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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. 91
    The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir (ijustgetbored)
  5. 113
    Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (zhejw)
  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
    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. 40
    Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII by David Starkey (souloftherose)
  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. 30
    Virgin and the Crab: Sketches, Fables and Mysteries from the early life of John Dee and Elizabeth Tudor by Robert Parry (RochieRochel)
  11. 53
    Dark Fire by C. J. Sansom (brenzi)
    brenzi: Another book concerning the Henry VIII and Thomas Chromwell.
  12. 20
    The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel (guurtjesboekenkast)
  13. 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.
  14. 31
    The Marriage of Meggotta by Edith Pargeter (Osbaldistone)
  15. 42
    Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel (otherstories)
  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 (488)  Dutch (4)  Swedish (3)  German (3)  French (2)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Norwegian (1)  Finnish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (507)
Showing 1-5 of 488 (next | show all)
I must be a bit of a moron when it comes to literary fiction. I found reading this was like wading through mud - way too much detail, and I couldn't connect with the characters at all. ( )
  CarolPreston | Apr 25, 2016 |
Finally! Exhausted, feel like Cromwell has been beaten like a dead horse. Still Mantel has a gift for words and new thoughts on the Cromwell side of the Henry VIII era. Here are some good quotes:

"I am listening," the cardinal says. "Indeed, I go further. I am captivated."

* * *
"If you ever plan to be off your guard, let me know. It is something I should like to see."

* * *
"Try always, Wolsey says, to find out what people wear under their clothes. At an earlier stage in his life, this would have surprised him; he had thought that under their clothes people wore their skin."

* * *
"He hates ideas, and never reads a book.". [of Norfolk]

* * *
"He turns a page. Grace, silent and small, turns the page with him."

* * *
"He is a person, he is a presence. He knows how to edge blackly into a room so that you don't see him. . . "

* * *
"No ruler in the history of the world has ever been able to afford a war. They're not affordable things. No prince ever says, 'This is my budget, so this is the kind of war I can have."

* * *
Norfolk . . . "stabs a forefinger into his shoulder. 'You . . . person,' he says; and again, 'you nobody from Hell, you whore-spawn, you cluster of evil, you lawyer.'"

(Yes, I take particular delight in that one).

( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
Rise of Thomas Cromwell, fall of Thomas Moore. A Man for All Seasons taught most viewers to admire Moore for his willingness to die for the sake of his conscience. Mantel reminds us of his willingness to kill others for theirs. Cromwell we cheer as a commoner maneuvering in the pit of lions and vipers that was a feudal court.
  ritaer | Apr 1, 2016 |
Fascinating, but not for everyone. If you're looking for historical fiction that's easy to read and parse, this is not the book for you. But if you love Tudor history and want a nuanced take on the character of Cromwell and other famous personalities of the era of Henry VIII of England, you'll love it. As I did! This is more literary fiction than typical historical fiction that provides a deep and surprising perspective on all the familiar personalities of the Tudor Era - from Henry VIII himself to Anne and Mary Boleyn and of course, Jane Seymour of Wolf Hall. If you like a more challenging historical fiction read, you'll eat it up. ( )
  NinaBerry | Mar 3, 2016 |
I knew this book had won the Man Book prize this year and I did have high hopes. I was glad to see that they came through. There is nothing I love more than excellent writing, beautiful writing, an author that proud can call herself an author. Mantel manages this. She has a certain sort of style that I do not know how to describe. It makes the words move slowly, it's a slow pace to the book like it holds on to you so you will not miss a single word. I should know because I have been known to jump pages and still read them. Here is steadied myself and read slowly. She has a nice style.

This could have been a boring book, but Mantel saves it with great writing and my favorite part, gossip. She tells the story of Thomas Cromwell, a man born in obscurity who worked his way up and at last became a trusted advisor to Henry VIII. This book sets place at the time of Anne Boleyn. After having met Thomas as a young boy running away we meet him again when he works for the bishop of York. He is known for making money. And at this time the streets are buzzing with the kings new mistress. It will be Cromwell that finally gets the kings divorce so that he can marry Anne.

The title Wolf Hall comes from the ancestral seat of the Seymour. Sure they do not play a big part of this book since it's all about the Boleyns. But we all know as we read that we should look in the shadows for Jane Seymour and she does show up. A gray little thing, and as the book will close with Wolf Hall. A new beginning, or rather a new try.

She writes about every day life, and the struggle for the king to marry Anne Boleyn. A woman who does not come across favourable in this book, now that is rather her poor sister who longs to be free in the end. It's a truthful and well researched book about what really went on. No over excessing glamour, sex or people made out to be heroes. No, real life as it was then. Power struggles, and death.

Gossip was a big part of the book and at that time I am sure they would have gossiped a lot about the situation going on. But it's told as it is, gossip, no truth, because that we can not know. But I still enjoyed it a lot. It was very interesting and it gave a good feel of that era. There was also some talk about those kings that came before, and yes a bit more gossip. They were really a fascinating bunch of people and I can't remember I learned this much about English history or the Royal family.

It is a book that is worthy of it's award. A great style and a way of writing that makes you see ordinary things in a new life. And a truthful look at life back then, and on one of the most famous and written about times in English history.

And yes it had me googling like crazy at the ending to know more about everything. Nothing like brushing up your history about the Tudors. I did not know he was related to Boleyn, I knew she was related to a wife but not a another. It was a family feast.


Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: To be truthful, these kind of award winning books never do have pretty covers. But here it is not the book cover that is important. It's the kind of book you want to pick up cos it promises great things.

Where I got it: A free review copy from the publisher

4 because I love great writing.


( )
  blodeuedd | Mar 2, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 488 (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 (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hilary Mantelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
slater, simonNarratorsecondary authorsome 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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Wikipedia in English (3)

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:44 -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)

» see all 11 descriptions

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