Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall : Winner of the Man Booker Prize

3.87 (191,021 ratings by Goodreads)
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Winner of the Man Booker Prize
Shortlisted for the the Orange Prize
Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award

`Dizzyingly, dazzlingly good'
Daily Mail

'Our most brilliant English writer'

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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Product details

  • Paperback | 688 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 42mm | 480g
  • Fourth Estate Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0007230206
  • 9780007230204
  • 8,572

Review quote

'So original and disconcerting that it will surely come to be seen as a paradigm-shifter' Sunday Telegraph

'As soon as I opened the book I was gripped. I read it almost non-stop.When I did have to put it down, I was full of regret that the story was over, a regret I still feel. This is a wonderful and intelligently imagined retelling of a familiar tale from an unfamiliar angle' The Times

'A stunning book. It breaks free of what the novel has become nowadays. I can't think of anything since Middlemarchwhich so convincingly builds a world' Diana Athill, author of Somewhere Towards the End

'This is a beautiful and profoundly human book, a dark mirror held up to our own world. And the fact that its conclusion takes place after the curtain has fallen only proves that Hilary Mantel is one of our bravest as well as our most brilliant writers' Olivia Laing, Observer

'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, author of The Shardlake Series

'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, author of The Birth of Venus

'A superb novel, beautifully constructed, and an absolutely compelling read. 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, author of Birdcage Walk
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About Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel is the author of fifteen books, including A PLACE OF GREATER SAFETY, BEYOND BLACK, the memoir GIVING UP THE GHOST, and the short-story collection THE ASSASSINATION OF MARGARET THATCHER. Her two most recent novels, WOLF HALL and its sequel BRING UP THE BODIES, have both been awarded the Man Booker Prize.
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Rating details

191,021 ratings
3.87 out of 5 stars
5 38% (71,925)
4 31% (59,346)
3 18% (33,746)
2 8% (15,597)
1 5% (10,407)

Our customer reviews

The title comes from the name of the Seymour family seat at Wolf Hall or Wulfhall in Wiltshire; the title's allusion to the old Latin saying "Man is wolf to man" serves as a constant reminder of the dangerously opportunistic nature of the world through which Cromwell navigates. None of the action occurs at Wolf Hall.show more
by Laurence May
I was really excited about reading this book as I love historical fiction and had heard great things about this title. However, I've just given up on it less than 1/4 way through. I'm an avid reader, but found I just couldn't get in to the writing style at all or identify with the characters. The storyline seemed to skip all over the place and the way dialogue was written was confusing. I was sorely disapointed!show more
by Kate Sokulski
Having read the 3 reviews already on site, there is not much more to add, they are all great reviews. I really did enjoy the book about the rise of Thomas Cromwell from an abused little boy beaten constantly by his father,to the powerful political advisor at the court of Henry VIII. Although the strange writing style made it a book you had to concentrate on because if your mind wandered at all you had to re-read a paragraph or two to see what you had missed! The dialogue (to my mind) was very modern, not at all as they would have spoken at the time!! It did however keep it interesting. As Michael says you do not really know Cromwell any better at the end of the book than you did at the start! But the journey to the end I found very interesting. I am not sure quite why it was called "Wolf Hall" as this was the family home of Jane Seymour, who is mentioned but is by no means a cornerstone of the story! (Maybe I missed something and didn't re-read!!) As Fiona says I am not sure about it being a winner though, it was good but not everyones cup of tea because of the writing style. But overall I found it a very good read.show more
by Penny Cunningham
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