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Wolf Hall: A Novel by Hilary Mantel

Wolf Hall: A Novel (original 2009; edition 2009)

by Hilary Mantel

Series: Wolf Hall Trilogy (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,697592457 (3.98)4 / 2051
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.
Title:Wolf Hall: A Novel
Authors:Hilary Mantel
Info:Fourth Estate (HarperCollins) (2009), Edition: First U. S. Edition, Hardcover, 672 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (2009)

  1. 141
    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. 100
    The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers by Margaret George (napaxton)
  4. 123
    Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (zhejw)
  5. 91
    The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir (ijustgetbored)
  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. 50
    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.
  8. 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.
  9. 41
    Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII by David Starkey (souloftherose)
  10. 30
    Virgin and the Crab: Sketches, Fables and Mysteries from the early life of John Dee and Elizabeth Tudor by Robert Parry (RochieRochel)
  11. 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.
  12. 20
    The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel (guurtjesboekenkast)
  13. 31
    The Marriage of Meggotta by Edith Pargeter (Osbaldistone)
  14. 42
    Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel (otherstories)
  15. 20
    The Life of Thomas More by Peter Ackroyd (napaxton)
  16. 10
    Hild by Nicola Griffith (wandering_star)
  17. 10
    The Corn King and the Spring Queen by Naomi Mitchison (Anonymous user)
  18. 21
    Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd (guurtjesboekenkast)
  19. 43
    Dark Fire by C. J. Sansom (brenzi)
    brenzi: Another book concerning the Henry VIII and Thomas Chromwell.
  20. 22
    A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury by Edith Pargeter (ansate)
    ansate: Different time period, but another fantastically written historical novel

(see all 24 recommendations)

To Read (73)

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English (575)  Dutch (6)  German (3)  Swedish (3)  Italian (2)  French (2)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (594)
Showing 1-5 of 575 (next | show all)
Excellently written, with clever, witty social commentary and wonderful character studies. I mostly did the audio on this and it's perfectly read by Simon Slater. This book is, in so many ways, not really my thing, but within a couple of days of finishing it, I'd grabbed the sequel and started reading it - because that's how good it is. An absolute treat to find something that is just such a good book. ( )
  DebsDd | Oct 19, 2020 |
3.5 maybe?
I struggled to get into it, but then also found I could not stop reading it? Mantel has written a very well researched novel, from the eyes of Thomas Cromwell (advisor to Henry VIII, amongst many other titles). I did enjoy it in the end...

Very slow placed, which isn’t usually what I enjoy. But, the seductive use of language and eloquent way it is written pushed me through the tough bits.

I also thought I had a reasonable understanding of the Tudor period (just one module of my history degree) but I had to have “google breaks” to look up some of the characters to gain some background knowledge. ( )
  LaurenHadcroft | Oct 9, 2020 |
Wolf Hall She won the Booker Prize for this and also for its sequel Bring Up The Bodies, the first woman to win twice. And rightly deserved too.
I read this in anticipation of the next page right from the start. About king Henry and his quest for wives that would birth live sons and the problems of disposing of the ones that could not. Sounds heartless but it isn't.
Writing so good you could cry over just how good it is. Henry comes across not as a monster and Thomas Cromwell is ever present but at the same time apparition like. Lowly born and resented by the aristocracy and gentry for his position and achievements he nevertheless continues to prosper and to increase his influence and to bring wealth and success to those aligned with him.If this is history, it certainly is nothing like the garbage that was dished up when I was at school.Probably one of the best books I have ever read. ( )
  Ken-Me-Old-Mate | Sep 24, 2020 |
I'm moderately embarrassed to admit that most of my Tudors knowledge comes from watching The Tudors. I quit that mess after two seasons, which, coincidentally, spans the same period that this book covers. For some reason, Cromwell is one character from that series that I don't remember, probably because I was too busy pondering Jeremy Northam's aging and whether or not Jonathan Rhys Meyers is attractive.

Anyhoo, I really liked this, although I won't be cracking [b:Bring Up the Bodies|13507212|Bring Up the Bodies (Thomas Cromwell, #2)|Hilary Mantel|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1330649655s/13507212.jpg|14512257] until I've worked through a little more of my hold list. ( )
  beautifulshell | Aug 27, 2020 |
This is such a tremendous and epic novel. I've long been intimidated to read it as this history is rather foreign to me and I've been told the cast of characters was large and difficult to follow. The same could be said of War & Peace and I loved that novel, so I'm not sure why I hesitated so long.

Mantel expertly brings history to fascinating life. This story seems so well researched and painstakingly sculpted. The events surrounding Thomas Cromwell were rendered with such care and attention to detail. I know so little about Cromwell--and I have my doubts he was as wonderful and generous as he is portrayed here--but Mantel certainly handles the subject with great care. ( )
  chrisblocker | Aug 13, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 575 (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.

» Add other authors (44 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mantel, Hilaryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
slater, simonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Willems, IneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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'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. 27 B.C.
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.
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.
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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.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
How many Thomases?
How many Annes? Enough for
A Reformation?
Hilary Mantel's
character resurrection
of Thomas Cromwell.
Fast-paced, well-written
political thriller. Twist?
Set in Tudor times.
Thomas Cromwell: from
historical figure to
man of flesh and blood.
A court of bared fangs,
Who will survive the scheming,
In this hall of wolves?

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