WINNER OF THE 2009 MAN BOOKER PRIZE WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FOR FICTION A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years and marry Anne Boleyn. The pope and most of Europe opposes him. Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell: a wholly original man, a charmer and a bully, both idealist and opportunist, astute in reading people, and implacable in his ambition. But Henry is volatile: one day tender, one day murderous. Cromwell helps him break the opposition, but what will be the price of his triumph? In inimitable style, Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall is "a darkly brilliant reimagining of life under Henry VIII. . . . Magnificent." (The Boston Globe).
Picador 604 pages
about 1 year ago
I am 2/3 way through this book but have to comment now -- I'm LOVING it. It's not an easy read -- there's a deliberate, historical style of writing that Mantel uses to evoke the period -- but the character of Cromwell is just so vividly drawn. Great read.
UPDATE: this book is taking me forever to finish, but I'm still really loving it. In particular, Hilary Mantel’s take on the era of Henry VIII in Wolf Hall is quite brilliant, especially in terms of where she imagines the location of power — not in the monarch, but in the early capitalists, foremost among them Thomas Cromwell. Here is Cromwell trying to explain the ways of the world to a stupid Henry Percy:
"How can he explain to him? The world is not run from where he thinks. The world is run from Antwerp, from Florence, from places he has never imagined; from Lisbon, from where the ships with sails of silk drift west and are burned up in the sun. Not from castle walls, but from counting houses, not by the call of the bugle but by the click of the abacus, not by the grate and click of the mechanism of the gun but by the scrape of the pen on the page of the promissory note that pays for the gun and the gunsmith and the powder and shot."
UPDATE: Finally finished it! Took me so freaking long! But I loved it. Truly. Totally fell in love with Thomas Cromwell.