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Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
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Wolf Hall (original 2009; edition 2009)

by Hilary Mantel

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,439470471 (3.98)4 / 1656
Member:sjmccreary
Title:Wolf Hall
Authors:Hilary Mantel
Info:London : Fourth Estate, 2009.
Collections:Your library, To read, Overwhelming Odds, Owned books
Rating:
Tags:LT, fiction, historical, England

Work details

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (2009)

  1. 121
    Dissolution by C. J. Sansom (gypsysmom)
  2. 143
    The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell (kidzdoc)
    kidzdoc: This is another excellent British historical novel.
  3. 90
    The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers by Margaret George (napaxton)
  4. 113
    Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (zhejw)
  5. 91
    The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir (elvisettey)
  6. 70
    An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears (souci)
    souci: A look at the machinations behind the throne as England passes out of placid Catholicism moving fitfully and violently towards Protestantism.
  7. 40
    Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII by David Starkey (souloftherose)
  8. 40
    Henry VIII by J. J. Scarisbrick (robeik)
    robeik: Somewhat academic, but chock-full of detail on Henry's divorce proceedings from Catherine and the Roman Catholic Church.
  9. 41
    Abundance by Sena Jeter Naslund (bell7)
    bell7: Both biographical novels explore well-known historical events through the eyes of one sympathetic character close to the action.
  10. 41
    Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel (otherstories)
  11. 30
    Virgin and the Crab: Sketches, Fables and Mysteries from the early life of John Dee and Elizabeth Tudor by Robert Parry (RochieRochel)
  12. 20
    Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: This is another book that really brings a period of history to life around you.
  13. 20
    The Mirror and the Light (Thomas Cromwell, #3) by Hilary Mantel (guurtjesboekenkast)
  14. 53
    Dark Fire by C. J. Sansom (brenzi)
    brenzi: Another book concerning the Henry VIII and Thomas Chromwell.
  15. 31
    The Marriage of Meggotta by Edith Pargeter (Osbaldistone)
  16. 20
    The Life of Thomas More by Peter Ackroyd (napaxton)
  17. 10
    The Corn King and the Spring Queen by Naomi Mitchison (Anonymous user)
  18. 21
    Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd (guurtjesboekenkast)
  19. 22
    A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury by Edith Pargeter (ansate)
    ansate: Different time period, but another fantastically written historical novel
  20. 22
    The Children's Book by A. S. Byatt (kidzdoc)

(see all 23 recommendations)

