Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel

Wolf Hall

By Hilary Mantel

  • Publication Date: 2009-10-13
  • Genre: Historical
4 Score: 4 (From 611 Ratings)

Book Overview

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.

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Users Reviews

  • Wolf Hall

    1
    By Gregg Lee
    Horrible reading. So glad to get to end. Must be better novels of the Tudors.
  • Historical Fiction Like You Have Never Read Before

    5
    By Brianrmc
    Set in England during the time of Henry VIII, this book is centered around Thomas Cromwell, a man who rose from nothing to become the architect of the unique, powerhouse England. As one review said, we know what happened during this period, but this story tells how it happened, and the "how" was nothing short of amazing. I could not put this book down. All the characters read as completely modern. Author Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell Trilogy will become as timeless as Shakespeare's stories, and this first book is well-deserving of the 2009 Man Booker Prize.
  • Absolutely wonderful!

    5
    By Meatball 2
    Love this book and Bring Up The Bodies!
  • Cromwell lives and breathes

    5
    By Dogsbody67
    Mantell writes with such flexibility and grace that one feels all the senses engaged and the characters come alive. To read Wolf Hall is to experience sixteenth century England in the most convincing and immediate way.
  • awful awful awful

    1
    By camgBoston
    boring beyond belief...i love historical fiction but this is Unreadbable...I've read obsure history textbooks that were more exciting and well-written. Absolutely unbearable...
  • Wolf Hall

    2
    By BLahMan321
    Very difficult to follow. Writing style awkward and stilted. The author certainly took great pains to malign Sir Thomas More, which I thought unnecessary. As a Teacher of British History for over 26 years, I was dismayed at the author's characterizations of several of the personages central to this period of history, artistic license notwithstanding. I will not bother with any sequel.
  • Fantastic

    5
    By Grath
    Manuel's prose is absolutely beautiful, enough to justify its occasional thickness. Crafting a narrative of this magnitude with the full weight of history bearing down on you must be a Herculean task. As it is, the book is perfect, I can't recommend it enough.
  • Wolf hall

    1
    By Reader in sleepy
    So boring I had to stop reading.
  • Wolf Hall

    5
    By NutmegGardener
    Brilliant. Unlike anything I've ever read. Fluid, haunting, witty, a great read.
  • Wolf Hall

    2
    By JVBaum
    An excrucitingly difficult book to wade through.