. Sansom "A magnificent achievement: the scale of its vision and the fine stitching of its detail; the teeming canvas of characters; the style with its clipped but powerful immediacy; the wit, the poetry and the nuance." Sarah Dunant "A superb novel, beautifully constructed, and an absolutely compelling read. Mantel has created a novel of Tudor times which persuades us that we are there, at that moment, hungry to know what happens next. It is the making of our English world, and who can fail to be stirred by it?" Helen Dunmore 'Hilary Mantel's magnificent new novel' Bee Wilson, Daily Telegraph 'Magestically conjures up an England in the throes of epic change ... a Great British Novel' Hephzibah Anderson, Observer 'enthralling..the reader Simon Slater makes us feel within whispering distance' Carole Mansur on the Wolf Hall audio