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English (459)  Dutch (4)  Swedish (3)  German (3)  French (2)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Norwegian (1)  Finnish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (478)
Showing 1-5 of 459 (next | show all)
Powerful historical epic, but with an unusually modern, introspective narrator - Thomas Cromwell, the humble born blacksmith's son who rises to serve the preeminent English cardinal, Archbishop of York, Cromwell's patron. When the Archbishop falls out of favor with King Henry VIII, peevish and determined to overthrow his 20 yr marriage to Katherine of Aragon to marry Anne Boleyn, Thomas delicately maneuvers himself into King Henry's graces and escapes ruin because of the Archbishop's fall, and untimely death. So well written, but definitely a challenge, not just because of the many, many characters, but the broad scope of 16th century English court life, the struggle between "THE" church- the Roman Catholic one, with the Pope at its head, and the rise of new religious practice, introduced by the "renegade" monk, Martin Luther, and also Tyndale, who dared to translate the entire Bible from the ancient languages into English-available to commoners to read for themselves.
And this doesn't even touch on the sad deaths of many -including members of Thomas Cromwell's family- to the reoccurring seasons of plague that beset London, the political and religious intrigues of ambassadors, European's royalty and the church's top officials, and the (UGH) several cases of torture/death by hanging/burning, etc for treason, religious heresy, etc. Tough times to be in England! I agree w/the other reviewers who point out if you're going to tackle this book, you need to read big chunks of it regularly, or risk having to backtrack because of the many, many threads that spin out throughout its pages. Still and all, I very much enjoyed seeing the King, his court, his wives, the many "names" of this era through the eyes of such a thoughtful (albeit ambitious) but still caring and hardworking man.
Now I feel I can enjoy the PBS airing of this book "Wolf Hall" - I am waiting and hoping they'll re-air all the episodes this summer (2015) so I can watch in big gulps. ( )
  BDartnall | May 22, 2015 |
Very good historical novel based on the life of Thomas Cromwell. Interesting background on Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn as well as life in 1530's London. ( )
  mfdavis | May 20, 2015 |
The depth of the research that this work must have entailed is astonishing. I also admire Mantel's ability to pad out the sparse knowledge we have of the life of Cromwell and form a well-rounded, rich character. The sad thing is. I could not really get on with this book. I found it very dull, too long and a massive let down. I wanted to like it but I couldn't. ( )
1 vote martensgirl | May 19, 2015 |
That is the entire premise of the first book of the Thomas Cromwell Trilogy Hilary Mantel has produced over the last six years. From reading various reviews online, this book has been met with equally vicious and loving reviews. It’s a love-it or hate-it type of book, and I fall into the love-it category. One note, any use of the pronoun “he” more often than not refers to Thomas Cromwell. This writing quirk has a bit tricky to keep up with earlier in the book when there were many men present and active in the chapters. Although once I accustomed myself to this usage, the book had a wonderfully enticing flow that seemingly transported me back to 16th Century. Although I love historical novels and Henry VIII is my favorite monarch, I have not read any historical novels set in this era. I’m glad I started with Wolf Hall. Mantel’s minute descriptions could have been boring, and dragged on. But they did not. They created wonderful visuals in my head of an impatient, intelligent and multi-layered King who wanted a male heir to the throne. While Katherine had been first married to his older brother Arthur, Henry married her upon the death of his brother. Inheriting the queen and the crown at the same time was fine and dandy, but after 20 years with only a single daughter to boast, Henry was ready to move on.

Read more at: http://thenovelworld.com/2015/03/30/book-review-wolf-hall-by-hilary-mantel/ ( )
  TheNovelWorld | May 15, 2015 |
I now know why she won the Booker Mann as well as almost every other book award. This is an amazing work of historical fiction. I can't wait to start 'Bringing Up the Bodies". Who knew the 1530's could be so exciting and engaging. ( )
  Donura1 | May 5, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 459 (next | show all)
Hilary Mantel sets a new standard for historical fiction with her latest novel Wolf Hall, a riveting portrait of Thomas Cromwell, chief advisor to King Henry VIII and a significant political figure in Tudor England. Mantel’s crystalline style, piercing eye and interest in, shall we say, the darker side of human nature, together with a real respect for historical accuracy, make this novel an engrossing, enveloping read.
added by clamairy | editBookPage, Lauren Bufferd (Mar 2, 2011)
 
hard to read but enjoyable
added by AAGP | editSlate Audio Book Club (Mar 15, 2010)
 
A sequel is plainly in view, as we are given glimpses of the rival daughters who plague the ever-more-gross monarch’s hectic search for male issue. The ginger-haired baby Elizabeth is mainly a squalling infant in the period of the narrative, which chiefly covers the years 1527–35, but in the figure of her sibling Mary, one is given a chilling prefiguration of the coming time when the bonfires of English heretics will really start to blaze in earnest. Mantel is herself of Catholic background and education, and evidently not sorry to be shot of it (as she might herself phrase the matter), so it is generous of her to show the many pettinesses and cruelties with which the future “Bloody Mary” was visited by the callous statecraft and churchmanship of her father’s court. Cromwell is shown trying only to mitigate, not relieve, her plight. And Mary’s icy religiosity he can forgive, but not More’s. Anyone who has been bamboozled by the saccharine propaganda of A Man for All Seasons should read Mantel’s rendering of the confrontation between More and his interlocutors about the Act of Succession, deposing the pope as the supreme head of the Church in England.
 
Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall is a startling achievement, a brilliant historical novel focused on the rise to power of a figure exceedingly unlikely, on the face of things, to arouse any sympathy at all.
 
Thomas Cromwell remains a controversial and mysterious figure. Mantel has filled in the blanks plausibly, brilliantly. “Wolf Hall” has epic scale but lyric texture. Its 500-plus pages turn quickly, winged and falconlike... [It] is both spellbinding and believable.
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hilary Mantelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Willems, IneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
'There are three kinds of scenes, one called the tragic, second the comic, third the satyric. Their decorations are different and unlike each other in scheme. Tragic scenes are delineated with columns, pediments, statues and other objects suited to kings; comic scenes exhibit private dwellings, with balconies and views representing rows of windows, after the manner of ordinary dwellings; satyric scenes are decorated with trees, caverns, mountains and other rustic objects delineated in landscape style.' Vitruvius, De Architectura, on the theatre, c.27BC
Dedication
To my singular friend Mary Robertson this be given.
First words
"So now get up."

Felled, dazed, silent, he has fallen; knocked full length on the cobbles of the yard. His head turns sideways; his eyes are turned towards the gate, as if someone might arrive to help him out. One blow, properly placed, could kill him now.
Quotations
The Cardinal, a Bachelor of Arts at fifteen, a Bachelor of Theology by his mid-twenties, is learned in the law but does not like its delays; he cannot quite accept that real property cannot be changed into money, with the same speed and ease with which he changes a wafer into the body of Christ.
"You're sweeter to look at than the cardinal", he says. - "That's the smallest compliment a woman ever received."
It is surprising how international is the language of old men, swapping tips on salves for aches, commiserating with petty wretchedness and discussing the whims and demands of their wives.
"Tell us, Master Cromwell, you've been abroad. Are they particularly an ungrateful nation? It seems to me that they like change for the sake of it?" - "I don't think it's the English. I think it's just people. They always hope there may be something better."
Christ, he thinks, by my age I ought to know. You don't get on by being original. You don't get on by being bright. You don't get on by being strong. You get on by being a subtle crook; somehow he thinks that's what Norris is, and he feels an irrational dislike taking root, and he tries to dismiss it, because he prefers his dislikes rational.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Haiku summary
How many Thomases?
How many Annes? Enough for
A Reformation?
(thorold)
Hilary Mantel's
Character resurrection
Of Thomas Cromwell.
(passion4reading)
Fast-paced, well-written
Political thriller. Twist?
Set in Tudor times.
(passion4reading)
Thomas Cromwell, a
Complex figure: shrewd, clever,
Kind, loyal, witty.
(passion4reading)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0805080686, Hardcover)

Amazon Best of the Month, October 2009: No character in the canon has been writ larger than Henry VIII, but that didn't stop Hilary Mantel. She strides through centuries, past acres of novels, histories, biographies, and plays--even past Henry himself--confident in the knowledge that to recast history's most mercurial sovereign, it's not the King she needs to see, but one of the King's most mysterious agents. Enter Thomas Cromwell, a self-made man and remarkable polymath who ascends to the King's right hand. Rigorously pragmatic and forward-thinking, Cromwell has little interest in what motivates his Majesty, and although he makes way for Henry's marriage to the infamous Anne Boleyn, it's the future of a free England that he honors above all else and hopes to secure. Mantel plots with a sleight of hand, making full use of her masterful grasp on the facts without weighing down her prose. The opening cast of characters and family trees may give initial pause to some readers, but persevere: the witty, whip-smart lines volleying the action forward may convince you a short stay in the Tower of London might not be so bad... provided you could bring a copy of Wolf Hall along. --Anne Bartholomew

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:06:26 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Assuming the power recently lost by the disgraced Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas Cromwell counsels a mercurial Henry VIII on the latter's efforts to marry Anne Boleyn against the wishes of Rome, a successful endeavor that comes with a dangerous price.

(summary from another edition)

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