Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall

Book - 2009
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Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2009 '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.'

Blackwell North Amer
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.

Publisher: London : Fourth Estate, 2009
ISBN: 9781554687732
Branch Call Number: MAN
Characteristics: 651 p. ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

England in the 1520s. 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... Read More »

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Apr 01, 2020

All hail Hilary Mantel, master of bringing the Tudor court to life so palpably you feel you are really there! As a lover of this time period, I will read anything centering on the Tudor dynasty from Shakespeare to the silliest YA romp. However, Mantel's masterpiece outshines them all, following the rise of lowborn Thomas Cromwell as he becomes Henry VIII's closest advisor. Cromwell is often portrayed as a villain in Tudor fiction, so it was fascinating getting to know him, his family, and his political allies and enemies through a protagonist's lens.

Wolf Hall is dense (almost 700 pages) and it can be difficult to keep track of its numerous characters (especially when so many of them have the same first names), but don't let that deter you. If you're a fan of court intrigue, you won't want to miss this winner of the 2009 Booker Prize.

Mar 23, 2020

Mantel begins her trilogy with a gripping novel of the rise of Thomas Cromwell in the heady (and dangerous) political landscape of Henry VIII's court. Figures like Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas More, William Tyndale, and Archbishop Cranmer, jostle for position among the international intrigue of Henry's martial status, reform of the Church, and rivalry between England, France, the Papacy, and the Empire. Imperceptibly, Cromwell "arranges his face" as a courtier and climbs the ladder of power as others fall into disgrace, exile, or even the fires of the executioner. Be prepared to be captivated by this window onto history, and onto the soul of the central character.

Aug 25, 2019

Part of former US President, Barack Obama's summer reading list for 2019.

Jun 27, 2019

I loved this book (and also Bring Up the Bodies). I am just puzzled that anyone found either book boring. I read both of them feeling like I WAS Thomas Cromwell. Made the time come alive for me.

Dec 20, 2018

a treasure!

It took me ages to finish it and I felt like celebrating when I did. I loved the BBC miniseries and I did appreciate the first and last third of it, but it was hard to get into the groove of this book. However, the detail, the portrayal of Cromwell and the extraordinary work that went into researching this book is astounding. Her prose is dry, often extremely subtle and witty. It is as slippery as Cromwell himself. I wish I loved it more than I did. I will still read Bring up the Bodies.

Nov 28, 2018

Wow, great title and that's about it.

Despite all the critical acclaim it's just a very boring read. The potential is amazing, and I imagine the research and work that went into it was substantial, but the writing was just missing some ingredient to make it interesting. Also, an annoying feature is that the pronoun "he" is almost exclusively reserved for Thomas Cromwell, which may seem like a neat literary device, it is a little confusing at first, and then just plain annoying. Fantastic idea for a book but the writing just does not follow through, it became more and more difficult to pick it up and about exactly half way through I stopped...well, after 350 pages enough is enough.
PS The TV series could be really good though...

Apr 05, 2017

Fun read. I am not sure I wouldn't like a good history book about the same era just as much, maybe more?

Feb 09, 2017

Easy to read, continully enthralling. A guise of history in soap opera form. Too many names to remember.

Bunny_Watson716 Dec 12, 2016

For fans of dense historical fiction who enjoy novels set in Tudor England. This is a book you can sink your teeth into and you won't be disappointed with Mantel's richly detailed writing style.

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Jan 30, 2011

Violence: This title contains Violence.

Jan 30, 2011

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.

Jan 30, 2011

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

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Jul 05, 2013

pagetraveler thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 16 and 99

Jan 30, 2011


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Nov 25, 2013

Very well written.
But for someone who gets to read just 30 or so minutes at bedtime, it was too long - nearly 700 pages!

Jul 05, 2013

Based on English history and the time of the Tudors. Takes the point of view of Thomas Cromwell to tell the story of Henry the VIII and his 1st and 2nd wives and his relationship with the church.


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Jul 17, 2012

You learn nothing about men by snubbing them and crushing their pride. You must ask them what it is they can do in this world, that they alone can do.

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