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In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII's court, only one man dares to gamble his life to win the king's favor and ascend to the heights of political power

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. The quest for the king's freedom destroys his adviser, the brilliant Cardinal Wolsey, and leaves a power vacuum.

Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell. Cromwell is a wholly original man, a charmer and a bully, both idealist and opportunist, astute in reading people and a demon of energy: he is also a consummate politician, hardened by his personal losses, 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 presents a picture of a half-made society on the cusp of change, where individuals fight or embrace their fate with passion and courage. With a vast array of characters, overflowing with incident, the novel re-creates an era when the personal and political are separated by a hairbreadth, where success brings unlimited power but a single failure means death.

Book Reviews

Wolf Hall
Average rating
4.4 / 5
Great historical fiction
June 4th, 2015
Great book, very well researched and interesting. An easy read on a complex subject. The book can be a bit long, but it never feels exhausting, repetitive or wordy. I loved the characters, really well developed
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1 review
Wolf Hall
August 9th, 2014
A sweeping historical reminding us of our sometimes inglorious pathways.
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1 review
1 person found this helpful
January 25th, 2014
Hilary Mantel's Booker Prize winning novel plumbs the psyche of a multiskilled but increasingly 'bloodless' Thomas Cromwell. Despite this being a work of fiction I thought it interesting to learn of the more tender aspects of the main character who is usually depicted as a villain and little else. Thomas More, on the other hand, is not as saintly as you would expect and his obsession with brutal forms of justice is brilliantly conveyed in the novel. Tudor England in the reign of Henry VIII comes to life in "Wolf Hall" whose only drawback is the confusing use of the third person, 'he' to refer mostly to Cromwell himself, but also to other characters. A great read, especially for historical fiction buffs!
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1 review
Wolf Hall
January 22nd, 2013
Interesting. A different way to write and read. Mostly conversation, told from the point of view of Thomas Cromwell, a commoner who achieved much power and wealth under Henry VIII due to his cleverness and ruthlessness as a lawyer and financial manager. Anne Boleyn forces herself onto the throne. Thomas More tortures and kills suspected heretics, but winds up being executed for refusing to accept the king's divorce of Katherine and marriage to Anne. Hilary Mantel does as masterful job of putting the reader into the daily thoughts of Cromwell as he maneuvers the king and his court.
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1 review

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