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Publisher Description

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.

Fiction & Literature
October 13
Henry Holt and Co.

Customer Reviews

Jean bridge ,

Wolf Hall

I've never read historical fiction, yet Mantel's Wolf Hall had me from the start. Great writing! Dialogue on almost every page, characters that come alive and about whom we care. Thoroughly entertaining, humor, revulsion, pathos, sex, murder, torture, religion...the grimy, glory world of medieval England revealed at its best. Read it.

111foxyrox ,


Richly told, beautifully envisioned, with a wholly different image of Cromwell than we are used to hearing. Thoroughly enjoyable. Ended with an opening for a sequel, can hardly wait.

Maxwell Peevey ,


I gave this a try because it seemed like I would be an interesting story, and I was severely disappointed. Hillary Mantel certainly knows her history, but it does not make for a compelling or interesting book. In fact, her book is frequently difficult to read and thoroughly confusing. The main problem is a lack of clarity. I know that the book is historical fiction and that the names of the pele in it come from history, but not bothering to define which Thomas is talking to another Thomas makes the story very difficult to follow. In addition to this, characters oftentimes are referred to by their first name and then by their title later in the same sentence. This would not be a problem, except that titles are sometimes introduced this way, and it is not until you are several pages further along do you realize you are reading about the same person.

This is really a shame because the story the author is trying to tell is an absolutely fascinating one, it is just that it is told incompetently. Honestly, a high school student would receive a failing grade for handing in a manuscript like 'Wolf Hall.'

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